O Organized Recreational Therapy is a treatment tool for substance abuse that focuses on the recovering addict’s adaptation back into society. A majority of the drugs that are abused tend to cause the user to become introverted or distant from others that do not abuse the drug. When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they tend to focus on making connections with those who are into the same things that they are.
Relationships with family and friends tend to diminish and as the addiction becomes the main focus of the person’s life. Their personality, hobbies, likes and dislikes become irrelevant compared to the anxiety and hunger to obtain more of the drug. This is where Organized Recreational Therapy plays an important part in the recovering addict’s treatment.
When someone is diagnosed with the disease of alcoholism or addiction their spirituality is also affected. The person becomes so absorbed in their ego that they are focused on themselves and how to make themselves happy. They lack a moral compass in the decisions they make in pursuit of what makes them happy. Their satisfaction becomes the main focus in life and with addiction, drugs and alcohol are their only solution. Lying/stealing/manipulating to obtain what they need, lack of remorse for their decisions, and the violations against another to achieve their own happiness is irrelevant. If you have ever been around anyone who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol you may hear them talk about feeling different. This different feeling is sometimes associated with a hole that they fill with drugs or alcohol.
With that belief system, negative feelings of remorse and shame will accumulate, driving the need for their addicted substance to unhealthy levels. This is when their drug becomes the crutch against those feelings of regret. Doing drugs alleviates those feelings, bringing about a false sense of ease and comfort.
How Does Treatment Address the Spiritual Malady?
Working the 12-steps helps break through their ego and sparks a shift in perspective in the addicts mind, brings a spiritual awakening that allows them to see a different perspective at which they are not the center. Integrating altruism into their lives helps those individuals continue the work of a selfless commitment instead of the selfish lifestyle they have grown accustom to.
Mental obsession can be defined as recurring thoughts or ideas that do not respond to ration or reason. Mental obsession is a unique form of insanity, and one that can manifest quite randomly and for no apparent reason. The obsession can lie dormant in an addict or alcohol until the most opportune situation where it will rear its demonic head. The mental obsession can manifest in two different ways, randomly or deliberately. When someone deliberately succumbs to the obsession, they are justifying it. When the mental obsession hits randomly, that is the very nature of the problem. Spontaneously going insane for no reason at all is why addicts and alcoholics have trouble staying clean and sober.
The obsessing also shows itself when random thoughts hit you, you seem to suddenly forget everything you know about your history with addiction. The fact that you cannot use normally, all the people you will hurt or lose, all the trouble you will get into, and the suffering that the drugs or alcohol have put you through. Irrational thoughts can quickly seem rational. We suddenly believe we can handle it this time, or this time is going to be different.
How Does Treatment Address Mental Obsession?
Educating the person about the 3 parts of this disease helps because they learn to identify that those feelings will not be solved by taking more drugs but can be alleviated through the concepts of the 12-step program. The 12-step program focuses on addressing those feelings and channeling a spiritual awakening to combat those feelings.
Having a physical allergy to their substance that they abuse is one of the harder parts of addiction to explain and can best be explain as the disease of more. When an addict has a physical allergy to a substance it is an abnormal reaction. Where someone who is not addicted to alcohol may have one glass of wine with dinner and be perfectly fine with that amount they consume. Someone who has a physical allergy to alcohol will not think about the one glass of wine but the others that are ‘needed’. They ‘need’ more as just one is not good enough. The thought of just one is never in their mind but the importance of they need more of it.
This disease of more is why a recovering addict cannot just settle with one as one will equal five to them. A normal amount that one will consume is never acceptable to one with a physical allergy to their substance, but how to, where to, can they obtain more becomes that force that drives their addiction to unhealthy measures.
How Does Treatment Address Physical Allergy?
The solution is in education and practicing and maintaining sobriety. In treatment the addict is educated about the 3 parts of disease, this education helps them identify if they have a physical allergy. Will just one drink, one toke, one bump ever be good enough for that person, if the answer is no then they must abstain from the drug period. They are taught that moderation is not the key for them and they cannot moderate their intake. The solution lies in being completely abstinent from the substance and doing so is the basis for practicing the 12 steps.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment of Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 32.) Chapter 4—Twelve-Step-Based Programs. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64351/
Neukrug, E. (2011). Counseling theory and practice. Australia: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.