Free «Complementary Approaches in Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment» Essay Paper

Complementary Approaches in Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment


A figurative definition of alcoholism, given by Janet Woititz, in his best-seller Marriage on the Rocks, is the following: “An alcoholic is a man who enveloped in fire and running to the sea. He sinks in the sea.” (Woititz, 1979) Though initially, alcohol or drugs’ consumption is a person’s voluntary decision, with time one loses self-control and becomes unable to resist his/her impulses, and such a condition is called addiction. Recent studies show that the best ways of success in alcohol treatment and drug addiction are achieved by those rehabilitation centers that use methods combined with both medical and psychotherapeutic approaches, as well as spiritual practices (Saylor, 2005). The term “cure” means that, after medical treatment, a patient no longer has that particular condition. (Hirch, 2013) Medical treatment may have a positive effect on symptoms and consequences of diseases, using drugs and therapies. If a disease cannot be cured, doctors use medical methods to control it.

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Saylor in his article claims that a lot of doctors do not want to recommend their patients to consult with spiritual mentors or consultants. To understand the importance of spiritual practices implementation in treating alcohol and drug addiction, it is necessary to research what spiritual health is, how religiosity and spirituality influence mental and physical state. Also, it is necessary to identify how religiosity can contribute in adoption of healthier behavioral models. The current paper examines the effectiveness of complementary approaches in the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction.

Need Less, Love More

A Christian viewpoint on the problem of dependency determines that the issue of the relationship with people is that we need them for our own purposes but do not love them as the Bible teaches us to. Instead of looking for ways how to manipulate people, a person needs to ask what his/her responsibilities towards them are (Welch, 2001).

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The problem of addiction is concentrated around selfishness and irresponsibility. Selfishness makes a person to be concerned with one’s own interests, ignoring the interests of other people. Its’ “not holy trinity: I, me, mine” dictates its’ conditions of life. Such a position has a replacement: the Christian understanding of love: “Love ... is not proud, not rude, not self-seeking,” but “is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4-8 New International Version), which means looking for good in others, forgiving and learning, being thoughtful of others. Responsibility implies that a person should be responsible for his/her choices in life, and not shift the solution of problems on the shoulders of other people. Dependent ones profess the basic principles of their existence: “I do what I like, and someone will be responsible for it, and it doesn’t matter who.” One can certainly have a genetic predisposition to addiction, but today’s scientific findings in the field of epigenetics, say that any person is able to stop it, as transmitted through heredity habit does not change the structure of DNA, but is only enshrined in the epigenome. Its root is based on the spiritual plane, and the result of it is manifested in the physical body and behavior.

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Therapeutic Use of Humor

The term “alexithymia” is the inability to express their feelings and is a symptom of mental distress. Studies have shown that alexithymia is a characteristic of patients with addiction. Outside of alcohol intoxication, an alcoholic cannot express feelings, because he/she does not know how to do it. Therefore, it takes some effort to acquire the needed skills to express, to live through, and to resolve feelings. Today, many therapists use humor as a powerful therapeutic tool, as an adjunct to therapy. The professor Maurice Elias of Rutgers University organizes seminars for doctors, and he stays: “We have lost sight of the fact that we are emotional people. We’re trying to help people to solve problems, to develop, to know that they are alive. These are things that humor does” (Sultanoff, 1995). Humor is the shortest distance between two people; the use of humor in the treatment of addiction leads to the fact that addicted people do not have a need to express feelings resorting to alcohol.

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Spiritual Practice for the Removal of Muscle Clamps

Pain is a protective mechanism of a person’s psyche. A law of pain says that if a person is hurt, he/she needs to change something in their life. An addicted individual is not able to analyze and carry emotional pain that arises from minor setbacks or losses. They either react with anger and rage, or use it as an excuse to take a dose to relieve distress. Very often, an addicted person is forced to suppress or displace feelings. This happens automatically and unconsciously, as a reaction to pain that goes into muscle tension and clamp. Furthermore, muscle clamps prevent the free flow of energy in our bodies, which leads to disruption of physiological and psychological processes. Muscle block is a poorly conscious relaxation; it only increased in response to negative emotional stimuli. Today, there is a wealth of experience and practice of removing the muscle blocks, and those methods are alternative ones to academic medicine, and psychology. This includes the systems and techniques of Qi Gong, yoga postures that use different physical exercises and controlled breathing techniques practiced to relieve muscle tension. An interesting experiment was carried out when using the practice of deep breathing and sounds, causing a deep belly laugh. Participants laughed for 15 minutes every morning for three weeks. As a result, they achieved self-improvement, positive emotions, and social identity. The effect lasted for 90 days, after the study was finished (Parade, 2009).

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Guided Imagery

Imagination is an integral part of the way of thinking, by which people manage their lives. The images, painted in different colors, influence thoughts, feelings, and self-regulation. Meditation with colors has different methods. One can focus on color in certain area or color oneself, filling in the whole body. Each chakra has its own color and by using certain colors of the chakras, one will help it adjust. So, for example, purple color is associated with the crown chakra and self-knowledge; indigo is associated with the “third eye” and responsibility, green is related to the heart chakra, so meditation on green heals and strengthens love for yourself and the love for others; it teaches to receive and to give. This practice has been successfully used since each color has its own vibration and the use of color in daily meditation helps to achieve a deep relaxation and healing (McCoy, 2015).

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“To Treat” Does not Mean “to Heal”

From the standpoint of Zen Buddhism, once a person overcomes his/her affection and desires, he/she merges with the One and stops the cycle of continued suffering. The Indian yogic tradition says: “Remember, every thing is very important, but do not get caught on the hook for it ..” Ram Dass, a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, says that no matter which healing methods are used, either we use the drug or touching, or words or meditation, we only arrange the environment in which healing can occur, as well as in the garden we grow flowers, and create the conditions in which they grow. The main condition in which the healing can happen, one believes that faith is the healing. The needs and desires in healing the person should take as a component of perfection and harmony; a person has to be separated from the suffering, he/she has to give it up. We need to learn to listen to the truth, lying in the depths of our consciousness, interconnected with the universe because we are a part of it. We must accept the fact that we have been healed by the truth and it is the cornerstone in understanding that a person is able to heal himself (Dass, 1976).

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The Battle in the Mind

People who sit on the hook of addiction, live in the past or the future, it is difficult for them to concentrate on the present, because they cannot and do not know how to live in it. Drug addiction is moving at a certain vicious circle and starts a movement with the pain that comes from the past; the feeling is based on a sense of shame and guilt, pushing the adoption of the next dose - a habit that has changed the value orientation and ends with remorse, leading to the pain. This is the vicious circle of addiction, which leads to the destruction of one’s personality. The feeling of guilt and inferiority paves new ways to use the next dose of alcohol or drugs. One must learn to separate the illness from the person’s real behavior. Only in this case, it will be possible to use the mechanism of forgiveness and acceptance to help in overcoming the addiction. Forgiveness is a volitional action that is aimed at excusing the offender to release him from the moral punishment for the acts, causing harm to the opposite side in the past. Rejection to forgive is used as a method of retaliation and harassment. Many people find it hard to forgive the offender because they do not understand the mechanism of forgiveness, which has two components: a past that we cannot change and a future in which we can make a decision on whether to trust a person who offended you. People who have not learned to forgive, have a negative attitude towards life, communication difficulties, suffering from internal resentment, are bleak and full of fears. “By not forgiving others, you are not just upset him, you offend yourself” (John Chrysostom). Forgiveness and gratitude bring the harmony into our inner world, and allow us to break the chain of dependence (Hunt, 2013).

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Chakra Is at the Heart of Energy

Events in our life are kind of holographic projections, which start at the level of our consciousness. The main purpose of our existence is the development of intentions and love, which is a basis for our evolution. We create objects, space and time by our consciousness. Our consciousness develops, thereby we expand the spectrum of our energy radiation and we are able to interact on an energetic level. Based on the theory of integrative energy therapy, negative thoughts, words, and deeds destroy own lives. Therefore, by changing our way of thinking, we can change our way of life. Integrative energy therapy considers chakras as constituting core energy and our intention is capable of activating the work of all the chakras, in accordance with the internal laws and wisdom of the universe. So, we will be either full of energy or we will burn under its’ irresistible stream (DeMatteo, 2015).












Taking into consideration the information written above, we can conclude that only a medical or psychotherapeutic intervention will be able to cope with the problem of addiction, since their target is to fight with the consequences and symptoms. Therefore, today, we can see the futility of this approach. According to the statistics, in the United States, in 2013, 7,800 new users are related to the use of narcotic or alcoholic substances every day. Many of them may become potentially addicted. Therefore, we see the need to join the efforts of medical, psychotherapeutic, and spiritual treatment for addictions, as these problems have spiritual roots that are manifested in the mental and physical components.

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