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Addiction treatment

Find effective treatment for addiction at Recovery Arts Counselling in Calgary, AB or wherever you find yourself.

Don’t let substances or addictive behaviors dictate your life. Seek support to reclaim your present and future with recovery tools.


Gambling excessively to the extent that it negatively affects one's financial situation as well as their romantic relationship.


Drinking alcohol alone after socializing with others during a night out.


Frequenting massage parlours in secret without your wife knowing to find escape at the expense of yourself emotionally, maritally, and your values.


Overworking without boundaries for self-care and connecting with loved ones.


Overeating as a coping mechanism to deal with feelings of loneliness.


Smoking marijuana despite your partner telling you he’d like to see you cut down due to medical, financial, and relational reasons.


Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation to the examples above? If the answer is yes, don't hesitate to seek help. Remember, asking for assistance can make all the difference.

A Brief Overview of Factors Involved with Addiction


Substance use concerns are widespread today across age groups, cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and genders. Addiction shows no partiality when it comes to a person’s socioeconomic status; wealthy or poor, it doesn’t matter. Peer relationships can contribute to substance use concerns, especially for those who started using substances as a pre-teen or a young adolescent. 


People who have experienced trauma may be more likely to develop addiction, but it’s important to remember that addiction affects everyone differently, and there is not one definitive cause. Media influences are a strong factor in substance use or process behaviours, such as alcohol and gambling. 


A genetic predisposition can be part of a person’s susceptibility to addiction. Some research estimates that genetic factors account for about half of someone’s vulnerability to addiction. A large piece of this is that the environmental conditions will interact with biological factors to influence whatever genetic factors are present.  


A family history of substance use problems is another factor. The family can even be an issue for someone who makes changes to their relationship with, say, alcohol, post-inpatient or outpatient treatment. The family members may still want to drink. When someone changes their behaviours around drinking, the family system is impacted, and resistance to the change may develop. Acceptance is the desired outcome.   


It is important to understand that a variety of mental and emotional factors can contribute to substance abuse, problematic behaviours, and unhealthy relationships. It must be understood that the following does not mean someone will experience addiction. However, the likelihood does increase if one experiences perfectionism, self-esteem concerns, personality style, resentment towards people or groups, a strong need for acceptance, and difficulties with withstanding immediate gratification by way of substances, process behaviours, or toxic relationships.


The ASAM Criteria for Addiction


The criteria for addiction from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) brings into focus five key components (1). Canada has its equivalent to ASAM titled CSAM (The Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine - weblink below - 3). ASAM states that addiction is a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry (2).”


ASAM characterizes addiction with the ABCDE model.


  1. Inability to consistently abstain.

  2. Impairment in behavioral control. 

  3. Craving, or “increased hunger for drugs or rewarding experiences.”

  4. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and

  5. A dysfunctional emotional response.


What treatments can work for addiction?


A few of the interventions for addiction are as follows. Some may be incorporated together to maximize treatment outcomes.


  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy

  3. Motivational interviewing

  4. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

  5. ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy).

  6. Neurofeedback 

  7. Medication supplements (e.g., naltrexone) 

  8. Mindfulness-based interventions (Mindfulness-based stress reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) - (4).

  9. A comprehensive treatment plan includes one or more of the therapies above as well as addressing physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs, including medical treatment, individual therapy, community and virtual support with support groups, and exploration of meaning, purpose, and values. 

  10. Expressive arts. Music, visual arts, written word, etc. (5).

  11. Eco-therapy. 

  12. Many more!

It’s important to note that the symptoms of addiction are what we see on the surface, such as alcohol, opiates, cigarettes, gambling, food, overshopping, and so forth. Behaviors in and of themselves do not constitute addiction; they are only a part. We want to be able to delve underneath the symptoms and look at what is driving the need for escape, reward, or relief.


What benefits does a person who has healed from addiction gain from the recovery process?


  1. A sense of freedom.

  2. A sense of peace.

  3. An increase in meaningful connections with family, friends, and those in the community.

  4. A more robust relationship with the self where I know myself more deeply.

  5. A better quality of life with a healthier medical status.

  6. Better focus and productivity in the workplace.

  7. Life skills that go beyond addiction recovery.

  8. Increased resiliency.

  9. Increased self-esteem.

  10. Increased confidence in abilities. 

  11. Ability to find pleasure in activities once discounted or overlooked. 

  12. Regaining of spirituality. 

  13. A more fulfilling life without the chaos caused by addiction. 




Seek out help with a focus on you. Please contact me via phone or email, or book a consultation online to see if I’d be a good fit to help you on your recovery journey.  





1. ASAM Public Policy Statement - Definition of Addiction




3. The Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine.


4. Garland EL, Howard MO. Mindfulness-based treatment of addiction: current state of the field and envisioning the next wave of research. Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2018 Apr 18;13(1):14. doi: 10.1186/s13722-018-0115-3. PMID: 29669599; PMCID: PMC5907295.



Image by Brian Jones
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