Sunday, September 29, 2013

SUNDAY SNIPPET: September 29

Alcoholism is the only disease where successfully getting it into remission relies heavily on paraprofessionals outside the medical community.  When those resources come from within the criminal justice system, the results are statistically below average, as this excerpt from my previous book What the Early Worm Gets begins to point out.

"The professionals and paraprofessionals handling the treatment are critical to the success. And to build that success you need credibility, especially because there are so many paraprofessionals affiliated with recovery. It’s their duty to adhere to a code of ethics simply not embraced in a correctional environment. Knowledge and competence—not necessarily a degree—are required, and trust. Where do those with alcohol problems place their trust? Others who have walked a mile in their shoes. Because you really don't know how it feels to be alcoholic unless you are alcoholic.  A mechanic isn’t a metallurgist even though the material with which he works with is metal. You still need a multi-disciplinary team including medical doctors or psychotherapists, however having someone who is in recovery helping facilitate the recovery process gets better results.

The most important facet of good treatment is alleviating guilt, shame and grief. We look through life’s window which can get coated with a grime of guilt and shame and grief. Those are precisely the three features the criminal justice system uses in its programs to make sure you’re sorry, make sure you know you’re sorry and won’t do it again. Positivity and attitude are the window cleaner that can clean the window of the grimy shame. The criminal justice system doesn't do windows.  They put bars on them. They will work to make sure you don’t forget your shame.

Recovery can be spontaneous. It does happen. However, true rehabilitation is based on Opus Contra Naturam—working against what comes easily— and few people are successful working against what comes easily without help.  Few people are successful for long when that help comes from a corrections environment designed to warehouse people, not provide meaningful treatment."
What the Early Worm Gets, pg. 73