healthy |ˈhelθē|adjective ( healthier , healthiest )in good health: : feeling fit and healthy.• (of a part of the body) not diseased : healthy cells.• indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health : a healthy appetite | a healthy balanced diet.• (of a person's attitude) sensible and well balanced : a healthy contempt for authority.• figurative in a good condition• desirable; beneficial• A conscious choice; A life-long commitment.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Betty Ford Center

It has been just under 3 weeks since my week spent at the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, California.

I have taken this time to reflect on my experience and try to absorb what I learned and how I will go forward with this information.

Many of you know that working with those who have addictions is my passion. I find these people and this disease to be fascinating and over-looked. When I was offered the opportunity to apply to go to the "Hub" of treatment facilities, how could I not?

Well, when I found out I was selected to attend I was over the moon excited. Flights, Hotel, Educational Tuition, Transportation to and from the Hotel. All. Included. How fantastic is that?

Here is a bit of info on the BFC:
Betty Ford Center offers a wide variety of help for those seeking an alcohol treatment program and/or drug treatment program. All our programs are based on the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and because women and men have separate and distinct needs when it comes to treatment, Betty Ford Center programs are gender-specific.

Each patient is assigned a treatment team consisting of a physician, nurse, psychologist, primary counselor, case manager, spiritual care counselor, family counselor, dietician, fitness trainer, chemical dependency technician and alumni services representative. This team is responsible for working with each patient to establish an individualized plan of care and recommendations for discharge.

Each treatment day consists of a full schedule of activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, individual therapy, specialty groups, fitness, educational lectures and group therapy, which is the core of treatment at the Betty Ford Center.

The BFC offers numerous programs including in-patient treatment, residential day treatment, young adult focus, pain focus, intensive outpatient, the family program (for family members (13 and older) of addicted individuals), and the children's program (for kids 7-12 with a family member who has an addiction).

It is worth noting that the BFC caters to a very SPECIFIC group of individuals as the cost of treatment is quite high (32 grand for 30 days in-patient treatment). That being said, they are almost always close to full, which reinforces the fact that people with addiction are not just the homeless and lower socioeconomic individuals. Addiction can happen to anyone and truly doesn't discriminate.

I did struggle with the whole "12 step" thing because I am not religious, but they are really trying to emphasize the spirituality aspect of it which I can appreciate. I also struggled with the "Addiction is a Disease, therefore you had no control over it" thing.

Yes, addiction does change the chemistry of the brain, leading to cravings, a change in homeostasis, ext... but I firmly believe that addiction is a coping mechanism for individuals who are running from some un-dealt with trauma. I felt like the BFC did an excellent job at teaching coping skills, but failed to identify that addiction itself was a coping skill and how to avoid replacing an addiction to one substance with an addiction to another substance or behavior.

I loved the extra programs such as the Pain Management track as opioids are so addicting and over prescribed. The Pain Management track takes the individual off of all narcotics and re-teaches their brain to focus on putting the pain "on the back burner." A world renowned pain specialist runs the program and they only accept a limited number of participants at a time because Dr. Peter works with each of them every day one on one. He teaches alternative therapies such as QiGong, Acupuncture and Acupressure.

This experience really reinforced my love of working with those who have addictions. I know it is an area in my career I would love to further explore and develop.

I think that people who are ready to change, and wiling to put in the hard work to deal with their past and learn new ways to make decisions can and do benefit from treatment, and the BFC is an excellent place to do it.