Addiction as an Attachment Disorder
My Best Friend the Bottle: Substance & Non-substance Addictions as Compromised Attachments—Assessment & Treatment Implications in Social Work
The metaphor of the “bottle”, or the “hit”, or of “streaming sex partners”, as being my best friend(s) is common in addictions treatment; it is important to recognize that these frames of reference have embedded in them, a strong assumption related to the links between attachment and bond dynamics and addictions. Therapy and other interpersonal helping processes presume that interdependence is part of the human element. Some practitioners have suggested that addictions are attachment disorders and that associated interventions should attend to attachment and bond dynamics in assessment, treatment, and healing. Many addictions interventions attend to: 1 the “use of self” in relationship to support recovery and healing; 2. the building of pro-sobriety and efficacious social supports to enable recovery and sustained healing; 3. creating more meaning in life through unmediated person-to-person relationships with a higher power AND more meaningful and genuine terrestrial relationships ranging from children and life-partners, to friends and “mother earth”; 4. working with attachment and bond dynamics within the context of real-time recovery and healing moments. Aboriginal social connection and social support narratives may add to the richness of healing options! The presenter will address implications for addictions, mental health, children’s protection, justice, military social work, victims of residential schools, and any other field of practice of interest to the audience.
About Dr. Dennis Kimberley, BA, MSW, Ph.D., RSW, Professor of Social Work:
Dr. Kimberley has over 50 years of social work experience and has over 50,000 hours of clinical practice. He has undertaken consulting and training provincially, nationally and internationally — including in the role of a professional-expert witness. He has worked in mental health, addictions, children’s protection, military social work, and justice. He has completed more than 200 presentations including workshops and has numerous publications in refereed journals, refereed edited works, and monographs.