Sentences to ponder

by karola riegler photography
by karola riegler photography

Health care reform is bringing much discussion of the tri-directional integration of addiction treatment, mental health and primary health care.  It is time we added to that discussion the need for services that help people in recovery build a life in the community.  For that we need to move beyond services that “fix” illnesses to the creation of pathways to pro-recovery social networks;  recovery-conducive work, shelter, worship and leisure; and pro-recovery volunteerism, community service and advocacy–an extension of recovery from to recovery to.   Such services were briefly present in addiction treatment programs of the 1960s and early 1970s but were lost in the medicalization of addiction treatment. —Bill White

9 thoughts on “Sentences to ponder

  1. The place of treatment in recovery is to help people stop using (ie “recovery from”), the place of mental health and primary care in recovery is to address other issues which may undermine recovery and the place of community in recovery is to help people stay stopped and help sustain and maintain the full change in lifestyle and thinking that is needed “recovery too” – and can only only take place within the community.

    1. I like this. And, I’m thinking that this is probably true for any chronic illness where the most effective treatments are behavioral. The chronic disease burden threatens to crush the American health care system. Maybe the biggest factor is not better pills, procedures and systems, but it’s the absence of communities of recovery to support those behavioral changes.

      1. Your right, nothing about this approach is specific to addiction – it applies equally to mental health, diabetes, obesity, disability maybe even ageing. So many of the struggles we have with these health conditions in the West risen from the professionalization of health care. While professional health care is essential and has had led to great achievements, it has stepped way outside of its rightful place. Especially the notion that professionals have a monopoly on human healing – a notion that has radically undermined and dis-empowered individuals and their communities from what they used to do for themselves.

        This phenomenon is beautifully documented in the book The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits by John McKnight where describes how the best efforts of experts to rebuild and revitalize communities can in fact destroying them through the four “counterfeiting” aspects of society: professionalism, medicine, human service systems, and the criminal justice system.

        “These systems do too much, intervene where they are ineffective, and try to substitute service for irreplaceable care. Instead of more or better services, the book demonstrates that the community capacity of the local citizens is the basis for resolving many of America’s social problems.”

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