My May 28th guest on Afflicted by Addiction was Jon Daily, LCSW (licensed psychotherapist) and CADC (certified addiction specialist), who teaches at University of San Francisco and is in private practice. He started using drugs at age 12; before that he wanted to be a police officer. He grew up in a neighborhood where a lot of the older kids he looked up to used marijuana and alcohol and compelled him to use. By the time he was 15, it was habitual, and he had started to steal money from his family and break into cars. By the time he was 20, he had been locked up, lost friends, and lost himself. He began to recognize he had a drug problem. When he got sober, he finished high school, college, graduate school (where he acquired those nifty initials after his name), and wrote a couple of books about treating drug addiction. His best friend, his brother, his uncle, clients, many people he knows have died because of addiction and substance abuse. He is also a consultant for setting up outpatient rehab for young people and has some unique insights into the process.
“Addiction,” he says, “is a pathological relationship to intoxication.” The goal of his practice, Recovery Happens, is to achieve wellness. They don’t strive to get people “clean,” they strive to get people “well,” because if the underlying issues aren’t treated, it’s likely that the problem won’t go away.
I have, at times, railed against short duration programs for treating addiction, noting their failure to address underlying issues, inability to teach ways to deal with situations in the addicts’ day to day lives that trigger drug abuse, their “cake bake” approach to detoxification and disease eradication, where, Bing! the timer goes off and out they go. Really, an addict needs to learn to manage their illness, to recognize what is at the root of their addiction, and to deal with it. One thing Daily brought up was the fact that even the best intentioned friends and family come with their own baggage, their own shit they haven’t dealt with, and they bring it to the relationship with the addict.
Jon Daily said, “Time, money, energy and emotion all need to be in place for treatment to work. It’s a huge investment.” I couldn’t agree more. If a 30-60 day treatment program for treating drug addiction is connected to an extended care program, extended counseling, sober living support, and even family counseling, the idea is it will be more likely to be successful.
For us, I think, it was important to get my son away from all of his triggers, and I talked about this in my book. He needed to be far, far away, I think. When he was home, it was too easy to have a “friend” slip pills onto the windowsill, etc. As you know if you’ve read any of my books or previous blog posts, Brandon went to Narconon. Twice. They kept him long enough to uncover underlying issues and help him learn new ways to deal with them. What I say on my radio show, one of my mantras, is the best treatment is the kind of treatment that works for you. What treatment has worked for you? Feel free to comment below, and share with others.