Every year, more than 2 million people seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. But that’s just a fraction of the nearly 25 million who need it. Addiction thrives in secrecy, which means that shame often helps fuel it. At Toronto Addiction Centre, we’re on a mission.
It’s not enough to just help addicts get sober. We want to change the way our culture approaches addiction, so that more people will feel comfortable seeking the care they so desperately need—and that they obviously deserve.
Here’s what we believe about addiction. We think that, by helping others understand this philosophy, we bring the world just a bit closer to a kinder, gentler attitude regarding addiction.
Addiction Is Not a Choice.
Addiction is the product of a complex array of chemical processes in the body. We think it’s terrible that addicts are often stigmatized, and even worse that loved ones sometimes blame them for their suffering. You wouldn’t blame someone for having cancer or diabetes—even if they lived an unhealthy lifestyle.
Blaming someone for their addiction makes just about as much sense. We see addicts as victims of the powerful draw of drugs and alcohol. We know that no one willingly chooses the agony of addiction. We know you didn’t choose this. Let us show you how to fight your way out of this never-ending nightmare.
Addiction Is a Disease.
The disease of addiction begins when your body becomes chemically dependent on drugs and alcohol. When this occurs, your body and brain begin functioning differently, destroying your ability to think critically and impeding your relationships, career, and happiness.
We apply the disease model to treating addiction because it works. If you had diabetes, you wouldn’t treat it solely by giving up sugar. The same is true of addiction. Kicking your habit is the beginning of the journey, not the end. A healthy lifestyle, strong relationships, support to remain sober, and treatment of any underlying medical conditions with which you struggle are all vital tools on the road to lasting recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
Addiction Can be Treated, Not Cured.
There’s an uncomfortable truth about addiction that some rehab centers won’t tell you: addiction is not a curable disease. Much like diabetes, osteoarthritis, or depression, once you become addicted, you forever live with the specter of relapse.
Once you’ve become an addict, even if you overcome the addiction you are still at a significant risk of relapsing. And if you indulge in an addictive substance again, you’ll likely reignite the cycle of addiction. For this reason, we work with each of our clients to nurture a base of skills that can help them avoid drugs and alcohol for the rest of their lives.
We help you understand that you can’t use any longer, and we give you the encouragement you need to maintain a lifetime of sobriety.
Recovery Should Support the Way You Live.
Recovery programs that require endless hours of daily effort, that neglect your personal goals and values, or that force you to do things you hate are inevitably destined to fail. We want you to see recovery as a central component of your life—not something you do for a short period, or only when you’re thinking about it.
We help you integrate the principles of recovery into your life. Not only can this help you stay sober; it can also help you live a more joyful, connected, purposeful existence.
Relapse is Sometimes a Part of the Recovery Journey.
Statistics consistently indicate that between 40% and 60% of addicts relapse. This high relapse rate is similar to that associated with other diseases, supporting the contention that addiction is indeed a disease. We do everything we can to equip you to fight against the temptation of relapse. That includes, above and beyond anything else, giving you the skills you need to resist trying drugs and alcohol even one more time. All it takes is one sip, pill, or injection to reignite your addiction all over.
If you do relapse, though, we want you to know that all is not lost. Relapse is so common that some addiction experts argue that it’s a normal part of the recovery journey. You can learn a lot from a relapse, so if you’ve suffered with the pain of a relapse, let us help you learn the lessons it has to offer, then aid you in getting back on track.
Your Family is Important.
The overwhelming majority of addicts report that their addiction has caused family turmoil. From creating tension in your marriage to frightening your children, addiction can leave you with some serious wounds—both your own and those of others—that need healing.
We know that your family has been touched by your addiction. We also know that your loved ones are key players on the road to recovery. We don’t’ shut your family out. Instead, we encourage you to include them in the recovery process. We offer family therapy and family education programs.
Even if you suffer from fractured familial relationships, we’ll encourage you to get these relationships back on track. They are, after all, an important part of who you are—and of who you’re becoming.
Addiction Affects Your Entire Being.
As a Toronto Addiction Centre, we do more than just get you sober. We want to help you reshape your life from the ground up. After all, every addict has a story. Whether it’s chronic stress, mental illness, a sudden trauma, or lack of fulfillment, you turned to drugs and alcohol for a reason. We’ll help you figure out what’s behind this choice, then work to help you nurture a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
Your Values Matter.
Some recovery centers try to get you adopt a specific religious ideology, to embrace New Age spirituality, or to give up some of your most treasured beliefs. We believe that your values are a key part of who you are. Rather than asking you to compromise on these values, we encourage you to deepen your commitment to them. We’ll find a recovery option that works with your values. Atheist? You don’t have to embrace a religious higher power. Vegetarian? Great! We’ll show you tasty healthy options that don’t require you to eat animal products.
You Deserve a Life Worthy of Celebration.
Addiction can destroy the self-esteem of even the most confident person. We get it. But we also know that you deserve a happy life, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. Happiness makes recovery easier, so let us show you a path out of misery and suffering and into freedom and joy.
Recovery Should be a Choice.
No one can force you into recovery, and we won’t let them try. Though we know that addiction is a powerful master that enslaves its victims, we also believe recovery should be a choice. No addict ever achieves sobriety before he or she is willing to, so we won’t pressure you to do something you’re uncomfortable with.
And if we sense that another person has pushed you into recovery, we’ll address that with you and with them. Your recovery is your choice. This is your life. Our job is to work with you where you are—even if you’re not yet ready to begin the work.