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Self-Resolution of Drug and Alcohol Problems

An News Analysis By Terence T. Gorski
GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
www.tgorski.com
Published On: June 23, 2001          Updated On: August 07, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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The drug control policy within the United States focuses heavily upon law enforcement, formal treatment, and formal prevention programs.  Little attention is placed upon discovering the essential elements that allow addicted people to recover without formal intervention.  Better knowledge in this area could allow us to develop and deploy large scale community drug and alcohol education programs teaching people easily accessible and low cost strategies for addressing their own alcohol and drug problems.  These readily accessible interventions, often called low threshold treatments, could enable an army of trained volunteers to provide basic educational programs out of the schools, churches and homes.

A recent article by Deborah L. Finfgeld reported in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reviews the findings of eight studies that explored the process of self-resolution of alcohol and other drug problems.  Self-resolution is a term used to describe the process individuals use who resolve their alcohol and other drug abuse problems without participating in either formal treatment programs or 12-Step type self-help fellowships.  In early days of this research the term used was spontaneous remission.  The early studies, however, showed that the process was anything but spontaneous.  People could recover without treatment or formal Twelve Step Programs, but to do so required hard work at making changes that tended to conform to a number of basic principles.  The concept of self-resolution replaced the concept of spontaneous remission.

The key strategies involved in the self-resolution of alcohol and drug problems involves the key strategy of  investing and reinvesting in self.  This process varies in difficulty and is influenced by a variety of intrapersonal, interpersonal and extrapersonal factors. 

Intrapersonal Factors: The intrapersonal factors involved in the self-resolution of alcohol and drug problems include:

1.         Being well informed; 

2.         Having a perception of good health;

3.         Having high levels of self confidence;

4.         Having good self-control and impulse control skills; and

5.         Having a well developed a sense of personal responsibility; 

Interpersonal Factors: The interpersonal factors involved in the self-resolution of alcohol and drug problems include: 

1.         Being involved in an active network of significant others who are supportive of efforts to change.

2.         Either being involved with others who are caring, and supportive but not overly intrusive associates; or being able to set limits and shifts social support networks.

Extrapersonal Factors: The extra personal factors involved in the self-resolution of alcohol and drug problems include: 

1.         Stable employment;

2.         Financial security

3.         Educational opportunities. 

These characteristics associated with self-resolution could be easily adapted to criteria for evaluating clients who could readily succeed with less intensive interventions.  This research clearly supports the benefit of encouraging substance abusers help themselves wherever possible and appropriate and to be flexible enough to allow nonconventional self-help strategies to be incorporated within the context of traditional recovery plans.

Reference

Deborah L. Finfgeld, R.N., Ph.D., Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO, USA
Journal of Addictions Nursing, 12(2): 65-72, 2000.

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About the Author

Terence T. Gorski is an internationally recognized expert on substance abuse, mental health, and related criminal justice issues.  He is well known for his contributions to relapse prevention, managing chemically dependent offenders, and developing community-based teams for managing the problems of alcohol, drugs, and crime.  He is President of the CENAPS Corporation, a training and consultation firm of founded in 1982 that is committed to providing the most advanced training and consultation in the chemical dependency and behavioral health fields.

Gorski has also developed skills training workshops and a series of low-cost book, workbooks, pamphlets, audio and videotapes. He also works with a team of trainers and consultants who can assist individuals and programs to utilize his ideas and methods.
Terry Gorski is available for personal and program consultation, lecturing, and clinical skills training workshops. He also routinely schedules workshops, executive briefings, and personal growth experiences for clinicians, program managers, and policymakers.

Terry Gorski and Other Members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team Are Available To Train & Consult On Areas Related To Addiction & Mental Health
Gorski - CENAPS, 17900 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL 60430, 708-799-5000 www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com, www.relapse.org

This article is copyrighted by Terence To Gorski.  Permission is given to reproduce this article if the following conditions are met:  (1) The authorship of the article is properly referenced and the internet address is given;  (2) All references to the following three websites are retained when the article is reproduced - www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com, www.relapse.org, www.relapse.net; (3) If the article is published on a website a reciprocal link to the four websites listed under point two is provided on the website publishing the article.
 

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