By Staff Writer
In an article titled “Facing Addictions” in Tucson Lifestyle magazine, writer Wendy Sweet interviewed experts specializing in all types of addictions (drugs and alcohol, sex, smoking, gambling, and food/eating disorders) to learn about the disease and the spectrum of addiction treatment options available.
Two of the experts interviewed are professionals at Sierra Tucson. Sierra Tucson treats drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, and sexual addiction as well as a broad range of co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety and panic disorders, trauma, bipolar disorder, and chronic pain.
Pulled From the Depths of Alcoholism
Steve L., a 62-year-old former alcoholic who was interviewed for the Tucson Lifestyle article, turned his life around after receiving alcoholism treatment at Sierra Tucson. Because of his lifelong struggle with the disease he lost a successful career, lied to the people he loved most, and left his wife.
His experience at Sierra Tucson “was not a vacation, but a life-changing task,” Steve told Sweet. “I learned discipline from the vigorous schedule and to this day I still schedule free time as well as times for meditation and activities.”
“My life today is beyond my wildest imagination,” Steve added. “My wife and I are back together and have a loving, caring relationship. We are involved at church, AA and have an active social life with friends. This is a complete 180-degree change from my isolation while in the depths of my alcoholism. It is a pleasure to be alive and a worthy, caring, member of society.”
Treating Dual Diagnosis
One of the reasons Sierra Tucson has proven so helpful to addicts and alcoholics like Steve is the staff’s focus on coexisting disorders and underlying issues.
“Addictions are all ways to medicate underlying trauma,” Nancy Jarrell, interim clinical director at Sierra Tucson, told Sweet. “There are genetic components to addiction — especially chemical addictions — but addiction is not always hereditary.”
Sweet also emphasized Sierra Tucson’s use of the 12-Step program to teach clients how to live a sober, healthy lifestyle and adjunct therapies like Equine-Assisted Therapy and a Family Program. Using a wide range of treatment modalities and alternative therapies, the professionals at Sierra Tucson teach patients to identify and manage the triggers of use and cravings, new ways to cope and communicate, and ways to have sober fun.
Understanding the Disease of Addiction
The addiction experts at Sierra Tucson have a thorough understanding of the disease of addiction, knowing that it is a progressive, chronic disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit. Although some people mistakenly believe that addiction is caused by a moral weakness or lack of willpower, Christi Cessna, the marketing director at Sierra Tucson, explained, “These are powerful, educated people who are treated here. It’s not a willpower issue.”
Another common misconception is that relapse is a sign of failure. The truth is that an addict who relapses but finds their way back to sobriety using the skills they learned in drug rehab has made significant progress. As Cessna explains in the Tucson Lifestyle article, “We plant the seed and teach the tools for recovery. If they relapse — and then draw on the tools they have been taught — that is success.”
Sierra Tucson’s renowned gambling addiction program also received acclaim in Tucson Lifestylemagazine.
Bob T., a gambling addict who spent 30 days in treatment at Sierra Tucson, had gambled for over 10 years without realizing the extent of his problem. Over time, he lost his high-paying job, an estimated $500,000, and the trust of his wife. After meetings at Gamblers Anonymous and counseling sessions failed to adequately address his addiction, professional counselors recommended that Bob check in to Sierra Tucson.
“I thought it was more of a spa — a place to relax in the sun,” he told Sweet. “I really didn’t understand it was a treatment facility for addictions.”
Bob found alternative therapies like guided imagery sessions at Sierra Tucson particularly helpful. “After the [guided imagery] session, I felt more grounded, and I reconnected with my higher power,” he explained in the article. “The next day I saw the 12 steps written on the wall, and I read all of them, and they immediately made sense to me. It was so powerful; I get goose bumps just thinking about it!”
“The 30 days I spent at Sierra Tucson changed my life,” he continued. “I became a member of Gambler’s Anonymous and went faithfully one to two times a week. I also started seeing a therapist. This therapist is still my life coach, and she still keeps me on track. My life today is 100,000 times better by not being in my addiction.”
These are just a few of the success stories from people who have completed addiction treatment at Sierra Tucson.