Treating the Roots
Some young adults at VCS have a history with drugs and alcohol, and have used them to disconnect from their problems. The true problem, however, is that substance abuse creates additional obstacles. Ongoing drug use for young adults often involves giving up things that are most important to them - things like family relationships, healthy friends, and education. Abusing drugs may help someone feel better temporarily, but the consequences start them on a downward spiral that can be hard to stop. Many young people start off wanting to fit in with their peers and eventually use drugs on a regular basis to cope with life's mounting difficulties. The truth is drugs are rarely the root problem. Substance abuse counseling at VCS involves working through the core emotional obstacles that have been poorly addressed through drug use.
Recovery involves more than abstinence. By focusing on key concepts surrounding drug use such as distress tolerance, problem solving, and rational emotions, VCS puts students in a position to make logical and reasonable decisions regarding the risks of drug use and its harm to their independence. Integrating the drug and alcohol counselor into weekly individual meetings as well as family therapy sessions helps students feel empowered to openly discuss and confront the realities of recovery.
VCS employs a fully-licensed drug and alcohol counselor. This is an individual who is specifically trained to target root problems and help students plan and maintain their recovery. During the beginning steps of the program, this counselor - in tandem with the primary therapist and VCS’s full-time psychiatrist - will help determine the level of substance abuse that is to be addressed. From there it’s a hands-on process in continuing recovery.
VCS relies on a variety of community-based substance abuse programs such as the 12-step recovery model, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. Whether it’s understanding relapse cycles, managing denial and resistance, or incorporating spirituality into recovery, VCS will tailor assignments and substance abuse counseling to each client. In line with the VCS philosophy of providing high support without confinement, these particular services are available in the community and students are encouraged with tremendous support from VCS to participate in them. Salt Lake City has a strong recovery atmosphere in its community, enabling students to seek out those groups and meetings that they most prefer.