Phil Grant has been an addiction therapist at Castle Craig rehab clinic for the last 13 years. In this new video he describes some of the reasons why people come into treatment, each one of which reveals something about the lifestyles of people with addictions.
His first point -- “they may be sent by a doctor” -- is something of an ideal situation in the recovery movement; in other words GPs and psychiatrists are often unable to refer patients to residential treatment facilities like Castle Craig for a number of (usually budget-related) reasons. On the other hand it is much easier for medics to refer addicts patients to methadone-type “community” programmes.
The other factors that bring people into treatment are more dramatic: “They may be dying” explains Phil Grant, “they may have lost all their family, their work...their relationship may be breaking down, a court case may be looming over them.”
One of the main barriers to people coming into treatment is denial -- many addicts spend years believing they are in control of their drug of choice and in some cases it can take decades before they are willing to face up to the fact that they have lost control and they need help. Phil Grant believes that even minimal exposure to addiction treatment can be helpful: “anything that puts forward the education of alcoholism as being an illness, and the opportunity of recovery...is beneficial -- whether the patient completes treatment or goes back to using or drinking.” He talks about “planting the seed” and this is particularly valid for people who have dropped out of treatment but are now aware that recovery is possible.
Phil believes the most important aspect of treatment is “the peer based programme. Alcoholics Anonymous puts it as ‘one alcoholic speaking to another alcoholic’. They start opening up to one another, talking to each other, they start sharing their own experiences...their struggles in life, their feelings and emotions...For the first time in their life they are learning to communicate, talking about things they wouldn’t normally talk about. That’s something this community has got.”
He describes how addicted people are often treated by society -- “as a drunk, a junkie” and he contrasts this with how patients are treated at Castle Craig, quite simply “as a person”. This non-judgmental approach, and the “caring” of those in recovery, is a critical part of the recovery process.