There’s a common perception that AA and NA or another 12-step program are “the” way to recover from addiction or Secondhand Drinking (in which case, the 12-step programs are Al-Anon and Nar-Anon).
And let me say right off – these are wonderful programs for millions of people! But they don’t work for millions more and often that’s due to the perception that 12-step is the only way to recovery.
It’s for these millions that we must get the message out there – addiction recovery – like healing most chronic diseases – can take many, many forms. There is no one-size-fits-all. And that’s because addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease. It’s a developmental disease – people are not born addicts.
Some of the tools a person can include in their recovery tool box, include:
- medications to cope with the cravings (in this link, scroll down to the sub-heading, “Medications”)
- nutrition – exercise – sleep to improve the health of one’s brain
- mindfulness practices (yoga – meditation – hikes in the woods – deep breathing – tapping…) to calm one’s thoughts and recenter the mind
- help for underlying issues, which is where therapy comes in.
Addiction Recovery Therapy – What are the Options?
Therapy with an addiction’s specialist – a professional who has been trained in and fully understands the complexities of the family disease of addiction – can help a person sort through, process and move on from underlying issues, such as childhood trauma or mental illness (depression, PTSD, anxiety) – issues that contributed to how a person’s brain wired in the first place. For it is that wiring that makes a person’s brain more susceptible to substance abuse crossing the line to addiction, and it makes a family member or friend’s brain more susceptible to the health impacts of chronic exposure to secondhand drinking (or secondhand drugging), which is what makes them tolerate the unacceptable behaviors of a substance abuser or addict|alcoholic.
[Now, I realize I just loaded the opening to this post with a lot of concepts, so be sure to click through the links for clarification.]
The point of this post is to raise awareness about the role therapy can play in addiction | secondhand drinking recovery. As with recovery in general, there is no one nor-right way to “do” therapy. To explain, I want to share this article by Susanne M. Dillmann, PsyD, therapist in Escondido, CA, in which she shares “Common Therapy Approaches to Help You Heal from Trauma,” posted March 9, 2011 on GoodTherapy.org’s website. In her piece, Dillmann describes the following therapy options:
- Behavior Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Group Therapy
Check it out – therapy just may be the missing link you’ve needed to round out your recovery. I know it worked wonders for me (along with Al-Anon, nutrition, exercise, sleep, mindfullness practices – and research – lots of research :)) as I struggled to recover from secondhand drinking.