Jeff Finds a SMART Solution

By The Fix staff 01/07/20

Sunshine Coast Health Centre’s Meaning-Centered Therapy helped Jeff find a solution to his addiction.

group therapy session
© Katarzyna Bialasiewicz |

This month we spoke with Jeff, an alumni of the Sunshine Coast Health Centre. He checked in for treatment in January of 2019 and has remained sober since the day he walked in. After entering Sunshine Coast Health Centre he realized that it was the perfect package for him. In his words, “The Meaning-Centered Therapy, Somatic Therapy, the massages they offered and even meditation which helped open my mind, it was perfect!” 

Most addiction treatment centers offer an exclusively 12-step approach to recovery. For decades this has been considered the only way to go. While many suffering from addiction have positively benefited from this approach, others have found themselves in conflict with fundamental aspects of 12-step programs. Sunshine Coast Health Centre changed gears in 2008 by moving to a non 12-step approach to treatment.

Meaning-Centered Therapy 

Sunshine Coast Health Centre now uses a Meaning-Centered Therapy model that is based off of Viktor Frankl's MeaningTheory. One of the benefits to the Meaning-Centered Therapy model is that it empowers clients, allowing them to decide what works best for them. No client is expected to conform to the same approach, and while a purely 12-step approach may work well for one person, Meaning Centered Therapy might work better for another.

In our talk with Jeff he made a statement that seems to echo some of the philosophy of Sunshine Coast Health Centre. He said, “So regarding 12-step programs, I say whatever works for the individual. I don't shun anything. SMART Recovery was a good fit for me.” Under the umbrella of Meaning-Centered Therapy, Jeff was introduced to the SMART Recovery program an alternative to the 12-steps. SMART meetings can be found internationally.

What led Jeff to seek treatment at Sunshine Coast Health Centre? Well, Jeff has had a 30 year career in the military, and comes from rural Manitoba. He had already been a heavy drinker, but after a few years crammed with significant personal tragedies, his drinking began to spiral out of control. Drinking had begun to affect his work life, and he had a moment of clarity in which he realized he was slowly destroying himself. Through the intervention of a few higher ranking officers at his base he was encouraged to seek help to get himself well. He explains, “I went and I talked to the addictions counselor at the base. When we started looking at places to go there was an option to do one here. It was a place just north of Winnipeg here in Manitoba. That was the 12-steps based program, and they were allowed visitation with family on Sundays and stuff which I was honesty not really keen on. For me if I was going to go away and get help I wanted to go for 45-60 days, and just be away from everybody. That includes somebody from the military, from the base up there. So I wanted to get away from Manitoba.”

An Alternative to 12-Step Programs

He continues, “They started asking whether I wanted to go into the 12-step based program or non 12-step based. For me I was kind of indifferent. I honestly didn't give the 12-steps a shot, so I said okay, I'm not averse to it, but there were still other factors with the 12-steps which I had issues with. I didn't believe in giving yourself up, you know, surrendering yourself. The whole day by day or one day at a time thing I can do, because a lot of the time that's what recovery is, but there are just certain aspects of The 12-steps that I don’t like.”

The good news for those who share Jeff’s feelings about the 12 steps is that there are other effective treatment options options available! After successfully finishing up at Sunshine Coast Health Centre, Jeff has transitioned back to living life in Manitoba. He continues to attend SMART groups at home and expounded on what has kept him enthusiastic about going to his weekly meeting, “They've got a great workbook and the discussions and crosstalk can be really enlightening. What I really like are the tools they employ. There are so many of these tools that apply to everyday basic living. When they're looking at addiction they're really looking at the patterns, the psychology and the physical chemistry behind it. It becomes a little more analytical, but it’s not hard to comprehend or absorb. The tools are simple and I’ve found them very handy. The thing I like about it too is that our group is not just alcoholics. We have a gambler in there as well. It all really has to do with behavior.”

Sunshine Coast Health Centre’s Meaning-Centered Therapy helped Jeff find a solution to his addiction. The program they offer recognizes each client as having a unique set of needs and experiences. They understand that what works for one person may not work for another. Jeff left us with a final statement on his experience finding recovery at Sunshine Coast Health Centre. He concisely reflects that, “In every program, whether you like it or not, there's one or two little nuggets in there.” Well said, Jeff! 

If you’re battling addiction, just keep an open mind. It could radically change your life!

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