New Year’s Eve festivities are fast approaching and it’s almost time to pop the champagne! For some this is a moment of celebration and for others this can be a challenging period in recovery. As such, I would encourage our community to let go of the desire to pressure your friend, family member or colleague into having "just one". I am sure we have all been there...
Now, most commonly there are two schools of thought within the addiction treatment community: abstinence based recovery and harm minimisation.
Abstinence based recovery is widely known through the incredible efforts of Russel Brand and the 12-Step Fellowship such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). AA came about in the 1940’s after 2 men in America met each day to support one another in their recovery from alcoholism. The basic premise of abstinence based recovery is to totally abstain from using any amount of the mood-altering substance and engage in regular meeting with other people in recovery for ongoing support.
Harm minimisation is likely to be less known due to the lack of public figure involvement. However, Australia’s National Drug Strategy has focussed on harm minimisation as the basis for it’s policies for over 30 years. The basic premise of harm minimisation is reducing the risk of harm to the individual and community through an understanding that addiction and substance abuse treatment is not simply stopping using the substance. Rather it is providing strategies and support around the individual, their social and economic environments as well as the substance itself.
SMART Recovery provides people with any unhelpful behaviour concerns a community based group program for support and strategies. These groups provide the community with tools to move towards recovery using a harm minimisation approach.
The TARA Clinic provides individualised outpatient treatment options for people who align with a particular approach to recovery already or perhaps aren't sure. Our psychologists are trained professionals who will provide you with a safe space to explore what recovery may mean to you.
For those who are reading this article wondering what to do tonight, my advice is have a plan! If you align with abstinence based recovery or harm minimisation, knowing your limit and early warning signs can be helpful. Speak to someone you trust to support you if you needed it and share your exit strategy with them.
Remember you are not alone in this and we believe in you!