More on recovery without abstinence

Oops. I meant to add more to that last post and didn’t.

The commonly held belief about addiction is that addicts won’t seek help without a gun held to their heads. Our experience just shatters that.
I meant to introduce the quote with the statement that Dawn Farm would say exactly the same thing. More than ever, I have faith that, given a menu that includes good options, addicts will migrate toward recovery–whatever that looks like for them. Some may be able to quit heroin and continue to drink while achieving the same quality of life as another who chooses to abstain completely. I believe that the former person is the exception to the rule and that it’s a risky experiment–if this path doesn’t work, they may not survive or their illness may progress in a manner that makes it more difficult to stabilize and achieve recovery the next time around. However, if a person chooses to pursue this path after reviewing the risks, it’s their choice to make. What I fear is programs or systems that don’t offer hope for recovery, don’t offer accurate information, don’t offer treatment/support of adequate duration and intensity and celebrate any positive change without encouraging addicts to keep moving in the direction of full recovery–whatever that means to them.

3 thoughts on “More on recovery without abstinence

  1. There's been a bit of a debate on whether addicts in recovery can drink safely on Wired In recently. Hot issue. My experience of working in an abstinence focussed service is that many would like to to drink safely, but few manage it. I'd love to know what happens to those who seem to manage over a decade or two and I would really like to see some solid research on this. Bill White wrote a cautionary article on this, but has been called "wrong" on Wired In! (A brave or foolish thing to do in my opinion…)

  2. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to engage in a very high stakes experiment.

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