Frequently Asked Questions
What is Addiction?
Do people drink or use to self medicate?
Common psychiatric and medical conditions that interfere with sobriety
Is addiction an illness?
What is the emotional impact of alcohol or drug addiction?
What drugs does the Recovery Road Program deal with?
What if I have failed several programs? Does that mean there is no hope
for me? What is different between Recovery Road and other programs?
If you are on Opiate maintenance with Suboxone or methadone are you in
What about the 12 Steps?
How drugs work.
1. What is Addiction?
We believe addiction is a disease of a very primitive
part of the brain which is responsible for survival. This part of the
brain usually operates independently of the person’s intellect.
Addiction occurs when this part of the brain sees the drug as a new
way to survive.
We believe there is a strong
genetic susceptibility to addiction which helps explain why some people
become addicted to alcohol or drugs and others do not.
We do not confuse the person
with his or her addiction. When a person is addicted he or she is desperately
trying to control his or her drug use. They want to use the drug but
not have problems using. When a problem occurs the person feels such
a need for the drug they will blame themselves for not controlling the
drug. This is called denial. Each time a problem occurs the person records
this as a failure of themselves, not the drug.
We believe in many cases there
is a strong interconnection between substance dependence and untreated
mood and anxiety disorders. Unfortunately shame, guilt, and societal
stigma prevent a lot of people from seeking treatment. Addiction leads
to isolation of the self which is a major obstacle in recovery. (Solitary
Confinement is used as a torture in prison camps).
2. Do people drink
or use to self medicate?
For some people the use of alcohol and drugs
starts as a way to feel good that may be socially acceptable as in the
case of alcohol. Using a drug may be something that is part of a social
group, such as smoking marijuana or as part of being “grown up”,
as in the case of nicotine.
Studies of college freshman
indicate that the most common early sign of going on to have an alcohol
problem, is having high tolerance for alcohol. This seems to be genetically
However, some people use alcohol
or drugs to also disconnect from life’s problems and that may
be their pathway. Others may find that alcohol or drugs calm down negative
emotions which are part of another separate mood disorder or to deal
with physically painful conditions. Such painful conditions often also
have significant emotional impact. These conditions need to be dealt
with if the person is to recover from their addiction.
3. Common psychiatric
and medical conditions that interfere with sobriety include.
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorders)
Mood disorders in some cases
also have a strong genetic component that affects how the brain processes
emotional or cognitive information. In other cases the disorder results
from overwhelming life events, grief, loss, or difficulty adapting to
4. Is addiction
Responsibility vs. Control with an illness.
We are used to recognizing that there are medical
problems we can’t control. We are responsible for treating these
problems, but we are not in control of the illness. A person whose heart
goes too slow or too fast must take responsibility to treat a condition
they cannot control. In the brain there are parts of us we can control
and parts we cannot control. We are responsible for being accountable
5. What is the emotional
impact of alcohol or drug addiction?
Addictive drugs produce one feeling, but as the
nervous system adapts to the drug, coming off the drug produces the opposite
feeling. The emotional centers of the brain then become dependent upon
the drug to keep oneself “emotionally” in balance. Psychologically,
one of the major functions of a drug is to chemically say “shut
up” to a part of self. When this is repeated over and over again
it becomes automatic. The part of self that is told to “shut up” is
shamed and not respected which leads to anger and isolation. This compounds
the emotional impact of addiction. In addition, people do and say things
under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or fail to do things which results
in serious losses, shame and guilt. These emotions compound the above
The Recovery Road Program
helps the person to listen to and acknowledge what is inside and to reestablish
respect for self. Through daily treatment the person goes from rejecting
what is inside as a way of dealing with feelings to sharing what is inside
as a way of learning what to do with what is behind the feelings.
We believe each patient should
be treated with respect and have access to and knowledge about different
treatment modalities that suit his or her needs.
6. What drugs does
the Recovery Road Program deal with?
Substances that we deal with:
alcohol, cocaine, prescription drugs, benzodiazepines, methamphetamine,
hallucinogens, marijuana and opiates.
7. What if I have
failed several programs? Does that mean there is no hope for me? What
is different between Recovery Road and other programs?
The Recovery Road Medical Center program provides
psychiatric, chemical dependency, pain and medical evaluations, and the
ability to provide individual and group programs at the same location.
We believe that this coordination of services provides an added benefit
to the patient who is seeking recovery. We also recognize that recovery
is something that is learned experientially over time, similar to learning
a sport, learning to drive or learning to dance. People may start and
make mistakes, but they can pick themselves up and continue the process
of learning that eventually will lead to a sustained recovery.
8. If you are on
Opiate maintenance with Suboxone or methadone are you in recovery?
The question is more about your function and
your relationships than whether you are on a maintenance opiate. With
our current medical technology some people are not able to stay off of
opiates and function and have found that being on maintenance opiates
has allowed them to return to productive lives.
9. What about the
We facilitate patients progressing through the
12 Steps of AA. The goal for most patients is to complete the first five
steps while they are going through the Recovery Road program, because
of the high emotional content of these steps. The step work is expected
to be done through the AA program which runs parallel to the work done
at Recovery Road.
10. How drugs work.
Drugs work because they mimic certain messengers
in the brain that carry survival information. When needs are met such
as food, water, and safety, our brain uses certain chemical messengers
to send important survival messages. The centers where these messages
go have powerful control over behavior and generally operate independently
of the intellect. Normally, these centers are only stimulated when survival
needs are actually met. When addictive drugs are used the drugs can stimulate
these centers. Depending on a person’s genetic make up, the drug
may be able to more or less powerfully stimulate these centers and suppress
the function of the normal system. When the drugs provide powerful stimulation
and suppress the normal function, then addiction can progress, as the
survival brain learns that using the drug is a new way to survive.