Addiction 102: Is Abstinence the Only Option?

As I said last week, there is no one size fits all for treating or working with an addiction. Depending on the severity of the addiction and the substance or behavior, many times an inpatient treatment program is the best way to start off recovery. For anyone who is still able to function with their behavior or substance use, outpatient programs, counselling, or programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) might provide the support needed to eliminate or reduce the habit/usage.

There are different ideas around addiction and whether or not an individual can still use the substance/behavior or whether they have to cut it out completely. I think this really depends on the individual, their behavior or substance of choice, and their usage level. For hard drugs, the goal would be to abstain all together. In order to get off of one drug safely it may be necessary to use another drug, such as using methadone, under a medically supervised program.

For some people completely quitting the behavior or substance is not doable or desirable. Alcohol can be a substance that some people may get into habit of abusing, but with some work their usage can be brought back to a healthy level. I think this is a very grey area as I know of therapists who will not work with clients if they are not willing to completely cut out the substance. For myself I tend to ask the question how can I work with this person to get their behavior or substance use to a level that allows them to function and feel good about themselves in everyday life.

If you are honest with yourself and you know that your substance/behavior use is getting out of hand, do a little research within your area to find the right supports for you. If that seems daunting, start with your family doctor. Have an honest conversation about your habits and what you want for yourself. Your doctor can help guide you in the right direction to find the supports that are going to best suite your needs.




One thought on “Addiction 102: Is Abstinence the Only Option?

  1. Pingback: A New Take On Addiction | Life's Crazy, You're Not

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