The topic of addiction can be a tricky one. How do you identify, classify or treat it? Steve Thomason, the new executive director of Midland’s Springboard Center, said he is out to clear up any misunderstandings.
“There’s a misperception in society that 30 days treatment is good, that’s all there is to it and it really isn’t,” Thomason said. “When someone is coming into addiction treatment, they usually have a few years of experience with that addiction, many times 20 to 30.
“When you think about it logically for a second, if a person has been active in an addiction for 20 years and their brain, emotions and body are used to that chemical — whether it’s alcohol or drugs — and they are using that to cope with stress and emotions like depression and anger, to think that 30 days versus 20 years, five years, even two years, how is someone going to affect a change in only 30 days to not go back to using?”
A veteran of the addiction recovery field, the long-time Texas resident said he has been pleased with both Midland and the Springboard Center staff thus far.
“After I got here and was a few weeks into it, I was really amazed and pleased with the quality of the staff and the quality of the people in this community that are interested in working in this field,” Thomason said. “There’s a pretty strong recovery presence in the Midland-Odessa area.”
Thomason said his primary focus at the center now is “expanding the continuum of care” for those who come for help. While he said the intial detox and residential treatment is crucial to the recovery process, in order to truly achieve success treatment must continue well beyond the first month of care.
“After someone completes residential (treatment) is where the mistake happens almost universally,” Thomason said. “People think that they’re done now and that they can just go back to doing everything that they were doing before and that just isn’t how it works.”
In addition to stressing continued treatment, Thomason said he is also emphasizing including the entire family in the treatment process and challenging the perception that addiction is “a moral weakness.”
“No addict wakes up one morning and decides to become a cocaine addict, it’s never a conscious decision,” Thomason said. “For those genetically predisposed, it’s a neurobiological issue that occurs in the brain where the pleasure center is altered so that the drug or alcohol takes precedent and rises in the survival skills and instincts that are in our brain. The brain thinks that it needs those to survive.”
Surprised by the number of people in the community who have not known about the center, Thomason said he just wants to let West Texans know the center is an “unknown treasure” available to those who are dealing with addiction.
While Thomason said there may still be some educating about addiction needed, he has already come to feel at home in the Tall City.
“I love the community, I’ve lived in Texas most of my life and I thought I knew what southern hospitality was but the people in this community are just amazing,” Thomason said. “Where else can you go to the H-E-B and there’s a social event?”
Read more: Springboard Center’s new director focuses on expanding care, education – MRT.com: Faith https://www.mrt.com/life/faith/article_b3e836d4-6611-11e4-b389-1339a97ee06a.html#ixzz3Ky1fe297
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