Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Should rehabs have a no smoking policy?

Stop Smoking MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Department of Health in Vermont is considering making it's state funded addiction treatment centers tobacco free according to an article in the San Francisco Gate.  There are already several states doing this as recent studies have shown that people actually do better with both their addictions and smoking cessation if they stop everything at once.

Many take a triage approach to treating addiction.  If you got a guy on Meth who drinks and smokes, logically, let's handle the meth first, then tackle the booze and we can deal with the cigarettes later.  Logic clearly based on the greater or lesser of evils.

Makes since to me too.  However, if you're just an alcoholic and nicotine addict, then what?  My personal story will show I wasn't drinking when I stopped smoking, but 3 years later found myself, still not smoking but drinking heavily.  Why?  I never handled the reasons why I was self medicating in the first place.  I had some grief that needed to get worked out.  I wonder if I had truly tackled the underlining issues of addiction when I stopped smoking, if alcoholism would have reared it's ugly head a couple years later.

I wrote my book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone, to empower people to handle to root, the cause, the reason behind the addiction.  It wasn't about treating a symptom, but setting the method to handle the dis-ease.

For many, cigarettes go hand in hand with "recovery."  I'm now more of an all or nothing kind of rip the band-aid off in one shot guy.  For many, I don't believe it should be a triage type of drug treatment.  I believe their will be a greater opportunity for success by digging in, sucking it up and addressing the addiction aspect.  Why fight addiction more than once?  Seems silly to me and a waste of time.  If a person wants to be free of addiction, treat that.  Not just their "problem" with Meth or alcohol.  Treat the addiction, not just the substance they've chosen to to abuse.

Obviously, humans are different and unique but ultimately we all boil down to a very specific set of needs, wants and desires that motivate our every move and guide our decisions.  The effective treatment of addiction must come from treating the cause and not the symptom.  Alcoholism, nicotine, hard drug abuse are symptoms to a greater dis-ease.

Notice, I'm not calling addiction a disease but a dis-ease.  Addicts, myself included, have successfully met their basic human needs through an addictive behavior.  Enabling and then empowering the addict to recognize that he or she actually has a choice in the matter is the first step.  Next is healing the cause of the dis-ease coupled with introducing a new, positive, healthier alternative behavior.  These are the real keys to success with handling any addiction.  Replacing one addiction with another or allowing one to exist while the other get's handled seems ultimately ineffective at delivering any real and lasting change or increase in real quality of life.

But what's your take?  I want to hear it from you?  How do you want to get clean and sober first, then second, is that the most effective?  Who's answering that question?  Your addicted brain or the real you underneath?