My clients don’t hit bottom; they live on the bottom. If we wait for them to hit bottom, they will die. The obstacle to their engagement in treatment (recovery) is not an absence of pain; it is an absence of hope. — Outreach Worker
(Quoted in White, Woll, and Webber 2003)
One of the most widely recognized pathways to addiction recovery comes in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program that focuses on teaching people to see their addiction as the illness it is, and not as a moral failure. While there is no doubt about the effectiveness of this recovery tactic for many, it is not a cure-all for every type of addiction.
The situation is often further compounded by the fact that many people tend to erect barriers around their belief system, whether consciously or not, and keep their issues boxed inside, rather than allowing it to empower them to confront their addictions. This idea that one’s belief system can further the success of addiction recovery programs is a foundational principle for Northeast Delta Human Services Authority’s Faith Partnership Initiative.
There are many different methods by which people can recover from drug or alcohol addiction – nonspiritual, spiritual, peer-assisted, medication-assisted, etc. – which are collectively referred to as pathways to recovery. The image of pathways suggests a crossroads where someone in recovery is faced with distinct options that call for a decision or some audible guidance from a “GPS of addiction recovery.” The image can communicate that one must choose A, B, or C — with advocates of each pathway standing at the crossroads claiming they represent the one true path to recovery.
Despite the long-held belief that there is only one pathway for each person, the growing belief among many, according to researcher William White in his June 2016 article entitled Recovery Pathways Are Not Always a Pathway, is that there are many pathways to recovery. This position serves as an important first step to identifying new solutions and practices for substance-abuse treatment.
White goes on to explain, “There are millions of people living in recovery within these established frameworks of recovery. But there are also innumerable people in long-term recovery who have crafted a style of personal recovery at or beyond the boundaries of these approaches.” The experiences of those in recovery are more aptly described as “an evolving patchwork, mandala, mosaic, or medley,” rather than as a journey down a single well-marked path. The recovery landscape is currently “dynamically evolving,” as elements are being regularly added or exchanged with no predetermined guide or a specific point of completion.
Such evolution in the way recovery is now being viewed gives the faith community a unique opportunity, especially within the 12 parishes served by Northeast Delta HSA, to partner with other community resources and provide hope to those dealing with addiction. Northeast Delta HSA’s Faith Partnership Initiative helps to coordinate all of these resources and navigate the many pathways, all with the underlying motivation of hope, reinforced with prevention and treatment, for a brighter future.
Learn more about the Faith Partnership Initiative and how to get involved by clicking here.
Recovery Pathways Are Not Always a Pathway, Bill White, 2016.