Philadelphia Medicine, Fall 2017 - 19

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by Alcoholics Anonymous as an important part of recovery. The first
three steps describe what the person with addiction must admit, and
what he or she needs to do to begin to recover:
* Step One - "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that
our lives had become unmanageable."
* Step Two - "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."
* Step Three - "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over
to the care of God as we understood him."
Dr. Joseph Garbely, medical
director of Caron Treatment Centers, said Caron has a Spiritual
Care Team that deals with the
essential role of a higher power
and the other steps in recovery.
He says, "The higher power doesn't
have to be God, (but) it has to be
something greater than you that's
going to help you get through this.
You've relied on yourself and that
doesn't work."
He said the higher power could
be a belief in the Judeo-Christian
God, or in no god. It could be finding a spiritual dimension in the
universe, for example, or in your peer group of fellow addicts - a
pathway for atheists. "It could be prayer, or mindfulness meditation,
or some other daily form of introspection. The 12 Steps are designed
to help take you through the process."
Batt said, "It's absolutely essential that our clients believe in some
form of higher power. One of the topics we specifically talk about
is spirituality. Spirituality does not mean religion. They are two
different things. Some people have a negative feeling about religion
from some past experience. I help them to recognize that spirituality
can be found in other ways."
Batt described one client who found a higher power in her child.
The client was feeling a desire to get high, when her child asked her
if they could go get ice cream. "So, they went out and got ice cream,"
Batt said. "We call that a 'higher power moment.' It's something
that's bigger than them that tells them not to surrender to their
disease, and instead, make a better decision."
Kris McFadden sees his Christian belief dove-tailing with the
peers who have helped change his life. "The concept of developing
strong human relationships within Christianity is one of the most
important components of Christian belief. Peer support is an offshoot
of that bond within the belief community."

"When you think of the Judeo-Christian tradition, that's all about
connecting in a communal way," Dr. Garbely said. "That's a big part
of what religion in general is all about. It's about plugging back into
the world, having life be more meaningful with that connection."
Dr. Thomas Legere, adjunct
professor of psychology at Immaculata University, who has
written a book on addiction, said,
"The higher power doesn't have
to be a god. For some the word
"god" can cause more problems
than it solves. The higher power
can be many things as long as
you know you're not it. But you
have to surrender to it. You have
to act upon that insight. Putting
yourself in alignment with this
Dr. Thomas Legere, Adjunct Prohigher power."
fessor of Psychology, Immaculata
University, Author of Living an
Peer Support
Authentic Life
The programs we examined also agreed with what Kris McFadden
observed from his own experience - that it's crucial for people in
recovery to find peers in recovery to talk to, to listen to, and to lean
on when things get tough.
Dr. Legere said, "Human contact is essential. That's the last thing
a person with an addiction wants. The 12 Step programs say the
only way you're going to get out of this is through human contact.
The very first word in the first step is 'we.'
"They're (peers) able to show you that you can recover. They're
essential to recovery. A few paces ahead of you. They help teach you
how to go through the 12 Step process. They're a guide. They've been
where you are and they have what you want.
"It would be difficult for someone to recover without trusting or
opening up to a peer. You have to open up your mind and heart to
that fellowship."
"Finding someone to relate to is crucial," Batt said. "A majority of
our treatment is within a group setting. We believe in the power of
the group, where each person has the chance to share their experiences
and relate to one another.
"When someone is in active addiction they feel so isolated, so hopeless. So being able to connect with another person, recognizing that
I'm not the only one going through this, is meaningful. Somebody
else understands what's happening. That creates relief and increases
the determination not to go back using. The hope is, 'if you can get
sober, I can get sober.'"
Continued on page 20
Fall 2017 : Philadelphia Medicine 19



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