My approach to addiction and recovery

Written by Dave Cooper

March 24, 2017

The Relational View of recovery from addiction

I take the ‘relational view’ on what are primarily social issues such as addiction. What does this mean? It means that your aim in treating your issue is focused on your relationships and social bonding. It means that the way you see yourself in relationship to others is largely responsible for the building and construction of your identity. Ultimately it means that “the family is the client”.

Avoiding the blame game

This is not a way of getting you to  be ‘blaming others’ or offering an excuse for your behaviour or problems. Rather it is an approach that locates the issue ‘outside’ rather than ‘inside’ you. Of course it is necessary to include the latest research into the differences in the brain as well as encouraging personal responsibility. However for most people, the way we engage with others at work, friends and family (or don’t) can be a major player in both the way we got into and the way we will get out of these difficulties.

Again, this is not to say that endless counselling sessions about your past etc. are the answer. No, your treatment must be focused and involve the expertise of a specialist if you are not to waste a lot of time money and energy in your attempts to change.

A new approach

This approach is a significant move on from previous ideas that positioned the problem inside the self (the moral approach) or inside the mind (the medical approach) or inside the theology (the faith based approach). This approach places the issue inside your relationships or, to put it another way, your way of relating. You are ‘hard wired’ to bond with others at a deep level. There are many reasons why this may not happen well in life, but if you are addicted you have made a shift towards bonding with inanimate or inert things such as drugs or alcohol, work or gambling.

When your addiction becomes a serious issue we can say that you have ‘bonded at a deep level’ with something that is not alive. So the relational treatment is based upon encouraging you back into the world of the living and deepening the relationships with loved ones and others in your life.

The benefits of this approach

One of the many benefits you can receive through this treatment is that the techniques are completely transparent and so you become totally aware of what your issues are and how to practice the therapeutic aims you need. So this way you can take an extremely complex issue and reconstruct it as a simple daily practice.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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