To Treat an Addict the Addict Must First Be Ready, Willing and Motivated to Make The Change

BlogArticlesTo Treat an Addict the Addict Must First Be Ready,...

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With the re-opening of a drug court in Ontario, addicts are now being treated more humanely in the sense that they are receiving appropriate punishments for their non-violent, desperation related crimes that stem from their need to ensure their next “fix” is attainable. These people aren’t killing anyone, and while it is against the law to break into a pharmacy or shoplift, they aren’t being thrown in jail for extended periods of time or serving ridiculously harsh sentences for their crimes. Instead they are being offered treatment as opposed to jail time. On the surface this seems like a great idea, mandated addiction treatment, more or less, but one of the most important cornerstones when it comes to treating an addict is readiness and willingness to succeed. If treatment is the only option to avoid tough punishment, addicts are being forced to undergo strenuous and difficult trials in a treatment facility that they may not be ready to handle, and the success rate will no doubt be abysmal because an addict needs motivation and support before they can attain any kind of spiritual readiness or wellness that is key to surviving the treatment process as well as the slap in the face that is the real world outside treatment. The real world that has challenges and can be harsh, unpredictable and scary for someone who may metaphorically still be using crutches so to speak to keep themselves sober.

Addiction treatment isn’t easy, despite the motivational advertisements we see on TV of palatial manors that have hot tubs, tennis courts, all the fancy coffee you can drink and nature excursions to the beach. Most rehab centers don’t resemble the ones we see celebrities checking themselves into. Treatment for a serious addiction isn’t easy, fun or a mini-vacation. It’s tough, grueling and can be miserable at times for someone detoxing. It’s an exercise that requires hard work, determination and a sound, firm mind that has made the decision to get well. For those of us who haven’t had to experience anything similar to the trials that an addict in treatment has gone through, the idea that the judicial system is more or less forcing people into rehab seems like a no-brainer. Certainly nothing could be worse than prison, we say, but an addict in treatment is separating themselves from one of the biggest parts of their lives, which is a foreign concept to non-addicts, but the truth is many of these people’s entire focus and raison d’etre was attaining drugs to fuel their addiction and get through the day.

Sending addicts to rehab isn’t actually a bad idea, it’s the manner in which they are doing it. If wellness, health and rehabilitation into society are the main goals then it’s something the addict has to strive for when they’re ready. If they have no desire to change their habits, a 30 day stay in rehab is going to have no lasting effect on them when they leave, and sooner or later they will end up back in front of a drug court judge being mandated to try again. Addicts need support, a strong mind and body, willingness and a true desire to make a change before even considering making that drastic, life altering choice to stick it out for 30, 60 or even 90 days where everyone around them is also an addict.

The problem still remains, however, of what to do with addicts who have resorted to crime to fund their habits. Prison could turn them into hardened criminals, community service would be unlikely to change their illness and rehabilitation without motivation could be just as useless. The fact is is that some addicts don’t want to change, or feel that doing so is pretty much impossible in their case. With that kind of mentality, what is there to be done? Is the best course of action to wait for addicts to be ready to change their way of life? Or is it coming down to others in the judicial and medical sections of our society to start making decisions for addicts because they are incapable of doing it on their own?

There is a solution out there. Somewhere. But how long can we sit around and wait while thousands of addicts are suffering so badly that they feel the need to break the law in order to maintain one of the most unhealthy habits and illnesses out there? Perhaps it isn’t up to law enforcement, judges and doctors. Maybe it’s family, friends and loved ones who need to take control of the lives of those they care about and offer them the connection and support they need. Motivate them towards mental and physical well-being and relinquish that control over them when the addict is healthy, sober and can think for themselves without their entire life and thoughts being about drugs and alcohol.

It isn’t a perfect idea. It won’t work in every case, but as we all know every addiction and every addict is different. Perhaps there is no universal solution to the problem, but as friends and family of addicts, as well as being voters in a democratic country, it is ultimately up to us to find a solution before more and more of those we care about begin to slip through the cracks of our current system and end up dead or dying because they never received the care they needed to attain lasting health and wellness.

To Treat an Addict the Addict Must First Be Ready, Willing and Motivated to Make The Change