Addiction as a symptom.
Addiction itself is not the problem, but rather a symptom of the underlying problem. It is actually a solution to the problem. It is the evidence of an unmet emotional need, desperately trying to be soothed. All the symptoms and diagnoses are proof of the pain and serve the function of avoiding it. Therefore, addiction’s sole purpose is to numb and ease the pain. The person actually becomes “addicted” to avoiding painful feelings. This avoidance technique becomes so ingrained, that quite often a person does not even recognize that he/she is doing it.
Identify, Release, and Resolve.
Effective addiction treatment, therefore, must help people to “re-connect” to the very feelings that their addictive cycle has buried. This is done by helping the person to re-connect his/her core experience/issues with the associated emotional pain that has been separated and suppressed. The treatment focus then becomes to identify, release, and resolve this suppressed unprocessed pain. Our program curriculum was developed with this in mind.
Healing Emotional Pains that Drive Addictive Patterns.
We offer both educational and experiential/expressive groups. We believe that just as important as it is to identify and understand feelings, it is equally important to practice expressing them. Our treatment objective is to identify the core issues and their associated emotional pain that drive the addictive patterns. We actually want to trigger the very feelings that drive the addictive behaviors. We actively help people to become desensitized to their painful feelings by tapping into them while helping them stay present and fully connected. This is the only way that these feelings can be acknowledged and resolved which ultimately increases emotional ego strength and mastery.
Stop Addiction Substitution.
Research has also shown that if the underlying root of addiction is not addressed and treatment is primarily focused on stopping only a behavior, “addiction substitution” or chronic relapse often occurs. Addiction substitution is when one addictive cycle is substituted for another. This can be seen in the alcoholic who becomes sober, only to start smoking.