Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Harm-less

I think I've mentioned my sister-in-law. She's a professional therapist - which often comes in handy over a few glasses of wine at family barbecues. ;)

After years of threatening to, I finally sent her the address for Ms. Functional to see what she thought. She knew I'd been cleansing for years - and why - but until recently, I'd been sort of shy to share the details with her.

Turns out this whole type of plan has an official name. It's a Harm Reduction Technique.

Harm Reduction Therapy is a relatively new field when it comes to dealing with substance abuse. Like the name implies, it aims to reduce the harmful aspects of a particular drug - in this case, alcohol - without necessarily removing alcohol from the individual's life completely (though that can be the outcome if the patient chooses).

I've come across the term  harm reduction in my research before, but I've never associated my plan with it. I've tended to refer to cleansing in less professional terms. Like miracle. Godsend. Lucky break? Though at its heart, it does reduce harm. At least it has in my life.

Reduce harm?

No kidding! It actually occurred to me the other day - just out of nowhere - on a sunny walk home from Whole Foods that ... "I would be dead if I hadn't started cleansing ten years ago."

Seriously. The birds were singing. The flowers were blooming. The sun was shining. I'm just enjoying a nice walk and then this morbid thought pops into my head ... I'd be dead if I hadn't started cleansing ... 

So yes, I do think cleansing has reduced harm in my life - in a big way.

But it's not an official Harm Reduction Technique - not one that would necessarily be recognized by professionals. Although HRT is a viable option for many people suffering from substance abuse, to be properly administered, it should be done with the help of a professional addiction counselor or other trained health care provider.

The Harm Reduction Therapy Center  in San Francisco actually specializes in these techniques, guiding individuals toward their own goals when it comes to drugs and alcohol: whether that's abstaining completely or merely cutting down.

If you feel your own addiction problem is beyond the scope of your control right now - in other words, you can't conceive of quitting drinking even on a temporary basis and feel you might need more serious help - you might be interested in HRT. Talk to your doctor about it. He or she should be able to guide you to the appropriate professional.

Man. That was some serious talk. Somebody send me a joke! ;)