In 2012, I experimented with the creation of a recovery knowledge exam (See What is Your Recovery Quotient? Toward Recovery-focused Education of Addiction Professionals and Recovery Support Specialists). The 100-item test was intended to illustrate the training emphasis on drug trends, psychopharmacology, and addiction-related pathologies in marked contrast to the scant attention paid to the prevalence, pathways, styles, and stages of long-term addiction recovery. (For details on such limited attention, click HERE)
We live in a world where people experiencing significant alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems call upon diverse iconic historical and contemporary figures, catalytic ideas, words, slogans, metaphors, and quite varied identity and story styles to resolve these problems. The challenge for addiction treatment and recovery community organizations and their service providers is to create environments and service menus within which all of these organizing motifs and languages are available. Achieving such broad recovery fluency among addiction treatment and recovery support specialists requires mastery of the history of addiction recovery and a basic understanding of what is being learned about recovery through rigorous scientific studies.
For addiction professionals and recovery support specialists, this calls for basic fluency in the language of secular, spiritual, and religious pathways of recovery and their related mutual aid societies; knowledgeable about assisted and unassisted styles of problem resolution; and knowledge of a broad spectrum of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support technologies. Embracing such a menu is predicated on the belief that people use diverse ways to avoid and escape AOD problems and that such success is enhanced through informed choice and respectful guidance.
So exactly what would such fluency mean at its most practical level? Which of the following statements would you support?
*Educational media within addiction treatment and recovery support programs should be available in multiple languages, particularly the most prominent languages within a program’s geographical catchment area.
*Organizations providing addiction treatment and non-clinical recovery support services, regardless of their primary orientation (secular, spiritual, or religious; abstinence-based or pharmacotherapy-focused; etc.), should provide everyone screened and served with information on alternative approaches.
*Organizations providing addiction treatment and non-clinical recovery support services should shift from stand-alone, single-modality/philosophy service organizations to multimodality service centers offering a broad menu of evidence-based, experience-informed services.
*Any person being served by an addiction treatment or recovery support organization who fails to respond via measurable positive effects or who experiences clinical deterioration during the course of service should be informed of alternative approaches and assertively linked to such services.
*People in recovery working in professional or peer service roles and people who are academically credentialed without experiential knowledge of recovery should be provided orientation and training on and exposure to alternative pathways of recovery and how to present treatment and recovery support options in an objective manner.
*Addiction treatment and recovery support specialists should have a working knowledge of the history, organization, primary mechanisms of change, core literature, meeting and communication rituals, and assertive referral procedures for the major recovery mutual aid organizations and other indigenous recovery support institutions.
*Addiction professionals and recovery support specialists should be knowledgeable about local ethnic/cultural communities and indigenous healing roles and healing practices that may be engaged as sources of recovery support.
If you would like to assess your recovery quotient and fluency, click HERE. I look forward to updating this test in the future to incorporate recent historical developments and recovery research published since 2012.
We have learned so much about addiction-related pathologies and the mechanics of biopsychosocial stabilization (acute treatment); it is past time we learned about the prevalence, pathways, and processes through which individuals and families resolve such problems and the diverse communities in which such healing occurs.
William (“Bill”) White
Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health System
Read all of Bill White's Blog Posts on his website here www.williamwhitepapers.com