The Problem with Treatment Programs
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If you have an addiction or a mental illness then you can benefit from finding a good treatment program these days. You pretty much get your pick of the litter since there are literally dozens of them; i.e., Overeaters Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Workaholics Anonymous, and the ever popular Alcoholics Anonymous. This list is just to name a few. My personal favorite is Emotions Anonymous which I found by “accident” when someone at a church Celebrate Recovery group suggested I look up Anger Anonymous. I ran across Emotions Anonymous and signed up for their email list as well as joined their Facebook group. This article will look at the benefits of those groups as well as the one problem with them in the area of self-development and personal growth.
The benefits of treatment programs:
One of the biggest benefits is the social benefit. By getting involved in a good support group you get fellowship with likeminded people who share the same struggles as you. Even though mine is pretty much online they are just as real as any other person I have met these days; given the fact I sometimes wonder if the people I meet in the real world are even real. There is truth to what the patriarch of “Family Guy” said in one episode: “Social Media is bringing us all closer together.” Plus you have video options such as Skype to see the people that you meet online. It’s sort of like an extension of the former penpal program that children used to do in their early education years. You can also travel to another city and visit one of your new friends, thereby making it a more personal relationship. The biggest benefit is that you have someone to keep you accountable as long as you are both committed to personal growth and self-development.
The one problem with treatment groups with regards to personal growth:
There is only one real problem that comes as a result of conventional treatment programs. The mainstay of any treatment plan is centered on abstinence; i.e., avoiding drugs and alcohol and contacting your sponsor when you fall of the wagon. The only problem here, if you look at it from a holistic point of view, is that it does not deal with the underlying issue that drives a person to drink, use of drugs, overeating, or working too much. If you are merely abstaining from what you are addicted to then you have to find some other addiction to fill the void.
For example if you abstain from drinking you may end up eating more or spending more time at the office. Since the underlying issue of addictions is emotional problems that have not been properly dealt with through a personal commitment to self-development the process of abstinence just suppresses your emotions further. Repressed emotions are the leading cause of mental illness. If you drink or use drugs to escape from reality then the process of abstaining is just going to lead you to repress these emotions and find some other way to deal with them. In many cases this ends up being going to a Psychiatrist, receiving a mental health diagnosis and being placed on medications for potentially the rest of your life.
It has been stated by many spiritual teachers and professional life coaches that Anonymous groups and courses like Anger Management are not really all that effective. This is because you don’t actually deal with the issue at hand, you merely put it on the back burner so you can get on with your life. This is not the way to live a more abundant life because the issue just festers inside which can create more anger issues and dependency on medications, which do work by the way, to help suppress the unbridled emotions even further. Over time you will need more medicine, either for the physical symptoms that crop up or to combat the side effects of the psychotropic drugs.
The only course of action that really helps you live a more abundant life is the process of personal growth which seeks to understand the general principles of Psychology. If the business world can understand Psychology to manipulate you into buying their goods and services then you can pursue self-development by self-studying the basics of Psychology in order to live a more wholesome life.
The one bit of irony concerning many support groups:
Oddly enough there is one little detail about many Anonymous groups that you notice if you are observant at all. While many are focused on overcoming substance abuse issues that are brought about by deep emotional problems, the first thing you can’t help but notice when you walk into the room is one big coffee pot; yet there is no support group for Caffeine Anonymous and this is about the most widely abused drug in the world. It even has certain health benefits to it as well.
It’s not that support groups are bad if you use them right. But if you use it as a bitchfest then you are really getting nowhere. If you use it to lift people up and encourage them toward greater personal growth then it can achieve maximum benefits. However only a few people are wise enough to see the need for self-development because most are too caught up with the superficial cares of the world to set aside the time for this crucial area of life. Only a real overcomer will bother to do this. These types are the true leaders in society and can spark a consciousness revolution if they all continue to work together and collaborate in their emotional healing.
- Erwin Wooten