If You’re Looking for Substance Abuse Treatment in Ventura County, Read This

substance abuse treatment venturaIf you love someone who is struggling with a drug addiction or a substance use disorder, chances are you’re in crisis mode. Most likely, something has happened—again—that’s prompted you to seek out addiction counseling for your loved one or family member—again.


You’re scared for your loved one. Probably, you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and lot a little resentful. “Why does this keep happening?” you say to yourself. “He needs to really work his program this time. He didn’t work hard enough last time.”


Meanwhile, you wonder if you’re codependent. At least, that’s what most of what you’ve read says. You struggle with the line between supportive love and destructive caretaking. So much of what you do seems to alienate your loved one. And he’s not getting any better. After all, this has happened before. Will this time be different?


The good news is that yes, this time can be different.


The Vicious Cycle of Substance Abuse Treatment

I used to work at an inpatient, residential substance abuse treatment facility near Pasadena, California. Most of our patients, in fact the overwhelming majority, had been in treatment facilities just like ours two, three, four, or more times before.


One client graduated from our program and then came back after he used again in the six months that I worked there. This client and so many others like him cycle in and out of these treatment facilities and, as recent press has shown, are often used and defrauded by shady addiction centers.


That’s a tragic subject I’ll save for another time, but for now I just want to highlight how this cycle typically happens.


First, some kind of crisis happens in which the person struggling with the addiction has endangered themselves or others. Maybe it’s an overdose and a trip to the ER. Or an injury sustained while using or drinking. Or threats of self-harm or suicide. You name it. Maybe some events in your life with your loved one are coming to mind.


Maybe an addiction counselor has told you before that you need to show “tough love” or a “loving detachment” approach.

Second, that person’s family and partner become scared, anxious, and overwhelmed. He’s out of control and they’re not sure what to do. Maybe an addiction counselor has told them before that they need to show “tough love” or a “loving detachment” approach. By this, well-meaning counselors are usually encouraging the family to get him into another treatment center immediately, and to detach or distance themselves from the struggling person.


Third, the out-of-control individual, usually feeling ashamed and regretful, “agrees” to more treatment. What else can he do? The crisis has taken from him the power he had to make his own choices. His family is understandably pressing him to change. To paraphrase the 12-step programs, his best thinking got him in this situation.


Fourth, the treatment doesn’t work. Now, for some, it does, certainly. But drug and alcohol problems are complicated and not solved in 30, 60, or 90 days. That the person struggling with his using or drinking didn’t have much say in his treatment means that he’s more likely to resist that treatment.


This is especially true because the “tough love” approaches that so many treatment centers take can be confrontational and shaming, which can make it more likely that the individual will continue drinking after treatment: The social environments of treatment centers can replicate relational patterns that contributed to the development of the addiction in the first place.


The continued cycles of treatment, relapse, and more treatment continually ups the ante. The family feels more abused, hurt, resentful, and anxious. The person struggling with the addiction feels more ashamed, alienated, and alone.

Finally, the person struggling with their using or drinking returns to their addictive behavior, and the relapse galvanizes the family to show increasingly “tougher” love. The continued cycles of treatment, relapse, and more treatment continually ups the ante.


The family feels more abused, hurt, resentful, and anxious. The person struggling with the addiction feels more ashamed, alienated, and alone.


An Alternative Path in Supporting Your Loved One

What if a different path were possible?


What if instead of feeling as though you had to do everything to care for your partner or family member, you could feel like you were mutual partners in their healing?


What if you could find a way to provide support that aligned with your values of commitment and love that made you feel hopeful and connected to him instead of resentful and exhausted?


Breaking this vicious cycle through understanding, patience, and continued support creates new possibilities for healing for everyone affected by your loved one’s addictive behavior. 


By talking with a trained harm reduction therapist, you can discover individualized solutions that feel empowered, not exhausting. That foster hope instead of resentment and anger. Usually, these solutions involves:

  • education
  • negotiating more flexible support roles
  • rethinking how change happens with substance use disorders
  • finding ways to be supportively together in substance abuse treatment rather than alienating the struggling individual
  • cultivating new behaviors and ways of coping with problems and difficult feelings
  • co-creating a customized, tailored treatment plan that you can feel hopeful about


To learn more, contact me today. Let’s start a conversation about how to break the vicious cycle in your life. Together, we can help you discover new possibilities for healing and recovery.


Live near Ventura, Camarillo, or Oxnard, CA?

I’d love to connect.

Contact me today to get started.


Jeremy Mast

Jeremy is a licensed marriage and family therapist (CA LMFT90961) in private practice in Ventura, California. He helps those struggling with drugs, alcohol, and out-of-control sexual behaviors awaken to new possibilities for their lives. He lives with his wife, son, and cat in beautiful southern California.

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