If an addiction treatment approach is not capable of taking you where you want to go, it may not be of much use. It is all very well that addiction specialists will have clinical goals but, if these are not important to you, they are less likely to help you build a strong recovery. This is why it is so important that anyone trying to help you be prepared to listen to what you actually want, not trying to force you to go along with his or her ideas about what you should want.
What Do You Want to Achieve in Recovery?
Any addiction therapist/counsellor/coach would have no problem providing you with a list of reasons why you should give up drinking or using drugs. These fears about the future can then be used to create goals based around avoiding these negative consequences. The problem is that if you do not put the same priority on these fears as the expert – which you probably do not or else you would not still be drinking – then these goals might not be enough to keep you motivated.
The problem with clinical goals is that they tend to treat you as a bunch of symptoms rather than a unique individual with your own needs and desires. If you worry that sober living is going to be a constant struggle whereby you feel unfulfilled, you might not be so concerned with the health consequences of further drinking or drug use. It is common for individuals caught up in the denial of addiction to believe that they are choosing quality of life over quantity.
The important thing here is what you want and any goals that are based on fear are unlikely to be enough to keep you sober long term. You need to think carefully about what you want from this new life. If your desire were to enjoy mental freedom then this would be a more powerful goal than a clinician can set for you, for example. It is important that any goals you create for yourself are clear and measurable; there is little point in creating vague goals like ‘I want to be happy’ because it can be so hard to measure this variable (it is also never going to be possible to be happy all the time).
The Importance of an Individualised Approach to Addiction Recovery
Years ago, you did not have any real choice when it came to addiction recovery. There were few programmes available but the emphasis was always on you fitting in with what was being provided; these treatment options were often designed more to suit the convenience of the therapists rather than addressing the needs of the clients. These days, this ‘one size fits all’ approach to recovery is known to be ineffective. If any addiction treatment provider is unwilling to address your specific needs, you will probably be better off looking elsewhere for help.
Individualised care means that when you go for treatment, you are going to be fully assessed in order to determine what you want from recovery. This assessment is then used to create the programme that is most likely to get you what you want. You can expect your treatment plan to share similarities to the ones of other clients, but you should not feel that you are being treated like a battery-hen. The fact that the treatment plan is based around your exact wants means that you would be better able to own your recovery, and it will make it easier for you to take charge of your own treatment once you return home.