I got a new comment on my Hitting Rock Bottom page here at Recovery Helpdesk today.

“This is what I have been fighting my family about with my son,” the reader wrote.  ” I do not believe the homelessness or incarceration will be the reality slap necessary.”

Part of what I question is the idea that a reality slap is necessary at all.

Of course, by the time family and friends are considering a reality slap, the status quo is clearly not working.  But is a reality slap the answer?

In many cases, the issue is not that an addicted person doesn’t recognize that they have a serious problem.  But rather that the addicted person feels stuck in figuring out how to solve the problem.

This may be because the addicted person has not been able to identify a realistic path to recovery that they believe can work.  It may be because there are real barriers to moving forward such as lack of child care or long waiting lists for treatment.  Or, it just might be because the addicted person has tried and tried to get sober and just doesn’t have the strength to try again just yet.

Even in those relatively rare cases where the issue really is a lack of awareness that there is a problem, there are better ways to raise awareness and build motivation than a so-called reality slap.

There are literally millions of addicted people cycling through the revolving doors of homeless shelters and jails.  Apparently the reality slap hasn’t done the trick for them.

In fact, here is the real reality slap.  Homelessness and incarceration delay and complicate recovery.

So why don’t more people spend time thinking about identifying the prerequisites for recovery success, and about the need to identify and remove barriers to recovery success?  It is a fruitful question to consider as applied to your own situation.

We need to be figuring out ways to help set addicted people up for success, not figuring out ways to set them up for disaster.

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