My name is Taine Newport; I am an addiction counsellor at Sharp Treatment Centre. I am currently studying my BSW (Bachelors in Social Work). I have worked in the field of addiction for 3 years now.
In my experience, addiction is a coping mechanism and a survival skill. Many people in addiction use drugs to cope or fulfil a need initially but the addiction takes over and the substance or behaviour begins to have the opposite effect. Although the addiction essentially destroys one’s life, the initial purpose is to cope with life.
I find that addiction has three causes; genetics, environmental and trauma. Due to one’s environment, they learn to use an external substance or behaviour to cope with the trauma they have experienced and then genetics takes over and one lands up being addicted. The process of addiction then takes over where one progresses in their addiction, and their lives go from survival, to bad, to worse, to “rock bottom”.
Through working alongside Lise Jerome-Holtzkamph, my opinion is that she understands this concept and therefore knows how to communicate this to the addict in a very loving way. Lise also has the beautiful ability to help addicts see that they are not bad people, they have a problem which can be helped and managed and a new way of life is possible.