My approach to understanding long term drug/alcohol dependency is to ask what “need” is being met by using drugs in the first place. In other words, I believe in working from “the inside out.” I want to know what “needs” were not being met regarding a past traumatic event and what emotions surface regarding those events. I want to know how a person handles an emotional overload with regards to their past experiences and how that impacts the decisions that are made. I have discovered that knowing what goes on inside the mind and body of an individual (thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, behavior, sensing) and understanding the circumstances that sparked the initial drive to use illicit drugs can shift an individuals belief and value systems in an instance. This awareness of drug use allows the individual to understand how they get a specific need met through drug use, such as emotional safety, choice, and acceptance.
In my years of interviewing alcohol and drug dependent individuals I have observed what current treatment methods are being used to break the cycle of drug dependence. I have noticed that the treatment modalities are more about labeling individuals as addicts and their inability to never recover. The treatment methods are more about informing the individual about the harmful effects of drug/alcohol dependency and that the individual needs to stop using illicit drugs because this type of behavior will destroy one’s life. What else is new.