Justin Wolfe '02, Clinical Therapist, in the news
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Posted by: Megan Jamen
By Thomas Mitchinson
Special to the Daily Herald
Helping individuals shipwrecked by drug abuse
There is a battle going on in DuPage County -- a battle against drug abuse. Since the heroin-related deaths of seven young people in 2011, the mobilization of community and private efforts to combat this problem has been significant.
But according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of drug-related deaths in suburban Chicago is increasing. School programs, counseling centers, hospitals and even church groups, have increased their efforts to help individuals caught in the web of drug use.
"We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg," says Justin Wolfe '02, clinical therapist at Linden Oaks in Naperville.
"The deception is that substances, such as alcohol, marijuana and other drugs don't reject us, they accept us, offering instant gratification," Wolfe '02 says, "but really they don't offer anything but isolation -- you may exist, but you certainly are not living."
Wolfe '02 spoke of the changes in lifestyle that need to take place to overcome addictive behavior.
"The addict needs to develop new friends, new skills, new attitudes," he says. "It begins with HOW, which stands for honesty, open-mindedness and willingness."
According to Wolfe '02, as these traits are developed, people can leave behind the stigma of bad behavior.
Shame is often felt by addicts.
"They internalize that they are bad," Wolfe '02 says, "so it is important to realize that the abuse is the bad. It is the behavior, it is not you."
Separating bad behavior from one's own identity is an important shift in thought that can bring success in overcoming the drug habit.
This need for developing a new identity and people to encourage it, often turns individuals to a wide variety of intervention and support groups, including faith-based programs. For some, connecting with a spiritual identity helps them separate who they are from the addicted behavior.
This was true for former addict Jeff Rice, who says, "I realized I must live from a spiritual basis or die from drug addiction."
As his sense of spirituality grew, Rice said, his dependence on drugs diminished.
"I began to see who I was -- a spiritual identity if you will. As I did that, I was completely transformed, and any flood of memories that would try to come back and tell me I had a history of drug addiction had no power over me anymore," Rice said. "I now help others get clean through the same spiritual practice that helped me as a Christian Science practitioner."
There are ways out of the shipwreck of drug addiction. Many area churches and hospitals offer support groups. Linden Oaks at Edward offers a variety of services at each stage of the addiction and recovery process, including dual diagnosis, detoxification, and detour for adolescents. Visit http://www.edward.org/addictionservices or call (630) 305-5027 for information.
• Thomas (Tim) Mitchinson is a self-syndicated columnist writing on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. He is also the media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.