Knowledge is indeed empowerment.
In order to chart the best path, we have to look at the map. When facing heavy issues, your best tools for discovery are knowledge and awareness. The smartest people are those that stay flexible and open to new information that makes reasonable and rational sense. There are three prongs to knowledge in the addictions field: research (evidence-based practices or EBP), clinical recommendations from counselors, and personal experience from others. It is your job to take in ALL of this information and customize it for your life. Whatever your path to recovery, it must make sense to you. Check out our blog for the latest updates and news on developments in the science and treatment of substance and alcohol use disorders as well as process and behavioral addictions.
Evidence-Based Practices (EBP)
Research in the addiction treatment and recovery field is sorely lacking. This surely contributes to the epidemic in treatment failures, relapse rates, and reluctance to engage in treatment. However, there is hope in the application of evidence-based practices (EBP). EBP are a result of research into what really works to help people get better.
Sounds simple, right? Let’s break it down: a researcher decides to study a group of people – alcoholics going through a treatment program – to see who stays sober and how. What is success? Length of sobriety, abstinence with no real change, a slip versus a relapse? What if one person stays sober by going to 20 meetings a week but another by 1 meeting a week? As you can see, there are many factors that go in to determining a “best practice” and finding what works for you is only one part of the puzzle. Balancing research with clinical recommendations and personal experience from others in recovery is key.
The difference between clinical recommendations and EBP ranges between vast and overlapping. Generally, licensed professionals, such as psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists, as well as paraprofessionals, make clinical recommendations for what works in addiction treatment and recovery based on experience and best practices. However, not all treatment has been guided by research and developed into an EBP and research has yet to validate some of the best practices currently used. To become an educated consumer of treatment, it is your job to ask questions of professionals to see if the service you’re provided is the best fit. A quality professional can explain the reasons behind why they believe the strategies and technique they use work and why they think it will work for you.
Personal Experience from Recovering Others
It has been said that if you want what someone has, do what they did. The wisdom from others in recovery is invaluable – they’ve walked a personal path of success. This is another piece of the puzzle to incorporate in your own walk. Below are links to find online and in-person self help groups as well as podcasts, blogs and other resources.