Addiction, Recovery, and Social Change: Creating a New Perspective

I’m about to embark on a topic that doesn’t come out of our mouths too often when we’re talking about social change. But for me it was the most pivotal change that I made in my life and also provided immensely for hundreds of others that I have worked with. This social change project is broadening the narrow perspective the world carries with regard to addiction and recovery. Of course, my inspiration was born from my own transitional journey where I engaged in what looks like our traditional treatment process to remove a physiological chemical addiction. When I completed this “standard protocol” I was sent back to my life still not knowing how to make that space fulfilling for me.

Sure, I had been stabilized, but the social supports of AA and women’s group were not going to give me the answers I needed. I was not provided effective tools to maneuver through the many stressors a wife and mother faces. So, I went to school where I learned about addiction, treatment, and the way that the evidence-based practices are structured. I identified coaching as a preferred method and used the Capstone for my research on coaching as an effective psychological practice. I obtained 11 certifications and my Degree in Psychology at Walden University where I studied chemical, behavioral, and process addictions.

I don’t want to bore you, so here is the deal. What I discovered is that there is an entire population of people that struggle with what can be considered the not-so-normal faces of addiction. These are people that feel held hostage by their habits yet they are highly functioning, so they do not meet criteria for our traditional treatments. Then there are the people who come out of treatment faced with the same job, the same spouse, the same kids, the same house, the same bills, the same everything, that they were originally trying to numb out, without the proper level of support to show them how to add, edit, and delete what they learned in treatment and incorporate it into their life effectively when the time is needed.

We stabilize the moderate to severe and send them home. We don’t teach, guide, or coach them on how to cultivate new tactics for coping, new ways to dream, new ways to inspire, new ways to attain with maintainability. In fact, this is what prompted my passion to create Turning Leaves® Recovery, Life, and Wellness Coaching and the Building Milestones® curriculum which is now a complete Learn to Live Free system offered as an assertive continuum of care post treatment or to those who don’t require standard protocol.

As a practitioner who focuses on serving the these not so normal faces of addiction, just like my personal story, one filled with 30+ years of negative attachment issues, I know firsthand how pivotal it is when you uncover the true issue.

I had to learn how those traumatic experiences from my younger years really made me a champion. I had to learn that my purpose in life was not to fulfill the needs of others at the expense of my own. I had to learn that there was nothing self-soothing about an article of clothing, a sugary treat, or altering my state of being with a chemical substance.  I had to realize that nothing could fix my issues except me.

So, I changed the way I perceived just about everything. I modified how I structured my activities. I adjusted the way I communicated. This, of course, meant that if I wanted to really be heard, I had to learn how to truly listen and seek clarity through the power of inquiry.

The point is there is suffering in areas that are just not given the due attention. My problem wasn’t just a chemical addiction to alcohol. That was just a piece of it.  I was addicted to being perceived as “good”… to rewards, to hiding, to not feeling, to doing… and there are many people struggling on similar levels.

So, here is my recommendation. If we want to set people up to win, we need to provide the right life skills. They need to be directed to the right help, someone that speaks their language, and has a broader perspective about addiction and recovery than the masses, and we need to lengthen the period a person can have access. By expanding the exit or discharge planning process to include an assertive continuum of care with a recovery life coach, a professional trained to teach effective life skills, we will greatly increase the efficacy of treatment, drastically reduce recidivism rates, and support relapse prevention goals.

For more information or to book an in-depth presentation you can schedule time with me here.

Tricia Parido

Tricia Parido, Walden University Alumni

Tricia currently serves as Founder/Director of Turning Leaves® Recovery, Life, and Wellness Coaching, a nationally certified coaching practice whose mission is to provide personalized, high-quality care that will guide individuals toward an empowered and improved quality of life and wellness. Her practice is built upon her personal attributes of passion, compassion, advocacy, objectivity, and honesty. Specializing in life transitions and post-treatment, Parido is ever committed to assuring that those whom she is entrusted with are motivated and empowered to conquer their life challenges and addictions.

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