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From resocialisation to therapy

From resocialisation to therapy

What is the secret of a rigid separation into the therapy of alcoholic and narcotic disease, into centers exclusively for alcoholics and only for drug addicts? A rather absurd chapter, because about 60% of the current patients of the Narcotics Center in Pławniowice are also addicted to alcohol – addiction recovery online.

Pławniowice is a small town between Gliwice and Strzelce Opolskie. Just behind the village, in a renovated building, which was once the seat of the forest district, there is a new, large center. Located on a hill, by the old oak alley leading into the woods, surrounded by an orchard and garden, it creates a picturesque corner. The full name is Provincial Center for the Treatment of Addicts. Drug addicts are treating here, but at least 60% of them are also addicted to alcohol.

I first came across the concept of psychological addiction mechanisms in 1991. Even then, taking into account certain, not so great, specific differences, such thinking about addiction, although created for the use of alcoholism, seemed to me well describing what is happening with drug addicts (then they were mainly heroinists).

Together with the band, we were learning to name things over again. There was a lot of naivety, simplification and optimism. But there was also the joy of a language new to us, one that can be talked about addiction without resorting to confused definitions, unclear and vague hypotheses or theses.

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We were amazed to discover such obvious things as the fact that relapses are part of addictions, so far we have almost always treated them as our failures, that diagnosis is not a necessary evil, but something that can significantly help both the therapist and the patient. It was then that the client became a patient for us and the family someone important in therapy. We discovered the importance of the Twelve Steps AA and AN.

We later went a long way in our own training. Today, I assess it as a path from social rehabilitation to therapy, from thinking about drug addiction as a character defect, weak will or “ethical collapse”, to treat it as a disease. Initially timidly, and later with exaggerated zeal at times, we implemented what we learned during training and internships from therapists working with alcoholics and their families. Some procedures or diagnostic questionnaires (especially for OPT) had to be “translated” so that they fit the specificity and color of narcotic addictions more.

Today, I am deeply convinced that the differences between alcoholism and drug addiction are not as great as it might seem at first glance. Such thinking results more from stereotypes, from the lack of comparative experiences, from the mythology that has accompanied drug users for many years, than from real facts. The same applies to therapy.