POCATELLO – The United States is experiencing the highest rate of addiction in its history, and addiction crosses every socioeconomic line, according to Michael’s House.
In 2010 an estimated 22.6 million Americans older than 12 — almost 9 percent of the population — said they were current or former illicit drug users.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that it is often assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs by simply changing their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or willpower.
In fact, drugs, including alcohol, change the brain in ways that trigger compulsive abuse; quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to stop.
Often addicts are in denial about their addiction.
Faced with the reality of watching their loved one slowly, and sometimes rapidly, kill themselves, many families are opting to force the user to come to terms with the problem in the form of an intervention.
Jack Fleming opened Therapy in Motion in Lava Hot Springs in April, and he said two of the three clients currently receiving substance abuse treatment at his facility got there as the result of a family intervention.
For the intervention to be effective, the family must present a united front, Fleming said.
“The family usually confronts the addict about how his addiction has impacted the entire family and lets them know, in no uncertain terms, that they will no longer support his addiction — that’s assuming that the addict is willing to listen,” Fleming said.
Treatment options should be lined up, and the family should be ready to transport the addict to rehab or detox directly after the intervention. While a third-party mediator can be helpful, it’s not necessary
Fleming said persons addicted to alcohol and benzodiazepines such as valium and Xanax usually require medical detox, and withdrawal without medical assistant can be fatal.
Josh Lockner of Boise had been clean and sober for 34 days when he agreed to this interview. His drugs of choice: alcohol and pills.
“Any kind of pills,” Lockner said. “I didn’t care as long as it got me high.”
Lockner came to Therapy in Motion as the result of a family intervention. It is his first time in rehab.
“I didn’t want to lose my kids,” Lockner said. “I was at the end of the rope.”
Lockner, 31, was seeing his family for the first time since he came to Therapy in Motion. He looked healthy and hopeful.
He and his brother, Eric Lockner, exchanged an embrace when the family arrived and Eric said the intervention was the last hope for his family.
“I wanted my brother back,” Eric said. “He looks good, and he’s more focused than he was before.”
Zach Baker from Salt Lake City, Utah, is a heroin addict. This is his fifth time in treatment, and he also got there as the result of an intervention after a suicide attempt.
Baker, 22, said he started drinking alcohol at 14 and was using heroin at age 17.
He’s been clean for 48 days and said he’s gotten more out of the program at Therapy in Motion than he has any of his other treatment stays. He plans to relocate to the tiny burg of Lava Hot Springs when he is released.
“This is different; it’s not a program that they try to build the client to fit in,” Baker said. “The client builds the program, and they facilitate it.”
Fleming is a former addict himself, but he has been clean and sober for 17 years. He and his wife, Susan, operate Therapy in Motion in a home-like setting.
“That makes it easier for me, too,” Baker said. “It’s easier to build a reported with someone who’s been through it than with someone who’s read a book about you,”
After earning a master’s degree at the University of Utah, Fleming said opening his own substance abuse treatment facilitate had always been his goal, and the serene town of Lava Hot Springs seemed like the perfect place to do it.
The house is cozy and quaint, rows of native plants and flowering herbs frame the front porch, and the atmosphere inside the house is reminiscent of a visit to your quirky aunt and uncles.
“Whenever I don’t know what to say the clients, I tell them to ask Susan,” Fleming joked.
Susan said she supports her husband’s passion and appreciates what happens at the center.
While 12-step recovery methods are incorporated into their program and clients are required to attend meetings, it is not 12-step based treatment. Therapy in Motion takes a holistic approach to treatment and encourages addicts to develop healthy eating habits, to exercise – the clients go to the gym twice a week – and to get involved in the community and build a recovery program that works for them.
Right now, Therapy in Motion can accommodate six male clients, but the Flemings are working to open a second house for women.
The treatment program is a minimum of 60 days and a recommended stay of 90 days.
At just 28 years old, Guy Mason, Therapy in Motion’s first client, has been using since he was 11. He was introduced to methamphetamine by his mother. This is his first time in inpatient treatment; he has been clean for 54 days.
“I wanted to leave every day for the first week,” Mason said.
Mason is from Modesto, Calif., and he said he’s learning many basic life skills for the first time.
He is working to resolve some legal issues and to build a relationship with his father; Mason is no longer in contact with his mother.
The home setting at Therapy in Motion works for him.
“That’s huge for me,” Mason said. “This wouldn’t work for me if this was an institution. I’ve had enough of institutions.”
The Flemings also work to help the clients find transitional housing following treatment.
“When I got clean, I turned myself into the bondsman and ended up doing two years in prison for a possession and sales charge,” Jack said. “I started using at 13 and until 17 years ago, the most clean time I could put together was four years. Knowing where the clients are coming from does help. I don’t think you can learn this in books.”
Therapy in Motion is a licensed treatment facility and is listed with Business Psychology Associates. The cost of treatment at the center is $4,500 per month.
For more information about Therapy in Motion, go to www.therapyinmotioninc.org.