Substance abusers are unable to to use their feelings as signals and guides
in managing or protecting themselves against the instability and chaos of their internal world.
Addiction treatment is a time dependent process.
Currently most addition treatments are in three step processes which are; 1) achieving sobriety, 2) early recovery or abstinence and 3) advanced or late stage recovery.
1. Since substance abuse is an attempt at self repair, which exacerbates the individual's already impaired capacity for attachment and intimacy, abstinence and detachment from the object of addiction are required before the individual can make an attachment to group or establish a therapeutic alliance.
2. Early treatment strategies require adaptation in technique so the gratification, support, and containment are given priority, because these strategies maximally enhance attachment possibilities.
3. Once abstinence and attachment to the recovery process are established,
deficits in self and character pathology must be modified. An essential part of this stage of treatment requires the client to develop the capacity for conflict resolution in a nondestructive manner while becoming familiar with mature mutuality and the intricacies that define healthy interdependence and intimacy.
Parts of the therapeutic process for the client include:
1) Helping the client explain the past in a way that gives hope for the future.
2) Providing a way for the addict to cope with their anxiety, remorse, and confusion.
3) Help them with a specific behavior -- staying sober and working a 12 step program
that will change their lives in a desired direction.
What evolves is that addicts discover that their alcohol and/or drug use is only a symptom
and their personal and social difficulties are not only the result of their substance abuse.
Deprivation of age-appropriate, developmental needs leaves the substance abuser
constantly searching for something "out there" than can be substituted for what is missing "in here."