In it's famous Fifth Chapter, entitled How It Works, Alcoholics Anonymous outlines the path which its members are encouraged to follow and introduces the Twelve Steps. That phrase "how it works", new regulations issued by New York State for organizations like ours and the start of the new year provide an opportunity for reflection. I usually avoid such reflection because whenever I do I get smacked with the realization that we are far outside the alcoholism/addiction mainstream. "Evidence based practice"; regulators asking what therapeutic technique do you "apply" to a patient in a certain setting ; and the advent of addiction medicine where there's a pill for every addiction are all the rage. It's easy for us to feel like dinosaurs.
What do you do at Alcohol Services? What's your treatment approach? At times I wish our answer to those questions was more sophisticated. We try to be kindly honest with people and bear witness to their journey to recovery. We plant seeds. It's our hope that if they're unable to enter recovery this time around the community of caring they experienced at our place will come to mind as the pain of their alcoholism/addiction increases.
Treatment plans, long and short term goals and utilization reviews have little to do with the essence of our work. Our main product is intangible. Our main goal is to create a community of caring that fosters what Alcoholics Anonymous calls "the miracle of healing".
I was making a presentation and got into a bit of a mystic riff and found myself saying:
"There's as little I can do to make you get recovery as I can to make the sun rise."
A wise guy in the audience asked:
"Then how come you charge for your services?!"
"Perhaps I can help make sure you're not asleep when it does rise!" was the only answer that came to mind.
At Alcohol Services we try to form a community where we all have a shot at being awake when the sun does rise and recovery begins.