August 17, 2018

Cliffside Malibu Approach vs AA Approach

What is the Cliffside Malibu approach?

Cliffside Malibu has a evidence-based, well thought out three-fold approach to addiction treatment that creates the foundation for lasting recovery that is different from AA. When all three are used together, the outcomes are more effective than any individual part on its own.

Those three approaches are:

  1. Intensive one-on-one psychotherapy using the Stages of Change model.
  2. Complement intensive therapy with carefully chosen, evidence-based holistic treatments.
  3. We employ the first two tools together to create changes in the brain consistent with the ways neuroscience research suggests addiction can be overcome.

The focus of our treatment is to go back in time – not just “stick a bandaid on the symptom”, so-to-speak. We dig deep to past traumas and pains which act as the root cause of addiction and has triggered the addictive behavior. Working through this trauma and pain, while also learning new healthy habits, can help moving forward in being able to handle new problems that naturally arise through life without feeling the need to use. Typically, relationships are also damaged in the throes of addiction and we also work to repair these. Repairing fractured relationships from the past also helps set up a healthy foundation for building new relationships in the future.

What is the AA approach?

AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous and is also known as the 12 Steps to Recovery Program. It was created as a means to establish guidelines for the best way to overcome alcohol addiction. Through its rise in popularity, it has been adopted by other sorts of addiction support groups (such as gambling, shopping and sex addictions to name a few) and were then tailored to their own needs. The base of the 12 Steps is spirituality, but is widely used by non religious people as well.

The 12 Steps in and of themselves are a process – it is not likely that you can easily tackle one at a time in order. Some practitioners may spend longer on one so they move to another, or may revisit steps and jump around. There is no right or wrong way to go about it.

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
  8. Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What is the difference?

AA and the 12 Step model tends to be the first go-to treatment for most addicts because of its rich history. It was really the only treatment around for many addicts and alcoholics for a long time, and it wasn’t until the last few years that other, more highly effective models have emerged.

Why then is AA’s 12-step model the “go to” treatment choice for most Americans? The answer is simple – for most of its history, AA really was the only treatment available for addicts and alcoholics. It is only in the last 20ish years or so that other, highly effective treatment models and therapies have been developed.

In Retired Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor Lance Dodes’s book, The Sober Truth, Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry, he estimates that AA’s success rate is between 5 and 8 percent. This means that at the end of one year, at least 9 out of 10 people who tried AA as a treatment for addiction have left and are either not in recovery or used other treatment methods to deal with their addiction problem.

It is important to find the treatment program that is right for you, but just because AA and the 12 Step model has been around the longest does not mean it is the best. Cliffside is proud to use other evidence-based models that have a much higher success rate for long-term sobriety.

More about Cliffside Malibu

Cliffside Malibu engages individuals in a life free of chemical dependency, negative thought patterns and behaviors and facilitates a renewed passion for a thriving life in treatment and beyond. Our approach embodies the Transtheoretical Model rather than the 12 Step model, and it identifies behavior change on a continuum otherwise known as the Stages of Change. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage. After carefully accessing each individual, they are matched with one of the five stages: Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency and/or mental health issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

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