A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Professional ex-s´

I have found really interesting article in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography from 1991. The author, J. David Brown, is Assistant professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University who had struggled for 13 years with substance abuse problems, then he went to rehab and after then, he started to be a counselor himself. He uses the introspective methods and the qualitative interviews to describe the identity transformation of drug users into professionals – drug counselors. According to him, the identity of “professional ex” is formed even before the professional trainings – he calls this process “preprofessional socialization”. As he points out: “One of the most pervasive characteristics of preprofessional socialization is its ability to transform the stigmatized identities of substance abusers into identities that have adopted a calling to a professional counseling career” (p. 159).

He cites really amazing statistics in his article:

**72% of the people working in more than 10.000 treatment centers in U.S. has experienced substance abuse problems (according a research of Sobell and Sobell, 1988)
there was only 13% recidivism rate within ex-prisoner who were hired to work as a prison-counselors

**Also, he notes that all the ex-users he was interviewing were working in treatment programs that were based on 12-step approach and most of them evaluated the knowledge of disease concept of addiction as significant for being effective substance abuse counselor.

From my point of view, Brown describes quite special group of people who had transformed their “fixed” identity of drug addict (ill) into another “fixed” identity of drug counselor (professional ex). People who I was doing interviews with, have not created so “fixed” identities. Their identities seem to be more flexible, more fluent. But even within them there were two people who started to work as professionals after they stopped using drugs.

One of them, Milos, was a methamphetamine dealer and consumer for three years. Then, one day, he went with his friend to the “meth cook” place and he met his sister in law. She said: “why don´t you come to see your daughter?”
“Where is she?” he replied.
“In our place… Her mother left her here and went to Germany with her new friend.”
It was the turning point for him. He went to his sister in law place and when he met his daughter, she gave him a big hug starting to shoout: “Daddy, daddy!” He started to cry. He deleted all the friends´ phone numbers immediately and was for few weeks only with his daughter. Then, for two years, he worked in different positions doing mainly in constructions field but he all the time he was attracted by the drug issues somehow. So he applied for a job as an outreach worker in drop-in center. He was hired and after several weeks the number of clients increased from 30 to 120.

“…the people started to perceive me as one of them, I did not use any professional language, I used slang words, and they accepted me and started to bring their friends too. The worst feelings were when the people whom I used to hang around with and whom I used to sell drugs appeared there. But at the end, it helped. Like me, they also did not want to talk about the past, however, they were bringing other people bacause they knew me.”

“…so they can see on their own eyes that it is possible to stop. Also, we get lots of help from people who stopped using and they visit us from time to time. The others, who are still using, can see that they have good clothes, they are smoking good cigarettes, telling the stories as they were skiing in the mountains at the weekends and they are just impressed… they say… that guy was totally down and look, where he is now…”
__________
source: http://pavelwiredin.blogspot.com/

More Treatment & Detox Articles

How Christian Alcohol Treatment Centers Restore Faith

Faith-based organizations continue to meet vital social needs within communities across the country. According to the Manhattan Institute, faith-based organizations contribute an estimated $20 billion in private funding to social service agencies on an annual basis. With alcoholism a continuing social problem within the U.S., Christian alcohol treatment centers offer a multi-faceted treatment approach to….

Continue reading

Five policies on mental health and addiction

Addiction and mental health

This week – the countdown toward the federal election – has been Mental Illness Awareness week. The cost of mental illness to the Canadian economy in terms of health care and lost productivity is estimated to be $51 billion a year. Given the absence of mental health and addiction issues from the campaign, it appears….

Continue reading

No more games for drunk Brits

Brink Brits

In 2008, 5,000 teenage girls were treated for binge drinking No more games for drunk Brits. In a desperate attempt to stop Brits from drinking excessively, U.K. officials are banning drinking games and all-you-can-drink deals at pubs and clubs that cater to the nation’s growing binge-drinking culture. The crackdown includes outlawing games such as the….

Continue reading

Alcohol keeps ‘cagey’ grip on moms

Before her hidden addiction came to light, Joan Bonsignore always seemed to hold it together. As a mother and wife, she headed school events and ran her husband’s medical practice. But at the height of her alcohol and pill addiction, the Eastchester mother of four wrote goodbye letters to her children, and at one point,….

Continue reading

Alcohol Linked to Cancer Risk in Women

Study Shows Even Low-to-Moderate Drinking Raises Risk of Cancer Women who drink as little as one alcoholic beverage a day — be it beer, wine, or hard liquor — have a significantly higher cancer risk than women who don’t drink at all, a study shows. Researchers followed more than 1.2 million middle-aged women for an….

Continue reading