Does Home-Based Addition Treatment Really Work?

Simon Stephens, Director of Case Work at AddictionsUK.com, talks to BBC Radio on the subject of addiction treatment from home and why this is a family illness.

Presenter

“We’ve all heard of residential rehab centers like The Priory where people go for months at a time to deal with their addictions. But how about addiction treatment that you can get in your own home? Let’s speak to Simon Stevens from County Durham-based, social enterprise AddictionsUK. Simon. Good evening.”

Simon

“Good evening, Mark.”

Presenter

“What kind of addictions do you treat?”

Simon

“We treat a whole range of addictions. Uh, clearly we treat alcohol and drug addictions, but we also work with people with what we call process addictions. They may be things like gambling or sex or shoplifting, a whole range of things that people do to, uh, to come to terms with their emotions. We tend to find our clients are very sensitive. They have problems with, uh, w-with emotions. They desensitise this emotional base by indulging in alcohol or drugs or gambling, whatever the addiction is.”

Presenter

“Just explain how it works either because we’ve all heard of residential rehab centers. Some are really, really famous, but, but you don’t work that way, do you?”

Simon

“We don’t. Um, we recognise we are a group of recovering alcoholics and we recognise that, um, treatment can be very expensive and not all of us can take three months off work and expect to still have a job, uh, to go off and stay in the nice posh country house somewhere. And we also recognise that whilst you learn how to live in a closed environment, you’re not learning how to live in the real world. And that’s often our problem. Um, when we’re in a safe place, we’re okay. It’s the real world and particularly family life that can be so challenging.”

Presenter

“So if you don’t do residential, what did you do?”

Simon

“We work with our clients every day over the phone. We offer 24-hour helplines. We have counselling sessions, we use various books and DVDs. If you view it as a sort of distance learning technique, uh, we do that. But clearly what the big thing is, the fact that we’re on the line, uh, we’re available 24-hours a day. People sense a problem cropping up. They can get hold of us.”

Presenter

“That’s interesting. Does that work as well as actually sitting in front of somebody and looking them in the eye?”

Simon

“For many people it can work better, because they can say things that they won’t say to another individual, and the important thing is not always that you’re saying it to another individual, although that can be quite important. You’re saying it to yourself, you’re actually taking ownership of your demons.”

Presenter

“Do you think there’s a difference in treatment between those who suffer from substance addictions and behavioral addictions? You talked about sex and shopping?”

Simon

“There is a big difference in that, behavioral addictions are very much second class citizens, although they’re equally capable of ruining not only the person themselves, their lives, but their families as well. This is a family illness. It affects everybody in the family group and often before treatment is sought, people within the family group collude with the addict to to, to help them do. They’re doing simply in a sense to get a quiet life.”

Presenter

“So how do they avoid that situation? This is a question I put to Sally Marlowe at King’s College London. How do those who are closest to the suffers begin to take the first steps to help them?”

Simon

“In a simple phrase, you stop enabling; if it’s a son or a daughter who you are supplying with money or food because they’re living in their own flat, but they’re abusing alcohol or drugs. When you supply them with food, all you’re doing is releasing financial resources for them to indulge in more drugs or alcohol.”

Presenter

“So tough love.”

Simon

“It’s tough love. You’ve got to create a critical condition where change can happen. None of us are going to change. If our life is relatively comfortable. If we can get away with living what appears to be a normal life and our addiction, then we will do, remember alcoholics or you know, we’re pretty sneaky people. Certainly I was, when I was in the grips, grips of addiction, I could be very sneaky and I could get what I wanted by manipulating people, we’re very skilled manipulators.”

Presenter

“So what helped you Simon?”

Simon

“When my life hit crisis, um, when my life hit crisis and um, I, I spoke to another alcoholic and I also, uh, we do use a 12-step system. It’s a little updated from that used by AA, but very similar. We highly recommend AA for people who can work in group, but people who can’t work in group. Then we have our telephone system that’s much more one-to-one. And often you’ll find that people have more than one problem. They may well be alcoholic, they may well be drug dependent or whatever, but there are other social and mental issues going on as well. And we’re skilled to be able to help them address those.”

Presenter

“And finally, there seems to be a bit of an argument going, on certainly in the texts I’m receiving on this subject tonight as to who should be the first to help. Some argue that it’s absolutely down to family members, to partners. Others say no, they’re too close, needs to be a friend or, or, or another alcoholic or somebody else who suffers and therefore has a better understanding. What would your view be?”

Simon

“My view would be that friends and family can help the individual see that they are in crisis. But we are amongst the most stubborn of people. Often it’s not until we’re left with a little bit of space that we can actually accept and tell the truth to ourselves, that we have got a problem. Um, certainly in terms of therapy, it is best left either to another alcoholic or a professional in the field, simply because family members can be too close. And remember that bound up in this illness as well, although they may not see it. And as an organisation, when we offer treatment to individuals, we also offer treatment to their family members included in the price.”

Presenter

“Yeah, very sensible. Simon Stevens from County Durham-based social enterprise AddictionsUK with his views on the best way to help an addict.”

Originally posted on our website at UK Home Detox — AddictionsUK

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AddictionsUK

AddictionsUK

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We specialise in Detox at Home and Addiction Treatments. We use medically qualified staff located throughout the UK who are supported by accredited councillors.