Our job is to be objective while standing in our truth, a truth rooted in our experience and our expertise. Although we focus squarely on evidence-based treatment, we must also admit the existence of times when a diagnosis cannot explain the hurt, heartbreak, confusion, disappointment, sadness, or anger. Sometimes, those feelings are just that—feelings very real to the person experiencing them.
We also admit evidence-based treatment, as most have been utilizing it over the years, isn’t really doing a great job. The evidence? “Success” rates are at about 10% (please note: percentage lacks any operational definition, categorical coding, or clustering of participants) and the opioid epidemic is getting worse, not better.
And what is the definition of success, anyways? To most, the word “success” implies cure in the minds of those closest to the individual in treatment. Sometimes, people even think it means learning how to drink (or do drugs) like a gentleman…or…learning how to control the “urge.” Sometimes, it might just mean experiencing some hope.
What’s our definition of success? Well, that depends. The way we look at it is if we can help a guy who hasn’t stopped using drugs for 10 years stop for one day, we would count that as a success. Helping a guy begin to respect himself and learn to save money to place a deposit down on an apartment is also a success in our book. Yet, if we ruled the world, our definition of success would be the following: The guy leaves our program with at least one year of recovery, enough money to be self-sufficient, and in a space (emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually) where he can—with a clear mind—decide whether he wishes to continue with the life he has built. After all, it will always come down to the decisions he chooses to make. We want to get him to a point where he can make the decision with a clear head and heart after building some things in his life he doesn’t want to lose. Certainly, it is harder to make wrong decisions when standing upon a mountain of right decisions.