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High degrees of variability in the pathways and styles of addiction recovery obscure shared mechanisms of change across such healing processes.
The alcohol and drug problems arena is filled with professional claims and counterclaims, excessive marketing hype, and riveting personal testimonies of how such problems can be best resolved.
Technologies to promote recovery have targeted the individual with only token interest in interventions in larger social networks. Three provocative discoveries challenge this limited focus: 1) An individual’s prognosis for addiction recovery is profoundly influenced by the family and social environment—a point now widely acknowledged but rarely reflected in the clinical treatment of substance use disorders, 2) the resolution of alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems is often a product of social contagion–multiple people within an extended social network simultaneously initiating and maintaining recovery, and 3) the greater the density of recovery carriers within a social milieu, the greater the likelihood other addicted members within that milieu will initiate recovery.
In previous blogs I have suggested that when I’m at a loss for words— doesn’t happen often— I use the words of others. I am reading a book by friend and mentor, Johnny Allem, titled Say The Second Thing—That Comes Into Your Mind. This book is a “tool box” that supports the work and joy of recovery. I know that recovery support for self and others is not a job but requires work. In describing his early days, Johnny writes about the tools of work.