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Cutting Edge Science in a Blanket of Kindness | Beyond Addiction

Addiction

“Addiction!” Alcohol, street drugs, prescription drug abuse, pornography, binge-eating, gambling, over-the-top shopping. Users, family members, and friends – we’re all victims of vice.  I’m thinkin’ it’s time for a change. And I’ve found some folks who agree.

When it comes to treating substance problems, other compulsive behaviors, and emotional/mental woes; the “same old-same old” hasn’t taken us where we need to go. I see it as a clinician and blogger. Heck, I see it as someone who’s chosen to manage so much of the above for years! Cookie-cutter treatments and stigma-based/generating terminology tire and frustrate me.

Yeah, it’s time for a change.

AddictionThe folks at the Center for Motivation and Change (CMC) flat-out get it, and bring it. Their goal? As they put it, “Better, more effective and more respectful treatment for people struggling with substance use, as well as their families.” Their tagline? At the Crossroads of Science and Kindness.

Are you kidding me? How refreshing is that?!

CMC offers buckets of client services, including inpatient and outpatient treatment. And there’s plenty for family members and friends, grounded in Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) programming. And if that isn’t enough, CMC offers plenty of online and in-print resources. Do yourself a big favor and tap the link in the previous paragraph.

Beyond Addiction | How Science and Kindness Help People Change

…it is our sincere wish to continue changing the conversation around substance use: from the language of shame, confrontation and deficits, to one of pride, collaboration and strength.

K, so now to the big blue book in our featured image. CMC co-founders Jeffrey Foote, PhD and Carrie Wilkens, PhD, and CMCs Nicole Kosanke, PhD – with editor and writer Stephanie Higgs – have put together a game-changing resource.

Beyond Addiction is a help-guide for family members and friends of a loved one whose substance and/or other compulsive behavior problem has knocked them to the mat. The book shows significant others how to use kindness (love that word), positive reinforcement, and communication – along with limit-setting and self-care – to stay in-tune with the mission and help their loved one change.

Make no mistake about it, Beyond Addiction is cutting edge. Adios to tough love, detaching, and co-dependency – and on to the transformative power of relationships for positive change. Oh, and by the way, Beyond Addiction serves as a personal tour guide through the latest research on what really works, providing practical exercises and examples. Also provided are tons of advice and tips for navigating a rather complex recovery system.

Here’s one of the first things that impressed me about the book, the authors, and CMC in kind. It’s pointed-out on the very first page of the Introduction – “Hope in Hell” – that “substance use” or “substance problems” will be used as shorthand for addictive disorders and compulsive behaviors. No more “abuse” or “dependence.” And it’s emphasized that the content of the book applies to any kind of compulsive behavior problem.

And how ’bout this? It’s noted in Chapter 1 that CMC clients are never referred to as “addicts.” Why? From the book…

Research has found no evidence to support the idea that there is a type of person who becomes an ‘addict’ or a set of ‘addictive personality’ traits (commonly believed to be dishonesty, self-centeredness, et cetera). Yet we live in a culture that has come to lump its assumptions about addiction together, despite the evidence that people come to their substance problems from all directions, for all sorts of reasons, and get through these problems in different ways.

We’re not mincing words here: labeling has a demonstrated negative impact. It blinds us to the specifics of an individual’s situation, specifics we need to understand to help that particular person. A label like addict, loaded as it is with negative associations, affects how we feel about people and how we treat them, and how people feel about themselves and their ability to change.

Did I mention game-changing?

So to wrap things up, I gotta’ share just one more statement from the authors…

Our goals in Beyond Addiction are to help families find hope in difficult times, and to learn the skills they need to be a positive and motivating influence in their loved one’s life. We also hope to remove the mantle of shame, guilt, anger and helplessness many families feel. Last, it is our sincere wish to continue changing the conversation around substance use: from the language of shame, confrontation and deficits, to one of pride, collaboration and strength.

“Addiction,” alcohol, prescription drug abuse, pornography, heroin, and so many more compulsive behavior problems. The way it was is the way it is, and the way it can longer be. It’s over-time for a change.

Beyond Addiction and CMC – they get it, and bring it.

Copy of the book? Order up!

I’d sure like you to peruse 600+ Chipur titles. If we’re in agreement, have at it

  • Patricia Miller

    The joy this inspires that treatment society, and then perhaps society at large, are moving away from focusing on the “name that deficiency” model, to ANYTHING else sounds good. Now that you explain that it is grounded in kindness and recognizing the worth of the individual, I just find my heart getting lighter. I’ve always hated the lumping groups of people together by their supposed category, and it sounds like this is a far more individualized approach. Like you, I don’t know that you can go wrong with a practice that has kindness as one of the guiding principles. Mil gracias for the great news.

    • You’re very welcome, Patricia. Appreciate your visit and contribution. CMCs approach is for sure game changing. Gee, imagine – kindness and science. And thinking outside the box. Go figure! Seems an organization wants to save some lives…

      Bill

  • Bill,

    I too am a huge fan of CMC and its ever so qualified staff. An excellent assessment and if anyone is interested in more pure refreshment, listen to this downright upright interview a co-author and principal of CMC, Dr. Carrie Wilkens granted me. She absolutely rocks and yes! let’s move beyond addiction!: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/31-dr.-carrie-wilkens-beyond/id643868844?i=257043437&mt=2

    • Thanks for the link, Herby. I encourage Chipur readers to trust it and tap on it. Also, plenty of NOW resources on CMC site. Tap that link in the article.

      Bill