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Beautiful Boy and Addiction Recovery


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Beautiful Boy is a story of addiction. It’s a story of recovery and relapse. And it’s a story of a father and son.

Produced by Amazon Studios, Beautiful Boy was released in select theaters on October 12, 2018. Starring Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, and Amy Ryan, the film is based on the real-life memoirs of father and son David and Nick Sheff. It explores the realities of crystal meth addiction in a way that is honest, direct, and ultimately hopeful.

Anyone who has ever coped with the realities of drug addiction and recovery knows that no movie can ever do justice to the experience. Critics have had mixed reactions to the film, with an overall positive review from The Washington Post saying, “What’s left is a painful, frustrating, sometimes infuriating depiction of helplessness, even passivity, as a life full of potential circles the drain. Put another way, “Beautiful Boy” is about unconditional love, at its most powerless and supernaturally healing.”

Common Sense Media, in a more negative review, warns viewers that “as the movie drags on toward the two-hour mark — and viewers realize they’ve seen the same kind of relapse-argument-recovery sequences over and over — it all starts to feel achingly tiresome.”

No matter what the qualities of the movie are, we can all agree that it draws much-needed attention to the epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction in our society. 

Drug and Alcohol Addiction

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 21.5 million adults were struggling with a substance use disorder in 2014. That means nearly 7 percent of Americans were battling some kind of addiction during that year. Out of that total, about 80 percent were struggling with alcohol abuse.

Addiction is a serious condition, a public health problem, and a tragedy for every family that has to deal with it. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) begins to define addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” (Addiction is a complex phenomenon, and ASAM’s “short” definition of addiction takes up two paragraphs.)

Definitions are a necessary part of therapeutic practice, but they don’t capture the experience of addiction, either for those addicted or the ones who love them. For those fortunate enough never to have experienced the realities of addiction, a film like Beautiful Boy might begin to make it imaginable to you.

Recovery from Addiction

For individuals suffering from addiction, the recovery process most often includes these six steps:

  • Recognizing that the addiction exists and that a change needs to be made.
  • Deciding what kind of rehab program is right for them.
  • Getting support from family, friends, and others.
  • Remaining sober—avoiding triggers, cravings, etc.
  • Building a new life.
  • Avoiding relapses, but accepting them without becoming discouraged if they do happen.

Recovery is a difficult process and one that no one can complete alone. Many individuals who struggle with addiction need professional help from substance abuse counselors. 

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counseling

Recovery is a challenging process, which often has many confusing steps and backtracking along the way. One of the great challenges of recovery (and of recovery counseling) is learning how to avoid relapse. Counseling, however, is much more than teaching that skill. It is a complex and demanding job that allows you to help those in need and practice many necessary skills, including:

  • Communicating with those in recovery, and with their families.
  • Guiding counseling groups, including process, problem-solving, psycho-educational, and activity groups.
  • Helping clients learn the skills to avoid relapse.
  • Maintaining records in accordance with medical regulations and laws.
  • Exploring the role of the therapeutic relationship in recovery from substance abuse.
  • Practicing the skills of cultural competence will facilitate the counseling relationship.

Drug and alcohol recovery counseling means forming a deep and caring relationship with another human being. A human being is often going through the most challenging time in his or her life. A human being who is full of doubts and pains and uncertainties, and who often struggles to wholeheartedly embrace the recovery process.

It’s not a job for the faint of heart, in other words. But it’s also not a job for the heartless. It’s a job for someone who is willing and able to care deeply about a client, while also doing what’s best for them. Drug and alcohol recovery counseling can be deeply rewarding for the kind of person who is drawn to this kind of work, but it can also be deeply demanding. 

Get Certified as a Counselor

Drug and alcohol recovery counselors are very much in demand, with the employment of counselors being expected to grow 20 percent through 2026. This is almost three times the predicted growth rate (7 percent) for all professions overall.

But counseling isn’t only a smart economic choice. It’s also a chance to explore the field of psychology and (most importantly) give real, meaningful help to those who suffer from addiction in our community. Addiction and recovery are difficult processes, and the people you are helping will often be in difficult situations.

InterCoast Colleges offer a program in Alcohol and Drug Counseling Studies. This program offers guidance and training that will help anyone, with or without experience, exceed the standards for drug counseling certification in California. The program educates individuals on the core concepts of counseling, addiction treatment and relapse prevention processes, guidelines for ethical and legal compliance, pharmacology, neurology, and the development of personal and professional skills.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in Substance Abuse Counseling, feel free to contact InterCoast Colleges. You can find guidance for the application process, costs and financial assistance, and any other questions you might have. We’re easy to contact, with an active presence on many of the major social media sites. You can also chat with a representative on our site, fill out our contact form, or give us a call at (866) 787-3888. We look forward to hearing from you!

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