As an Addict, why do I need an Intensive?

January 19, 2018 | Eric Anderson, LMFT, CSAT

Addiction is a progressive illness.  The more time someone is active in his or her addiction the more their behavior escalates both in terms of the intensive and risk as well as the time involved.  Many clients have been involved in their addiction for many decades.  When this happens the patterns in someone’s life become so deeply rooted that the addiction is impossible to break on its own.  The neuro-pathways that have developed the brain have become so well worn that basic measures like once a week therapy or occasional involvement in a 12-step program is not enough.  The habits are simply too strong.  It is at this point an intensive program is needed.

Typically a therapist will be able to tell if a client’s addiction has escalated to this point when they are unable to follow through on things like assigned work as part of their therapy, increased levels of depression or anxiety causing the addictive behavior to escalate, or a heightened level of chaos in work and relationships as a consequence of their addictive behavior.

Underlying all of addiction is both struggles with emotional regulation and trauma.  The core of addiction is about trying to escape the uncomfortable feelings of shame, depression, anxiety, or fear caused by various life experiences such as trauma, religious dogma, loss or insecurities.   When someone’s not able to achieve or maintain consistent sobriety, when they are having difficulty managing stressors of life like job, relationship, or family, it would make sense that an increased level of services would also be warranted.

Here’s a metaphor I like to use.

Think of a field of very tall grass.  It’s overgrown up to your shoulders and hard to see which way to go.  In one area you notice a pathway where the grass has been trampled down many times to where the path is easy to go down.  This path leads to chaos and destruction and this is the path of your addiction.  You have been down it many times and the grass has become so well worn it’s become normal to go down that path that it is almost automatic.  But over time you go down that path it becomes more well worn and trampled on that the grass doesn’t have a chance to grow back.

In addiction treatment we work to make new pathways that lead to a place that is not destructive but life giving.  This involves blazing a new trail and going down a path that is going to be out of your comfort zone.  However, the more you go down this new path the more the grass gets trampled down on that pathway making it easier to go down in the future.  Conversely the more time you spend away from the old pathway, the more the grass will start to grow back and making it less and less tempting to go back.

An intensive program provides the structure needed to make sure you don’t go down the pathway that leads to destruction so that pathway will have a chance to heal and we do the hard work with you of blazing a new healthier path as we build in the needed tools and resources to create lasting recovery.

When addiction has been raging in someone’s life for a long time it is difficult change to make but with the help of a team trained in making the necessary changes you can reverse these negative patterns in your life.

If you think an intensive program is needed to help you move forward in your recovery, please check out Banyan Therapy Group’s various Intensive Programs. All programs are designed to help you break free of addictive patterns and get your life back on track.

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