Encountering Addiction

Encountering Addiction.
Preliminary draft outline, 01.12.2011.
Projected workshop dates Spring/Summer 2012

A very well known and popular entertainer recently wrote about what it was like growing up as the child of an alcoholic father, the famous entertainer declared, “You are not a child in an alcoholic family, you are a prisoner”. Paradoxically the prison analogy applies equally to the person who is addicted, in their case however, the prison bars and cage happen to be constructed from their substance, drug and or behaviour of choice; they are just as trapped as if they were locked up.

The vast majority of people when asked to describe an alcoholic or a drug addict, immediately call to mind the stereotype of the ‘down and out’, homeless, rough sleeper found in almost any city centre. Whilst this stereotype may be accurate for a small proportion of ‘addicts’, it disguises the fact that there is another, far bigger, category of substance miss-user who in recent years have come to be defined as High Functioning Addicts.

This group, many of whom are themselves children of substance abusing, high functioning addicts, tend to be intelligent, capable and often highly successful people, from all walks of life, whose friends and families might well struggle to classify them as addicts or alcoholics. These High Functioning Addicts hold down very responsible jobs, often with large numbers of people depending on them for guidance, direction, leadership and even their personal safety. They have mastered the strategies of High Functioning Addiction to such an extent that they have been able to hold down their highly responsible jobs, in some cases for many years. They appear to colleagues, friends and the public at large to be very successful. They are often highly driven, highly motivated, competitive and would most likely recoil from thinking of themselves as addicted to or dependent upon some substance or activity.

However, there are often significant areas in their lives which are less than satisfying. For example their home and family life may well be in a constant state of chaos and uncertainty, their closest personal relationships may be in jeopardy, close to breaking up, or emotionally empty and deeply unsatisfying. They may be unwilling or unable to accept support. They often harbour a deep sense of failure, of not being good enough and at an even deeper level of not liking themselves and or who they have become. In addition to putting their close personal relationships at risk, they are also risking their health and well being, both physical and psychological, not to mention their careers and their financial security.

Those people who fall into the ‘high functioning’ category will have great difficulty identifying with the stereotype of the addict or alcoholic precisely because they are high functioning. The terms also carry such a weight of social stigma and opprobrium leading to a deep sense of shame, which is in itself enough to prevent many people seeking help or support for their condition.

Encountering Addiction.

The real fix – in the no spin zone!

This is an intensive, five day, residential workshop for High Functioning Addicts, or people who think they are in danger of becoming a High Functioning Addict.

On this workshop you will not be treated like a child or subjected to manipulative, haranguing, blaming or bullying behaviour from the facilitators or other participants. You will be invited to take a deep and honest look at yourself, your life, your relationships, in a supportive but challenging group environment. You will be encouraged to explore your attachment to your substance and or activity of choice and will be helped to devise personal strategies to support yourself as you seek to escape from your personal prison and re-claim your life and your full potential.

Encountering Addiction is a new workshop created by Pat Young who is a Master Practitioner of FIRO Theory. He has over twenty years experience in group facilitation, coaching and consultancy, he has worked extensively in the addiction field. See his full bio here:  Read >>

The workshop is residential. Participants should come prepared to work hard in an exciting but challenging environment. The workshop is primarily based on FIRO Theory developed by Dr. Will Schutz and will utilise associated and complimentary approaches including Mindfulness, Family Constellation Work, Gestalt, Psychodrama and of course Open Encounter. Guest facilitators will provide Mindfulness meditation and NLP input, both of which have proved to be very successful in working with addictions. The workshop will be based on the well established ‘intentional community’ model and all participants will share in house keeping jobs, activities and food preparation duties.
No alcohol or recreational drugs will be tolerated for the duration of the workshop, anyone who fails to comply with this condition will be asked to leave immediately.

Participants must agree to ‘stay clean’ for the duration of the workshop, no exceptions will be tolerated. If your current situation or condition does not support this, regrettably the workshop is not suitable for you at the present time.
Each intending participant will be interviewed by the programme principal, prior to being offered a place on Encountering Addictions. The cost of this consultation will be deducted from the programme fee of successful applicants.

To discus your involvement in this life reclaiming programme contact me using the form on this page.