There is often so much shame around substance abuse relapse. We have framed it as a failure, but what if we looked at it as an experience that those who have slipped back into addiction can use when beginning their journey of sobriety again? This is just one of the valuable lessons that today’s guest, Robert Hilliker, LCSW-S, LCDC, shares with us. Robert has 17 years of experience in the field of addiction and mental health. His work spans private practice, clinical supervision, and the creation and management of clinical programming. Additionally, he also co-founded The Lovett Center in 2014 and Ethos Wellness in 2018. In this episode, Robert shares how his personal and familial struggles with addiction led him to this line of work. We talk about why it is important to think about addiction through a disease model lens rather than villainizing it. So often, people think about addiction as bad behavior but as something that requires treatment. We also touch on the need to reframe addiction and why it is necessary to remove the shame around it. Our conversation also delves into how the pandemic has impacted people with substance abuse problems, how families and friends of those who have relapsed can deal with it, and we end with a story of hope from Robert.
Key Points From This Episode:
“Our primary way of thinking about it [substance abuse] is that people need more than anything is a meaningful sense of connection and community and that will be a stabilizing force in their lives.” — Robert Hilliker [0:07:25]
“We still treat addiction like it’s bad behavior, like it’s not a brain disorder. And we don’t rehabilitate it as much as we continue to ensure that people are stuck in the environment where it will recur.” — Robert Hilliker [0:20:50]
“The less shame we have around the experience of relapse, the more we promote that people feel willing and are able to be honest and expressive.” — Robert Hilliker [0:25:32]
“If you love someone deeply, it is far more empowering to feel angry with them because that pushes out the fear.” — Robert Hilliker [0:45:13]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Robert Hilliker Email — [email protected]
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