Non 12 Step Wholistic Alternative
Chances are if you are reading this, you are in pain – be it physical, psychological, emotional, and/or spiritual – and you are searching for help. I’m am here to tell you that you are important, your life matters and your time to start your journey of discovery and recovery is NOW. You deserve it. Don’t wait another day.
I developed and implemented a revolutionary program that helps my clients to move past recovery and be recovered. My Wholistic Addiction Recovery program, honed and refined through work with hundreds of clients, was intentionally created to move beyond the limitations of traditional recovery.
In Wholistic Addiction Recovery:
I utilize the most advanced science in western medicine with alternative modalities to facilitate the client’s innate healing response.
I use have a carefully designed treatment plan, customized to each individual, that incorporates treatments, modalities and programs delivered in a synchronized manner to treat the whole person – body, mind and spirit.
I address the root cause of the addiction or disorder to ensure transformational healing occurs.
All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into account, including environment, relationships, family systems, external stressors and community.
I utilize the most natural methods of healing whenever possible.
In addition to concepts regarding treatment, I educate clients and promote concepts in health and wellness.
I empower clients with practical tools they can take with them and incorporate into their daily life for sustainable recovery.
I exemplify the principles we promote and am committed to my own personal development and growth.
Clients and I are partners in the recovery process.
Many holistic therapists simply add some complementary therapies to 12-step or other traditional recovery programs. In my program, these therapies form many of the essential components of the program.
For the body, clients receive nutritional support inclusive of a protocol of nutritional supplements to support physical healing and repairing the brain. I utilize the latest developments in neuroscience and HeartMath to heal at a cellular level. Clients receive nutritional counselling and all meals are part of an organic program. I promote regular exercise and recreational activities as an integral part of recovery.
For the mind, Heartmath therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and recovery coaching. Clients receive training and engage in daily practice in mindfulness and other forms of meditation. Clients may be given the opportunity to participate in an educational component where they learn about the science of addiction recovery, so that they can better understand the “why” of the program and the tools that they receive.
My program also works on both your spirit, the personal energetic body, and your soul, the essential part of you that is inextricably connected to the universe as a whole. I utilize spiritual counselling, energy medicine and breathwork, to heal the levels of soul and spirit.
My program takes place in Monaco; however, it is not limited to Monaco and I can counsel you over the phone or Skype. Unlike many in-patient programs that take place in clinical, hospital-like settings my program is set very informally and in a relaxed environment.
Why Choose A Non 12 Step Program?
My experience and research show that recovery is not a one size fits all process. While 12 step programs work for some, they do not work for everyone. Some people go as far as they can in 12 step and want to take their recovery to a deeper level. They hit a wall or want to take their life to a higher level.
The 12 steps are based on the belief that a person cannot recover from an addiction, co-dependency or other co-occurring disorders. I believe people can. The 12 steps are based on powerlessness over a person, place or thing. Powerlessness creates fear of taking the first drink/drug. Fear might be a motivator in early recovery but often proves to be ineffective in the long term. Fear and powerlessness are limiting and constricted mental states and neuroscience supports that prolonged fear and stress hinder recovery and limit human potential.
12 Step programs have become synonymous with the disease model. The disease model keeps you stuck in the past, reliving old patterns, being a victim and living in hypervigilance.
12 Step programs are free and available to the public.
12 Step programs do not address the neuroscience or mind/body connection. It is not wholistic.
12 Step programs do not focus on the underlying issues or resolving trauma.
The majority of the addiction treatment industry is based on symptom management and does not resolve core issues.
Important Distinction: Non 12 step addiction recovery does not mean anti 12 step. I endorse whatever support system will help a person to recover and stay recovered. Support groups provide community and fellowship. My methodology is strongly rooted in the belief that everyone needs the support community, particularly people who are suffering from addiction, co-dependency, anxiety, depression and PTSD. I help my clients find the ongoing support that will best suit their needs, so they use it. I include 12 step as a possibility for this ongoing support but also suggest many others depending on the specific needs of each person.
Components of the Program:
• Detox, Nutritional counselling and supplement protocol
• Energy Medicine Therapies
• Therapeutic Body work
• Spiritual Counselling
• Information on the Science of Addiction Recovery
• Yoga & Exercise
• Life Skills and Recovery Coaching
The bottom line is that addiction recovery does not work if not wholistic. Your chances of recovering from addiction, co-dependency, anxiety, depression and trauma are dramatically increased when treated with a comprehensive and integrated wholistic treatment program.
The Science Behind the Program
I define “recovery” differently than how it is defined in traditional addiction treatment centres, 12-step programs, or the allopathic medical paradigm. In the traditional paradigm, recovery describes the process of combating a disorder. The word implies an ongoing diseased oriented process. You are always trying to get something back and you never succeed. In recovery you continue to be the victim of genetic predisposition, brain disease or some other diagnosis. In the new paradigm, I believe recovery is the process of regaining something that has been lost, given away or has been taken from you. I believe that addictions and disorders are symptoms of underlying issues.
My Wholistic addiction Program helps you identify and resolve these issues and move into a state of being recovered. Being recovered means that you manage the difficulties that inevitably come along in life and see them as growth opportunities, which you can do something about, rather than your disease, this implies that you are a victim. Being recovered means that you are no longer defined by or identified with a disease.
The Current Science
The mainstream addiction treatment paradigm is that addiction is an incurable and chronic disease. The American Society of Addiction Medicine, “ASAM”, issued a Public Policy Statement on August 15, 2011, defining addiction, in part, as “a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” In another public policy statement for the treatment of addiction, the ASAM states that addiction is a “chronic disease” and requires a “life-long” management of disease remission maintenance protocols, similar to treating other “chronic relapse illnesses”, such as diabetes and hypertension.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug dependence “NCADD”, a nonprofit public health organization, also defines addiction as a “chronic, progressive, and incurabl”e. NCADD specifically defines “chronic” as “lasts for life” and “incurable” as “so far, science has given us no cure for alcoholism and/or drug addiction”.
Hence, the latest accepted belief in the mainstream addiction treatment community is that
addiction is a chronic and incurable disease, comparable to other such labelled diseases as asthma, diabetes and hypertension, and
that the addiction treatment is a life-long symptom management program that includes some combination of pharmaceutical drugs, behavioural and cognitive therapies.
A Challenging Thought
What if this belief, well-meaning as it may be, is incomplete or even wrong? What if a person can be healed of the disease of addiction? What if addiction treatment can be completely effective and allow a person to not just “function” in the world, but to really tap into vitality, creativity, meaning and purpose in their lives? What would this mean to a person suffering from addiction?
I understand that this can sound like nothing short of a revolutionary statement, as it is the commonly held belief at the moment that addiction is an incurable chronic disease. However, as with many diseases that were once considered incurable and that are now curable, such as polio, chicken pox, smallpox, malaria, measles, tetanus (just to name a few), isn’t it at least possible, that addiction is curable as well?
The New Science
Scientific discoveries in biology and neuroscience have provided new data that show we can change our DNA, create new neural networks and grow new brain neurons throughout our lifetime. This is a huge revolutionary, or more to the point, evolutionary, paradigm shift in our understanding of how our bodies and minds can heal. Rather than viewing our genetic code as a fixed blueprint for our lives, or that the brain is a hardwired, programmed organ unable to adapt and change or grow new brain neurons, the sciences of Epigenetics, Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis have proven otherwise.
Ground-breaking new discoveries in biology called “Epigenetics” have shown that our genes are not locked into a predetermined and unchangeable blueprint at birth. Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book, The Biology of Belief, clearly explains that beliefs and perceptions of ourselves and our environment—including our consciousness — actively influence our genes. Thus, if you change your beliefs, you can release the cellular memory regarding your self-destructive behaviours, thoughts and patterns. If you change your beliefs, you can re-inform your own DNA to heal and shape your own biology and create the life you want. This means the old adage “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” may not necessarily be true.
New discoveries in neuroscience are also challenging and disproving the old paradigm that the brain is a fixed and hardwired organ and that it is limited to a set number of neurons in one’s lifetime. Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D and David Perlmutter, M.D., F.A.C.N., in their book Power Up Your Brain, provide compelling new scientific data about Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis.
Neuroplasticity shows that the brain can rewire itself and create new neural networks, which allows us to overcome traumatic instinctual and emotional responses as well as adapt to brain injuries. Following a specific regimen which can include meditation to alter brainwave activity, supplements that feed the brain as well as with specific, focused and willed mental activity, a person can alter their brain hardware.
In relation to addiction recovery Neurogenesis means that the human brain has the ability to create new neurons throughout a person’s life and allows for the possibility of healing neurodegenerative disorders preciously considered incurable such as Alzheimer’s. A brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protective brain hormone, is important in the creation of the new neurons, as well as protecting existing neurons. External stress caused by drug abuse and environmental toxins as well as internal stress has been scientifically proven to be a cause of brain degeneration. Science has proven it is possible to increase the levels of (BDNF) through non-pharmaceutical, holistic interventions. This means that the brain, like other organs in the body, can regenerate itself.
Addiction Treatment and the Possibility of Healing
If we were to look at the data used by the ASAM and NCADD, we may conclude that addiction is chronic, progressive and incurable. If, however we were to look at data being generated in the fields of Epigenetics, Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis, we may agree that, like other brain diseases, addiction can be healed. Based on the new scientific data, we cannot debate the fact that it might be possible to heal from addiction. This new paradigm for addiction treatment opens the doorway to new possibilities for a person with the disease of addiction. If you suffered from addiction or have a loved-one who does, wouldn’t you want to explore the possibility that you or them can get better and ultimately be free from the disease? Wouldn’t you want to explore life as unlimited and open to possibility rather than defined ultimately by a diagnosis or disease?
My Family component is an integral part of the program because families are systems and any issue affecting one person effects the entire system. This means that family members and loved ones of people stuck in ongoing compulsive behaviours, anxiety, PTSD and depression, often become trapped in unhealthy patterns themselves. The progressive deterioration of the functioning of a family member often runs parallel to the downward- spiralling of the person with the addiction.
My program is designed to assist families and loved ones in breaking free from these dependencies, promote their own healing and the restoration of a healthy family system. My program provides family members with the opportunity to be involved in a similar experience as their loved ones, integrating the wholistic approach that is my hallmark.
Unlike other family programs that are informational in nature, my family program is experiential. In addition to developing healthy communication, boundaries and future family plans, the program facilitates family members in exploring their own blocks to recovery, gain increased self-awareness and reclaim their individual right to a healthy, balanced life. I customize the program to include individual and family sessions focused on the family member.