show dont tell

Alumni: Megan Souther

Someone with a drug and/or alcohol problem has one goal, to continue to get high or drunk at any cost. Addicts will say things they don’t mean and manipulate any situation to get their desired result. Anyone who stands in the way of them getting their next fix or drink is considered an obstacle. People closest to them are the ones who get hurt the most. How do I know this? Because I am one.

In my addiction and early recovery, I would tell friends and family what they wanted to hear, if it would get them off my back.  I would go to different treatment centers and tell the counselors and my family that I was doing well. I was compliant, which came off as surrendered to the process and getting sober. That was far from the truth. At one of my rehabs, I even had the name “4.0 Rehab Student”. I worked the steps and tried to be an example to other clients. I said a lot while really saying nothing about what was really going on inside. The truth was that nothing was fine. I would get out of treatment and immediately relapse. While everyone was surprised, I was not. I knew I had been faking it and I had everyone intention of getting loaded the day I left treatment. The reason this happens is that addicts are very skilled at manipulating and being dishonest.

At Burning Tree, we understand the nature of the disease, which is why we don’t focus on what they are saying. Their behaviors speak loud enough. Addicts are skilled at saying a lot, without really saying anything. An example of this would be someone telling us they want to be sober, but are breaking rules, not doing treatment work, and not being honest about what is going on inside them.  Their actions are telling us they are not willing to do something different to be sober.  Not only the staff, but other clients at Burning Tree hold their peers accountable for their behaviors daily. At Burning Tree, we hold up a “mirror”. This is how you are showing up and this is what you are saying. From there, we can help the client see what is really going on and begin to rely on a Higher Power rather than their sick mind.