When individuals are struggling with the harsh reality of drug addiction, sobriety may appear to be an impossible reality, reports therapist Berni Fried. In this interview with Community Blog Online, Berni Fried explains why recovery is well within reach when a client is given the proper treatment and support.
Community Blog Online: We’re so glad to have you here today! Welcome.
Berni Fried: Of course! Thank you for having me.
Community Blog Online: What is the central theme of your therapy sessions, typically?
Berni Fried: That it is quite possible to grow and develop a meaningful and productive life free of drugs and alcohol.
Community Blog Online: How do you envision clients and therapists approaching this process from the outset?
Berni Fried: When clients begin the process of recovery it requires taking the time to understand how drug addiction has impacted their life. It is critical that the client can take an honest look at the ways that “destructive” behavior has kept them from feeling safe and connected. So the first step is the recognition that Addiction is an issue.
Community Blog Online: What is one of the greatest challenges clients face when embarking upon this difficult journey?
Berni Fried: For many people facing addiction, the toughest step is often the first one.Clients must come to terms with shame and the feelings related to a life that has been out of control.
Community Blog Online: Which is…?
Berni Fried: Admission is the first step in making a change. A client must first admit that his life is unmanagable and needs to be addressed to begin with. ,Choosing to make a change. This serves as the basis for everything that comes after. Committing to sobriety requires the aknowledgment that his life is spinning out of control and Addiction is at the center of it. . Change is never easy.
Community Blog Online: How long does it take to make a full recovery?
Berni Fried: It depends upon the person and his or her individual situation. But almost always, recovering from addiction is a long and sometimes painstaking process that requires dedication, support, motivation and most importantly, willingness.The client cannot do this in isolation. It is important that the addict realizes he is not alone.
Community Blog Online: What types of motivation and support offer the most comfort and guidance, in your experience?
Berni Fried: Addiction cannot be treated in Isolation. The client needs to feel connected to a community, which is why involvement in a group process like Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs are encouraged. The essential ingredient in recovery is helping the client recognize that he or she is not alone in the process. Through sponsorship and other recovering individuals, the addict can find a sense of safety and begin the process of sobriety.
Community Blog Online: Aside from a 12 step program, what are other important components of treatment?
Berni Fried: Accountability is also an essential part of the process of recovery. This is where having a therapist or doctor involved to help the addict gives the recovering person the chance to be tested and treated. Sponsorship also serves to give the addict a role model. A person that serves as a mentor. This person has more time sober than the addict and helps to provide a road map in recovery. This person helps to guide the addict through stumbling blocks in their sobriety and challenges that the recovering person may encounter.
Community Blog Online: How have some professionals erred in their treatment plans?
Berni Fried: Treatment should address a variety of issues and be personalized to the individual’s current situation. A cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work well. It is important to address all aspects of the individual’s spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.
Community Blog Online: Why is this?
Berni Fried: Addiction affects the entirety of a person’s existence, including job, health, relationships and spiritual well-being. Everyone is different and uniquely challenged.
Community Blog Online: How do clients know they have achieved successful recovery?
Berni Fried: Success is most often demonstrated in their ability to lead healthy and productive lives in society. By managing stressful situations without the use of drugs , the person is exhibiting strength and determination. This is all done without the use of any mood or mind altering substances.
Community Blog Online: What other attributes are necessary in a treatment plan?
Berni Fried: Physical, emotional and spiritual aspects are all important in recovery. Beginning to go to the gym or have some activity related to physical health are good indicators. Attendance daily in a 12 step group, contact with a sponsor and meditation and beginning to undo the aloneness for the addict is encouraged.
Community Blog Online: What type of care is generally required?
Berni Fried: Depending on the person, this is individualized. It is important that all aspects of the client are treated. Everyone comes into recovery differently, needing different emphasis on aspects related to their issues. Spiritual, emotional and physical aspects are all important.
Community Blog Online: Where can people turn for help when struggling with addiction?
Berni Fried: In addition to psychologists and physicians, many social workers and addiction counselors offer treatment services.There are thousands of 12 step meetings around the world: both inpatient and outpatient treatment for people suffering from addictions.
Community Blog Online: This has been an insightful discussion. Thanks for this information!
Berni Fried: I’m glad to provide some assistance.
Berni Fried is an active and highly valued member of the therapy community in L.A. In her various commitments, Berni Fried encourages leading professionals to expound upon their current treatment efforts as a benefit to their clients.