At White Wolf Inspired Living, our approach is founded on harm reduction, which includes minimizing the risk associated with one’s behaviour. For example, you might have someone who is consuming alcohol seven days a week. We get the person counselling and help them look at why they might be drinking so much and by doing this assist them to reduce their drinking to just one or two times a week. We consider this a win, unlike many other programs that see total abstinence as the only solution.
Don’t get me wrong. Our ultimate goal is also abstinence but we recognize that will never happen for some people – that the stress of total abstinence can outweigh the value it provides as they work through recovery from a substance use disorder. Instead, we help them do what they can to improve their lives and the lives of their families and loved ones by reducing the behaviours that are causing harm. This creates success and empowers people to change their lives rather than feeling demoralized because they simply can’t abstain completely in the early stages of their recovery.
I don’t believe there are people who are just alcoholics or drug addicts. Substance use of any kind is usually masking pain. While as recovery coaches we aren’t here to diagnose a mental illness or help people work through past trauma, we are here to support any positive change, help people avoid relapse, build community support for their recovery, or work on life goals not related to addiction such as relationships, work, or education.
It’s about focusing on improving a person’s life in the here and now as well as their ability to reach their future goals.