Antidotes to Emptiness  


For people quitting addiction, one of the most difficult aspects is not the actual quitting, is not accepting they have a problem, it’s continuing to maintain that change; it’s keeping momentum. Before I get into that, I’m not saying the other two steps are not a difficult aspect of change for many people.  Deciding we actually have a problem with something is not easy at all, and actually finally doing something about it is also very difficult.  But in some ways, once those processes are accomplished, what we have left is continuing them on forever, or for as long as we feel is necessary.

Often times what people need in order to keep momentum is support and an ongoing structure to make their changes flourish.  But what happens is people go to treatment or some type of recovery program and learn a lot in a very supportive and educational environment and then return to their normal lives where not much is different than before.  A plant needs the right type of environment to grow and flourish.  So do people, and if we don’t have that, it makes it both easier to cope with addictions and harder to quit them.  So it is very important for those who have decided to stop using substances to create an environment that is positive, healthy, and supportive.

Find good support groups, or start your own, that feel healthy and supportive.  Work hard to make new friends that support, challenge, and encourage you, helping you stay clean.  Make some fundamental changes to how you live your life on a daily basis in order to set yourself up for success.  Don’t just hope that therapy or treatment is going to change everything for you.  It won’t, I promise.  There should be a huge disclaimer to residential treatment that says, “what you experience here is not the same as your real life will be when you return home, and you will need to be very prepared for this.”  Treatment and therapy are not magic bullets.  They are launching pads.

Support.  If people don’t have good support and a system of people around them that are positive and healthy, it will be very difficult to make changes.  Many times people are not comfortable around others so it keeps them from reaching out, but it is SO important to find a way to reach out and connect with others that can support you.  A plant that grows, grows all by itself but wouldn’t be able to grow without the support of soil, water, and sunlight.  It does not make you weak to need support when making huge changes in your life.

MOMENTUM | A Support Group for Maintaining Change

I have started a support group for those returning from treatment or for people with stable clean time who are looking for additional support.  I will be facilitating this group but it will be greatly fuelled by the members involved.  I have seen a need for this in our community.  We need more solid groups facilitated by professionals that are secular and come from an understanding of psychology and change.  If you are interested, please contact me.  Click here for a link to a brochure explaining more about the group.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Jason is a counsellor, psychotherapist, and life coach in private practice. He is a Certified Canadian Counselor (CCC) with the Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association. Jason has a Master of Arts degree in Psychology with a Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization. Jason's training prepared him to work with individuals, couples and families. Jason believes strongly in helping clients to remove the obstacles that get in their way so they may embrace and accept who they are, utilizing their own resources.

For the past 5 years Jason has worked with people struggling with addictions. He has gained new insights and perspectives into this problem and is always learning about this phenomenon. Jason's passion for writing and researching addiction treatment philosophy has led him to a more grounded and humanistic approach to the treatment of addictions.

In his practice, Jason helps his clients change, grow and search. He is still working with addictions but also works with other issues such as anxiety/stress, finding meaning and purpose, depth work and couples therapy. Please see his website for more information. In addition to his private practice, Jason also facilitates groups for court mandated clients in the Relationship Violence Program and the Responsible Drivers Program. Lastly, Jason co-facilitates the Parenting After Separation Course through the Kelowna Family Centre.

For more information on Jason's services, visit his website at www.jasonmccarty.ca

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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