By: Dr. Maureen Esposito, Ph.D., CAP, LMHC, LMFT

Twenty three years seems like a long time to be in one career field now- a -days, but for me it seems like just a moment in time. When you like your job it does not seem like work at all. As a licensed professional I have been privileged to work with many talented and educated therapists, as well as medical doctors and nurses. The substance abuse field is filled with dedicated people whose goal is to help those suffering with addiction so that they can lead happy, productive and substance free lives.

Recovery is a lifelong process that takes patience and fortitude. In my experience many people need recovery, but each client really needs to want it in order to recover. It is always inspiring when we see clients struggle to understand the addiction and recovery processes and finally surrender to it and become truly sober.  These are good people caught in the grips of the disease. Once they realize that shame and guilt are preventing them from becoming who they were meant to be, then they are able to embrace the serenity and peace that sobriety brings.

Working with the families of clients has been very rewarding. Parents often innocently enable their sons or daughters to continue drug use out of concern and love, but I remind them, “Do not love your child to death.” Spouses also may not know how to set boundaries with their loved ones and inadvertently encourage the drug use.  Educating the families has been an exciting experience in that we are really treating the whole family system. It takes a village in order for clients to be successful in their pursuit of sobriety.

There has been a lot of negative press regarding treatment centers over the last two years especially in South Florida.  Newspaper articles, day time talk shows and the nightly newscasts all paint a grim picture of what treatment for addiction is like. Some of the bad press is unfortunately true, but in my experience, addiction treatment is a life saver for many. I have only worked for reputable organizations and have seen miracles happen every day. People come in hopeless and filled with fear and dread. They leave us after a few weeks with a renewed zest for life and sobriety. I see families happy and grateful that their loved ones return to them with a commitment to sobriety and a detailed after plan that is the road map to continued success.

My commitment to working in the field of addiction has never wavered. After losing my own brother to addiction and suicide 30 years ago, I am still interested in helping those who fight for their lives every day. Knowing what the loss of a loved one does to a family, I am still excited to offer clients a new way of life that can be more fulfilling than any drug on the planet.

The addiction treatment field is vital to the survival the current generation today. It is an epidemic that will not go away gracefully. We professionals need to bring more attention to the good facilities that are in the business of saving lives.


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