Addiction Isn’t The Problem

A consensus is growing around the world among professionals who have found themselves confounded by the potential for chronic relapse in addiction recovery patients. For years, addiction has been treated as a singular issue. For years, traditional addiction treatment has found increasing failure in effectively treating patients in a way which sustains sobriety for a lifetime. Relapse rates are unsettlingly high. Those who are seeking recovery from addiction are finding themselves in a deficit. Despite numerous rounds of treatment, learning about addiction, and practicing sober living skills, the pain which drove them to use in the first place persists in being painful. Therein lies the very simple answer: addiction is not the problem. The trauma and pain which has inspired the harmful behavior of survival that is addiction is the problem. Until the trauma is treated and resolved, the addiction(s) cannot be treated or resolved.

Consider the metaphor of a broken arm. A doctor would never prescribe a pain medication to treat a broken arm without also putting the arm in a cast in order to ensure that the bone will safely grow back together. Without a cast, the arm remains broken, the pain persists, and the problem isn’t solved. In such a world, a doctor, the patients friends, family, and society at large, might expect the patient to throw a ball, lift a box, do push ups, or act on the broken arm in ways which simply aren’t possible because the arm is broken. If the patient can’t live up to the expectations of the world, trying their best to operate on a broken arm, they feel guilt, shame, and condemnation. To anyone on the outside of this illogical insanity the answer is obvious: their arm is broken. Something isn’t right.

Addiction is not the broken arm. Addiction treatment is the doctor prescribing a medication to treat what isn’t the actual problem. The stigmatization and shame of addiction are the expectations that someone in recovery should be able to operate successfully on a broken foundation. Trauma is more than what has broken the bone. Trauma is also what has kept the bone broken, causes the pain, and inhibits the bone from healing back together again. The inability to act on a broken arm is the addiction. Be it drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, gambling, self-harm, or any other mechanism- it is a broken system. Trying to live on a broken system will never work. The system itself is not the problem. Whatever caused the system to break, whatever trauma took place, is what needs to be treated. Otherwise the bone cannot heal, the system cannot be repaired, and the pain, the perceived “failure” continues on, causing more pain, more struggle, and more suffering.

Learning to be is part of the process of trauma recovery. Stop the cycle of merry-go-round treatment and find the solution you’re looking for in trauma treatment. Through effective residential treatment, Khiron House helps you find the path you need toward health and wellness in recovery. For information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).