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Work

Rarely do i blog about work. Pretty much everything i’ve done has had confidentiality implications. Currently i supervise a small program doing integrated mental health and substance abuse treatment. For the last 4 months or so part of my job is to do a 2 hour group on Co-Occurring Disorders at our inpatient substance abuse treatment center. It makes for a unique set of challenges. A fair percentage doesn’t have any interest in issues around mental illness, in fact a fair percentage doesn’t have much interest in doing anything they are just mandated to be there. But some are. The figures say 60% of folks with a substance abuse disorder have a co-occurring mental illness. Sometimes that seems true in group, a lot of time its higher. The group was dumped on to my already too full work load so i have no time to prep. Twice i’ve organized lessons and tried to present a coherent presentation and each time i bored people shitless. So what i routinely do now is sort of a question and answer format. It makes it intellectually interesting to me because its sort of a stump the expert kind of thing. I like putting myself out there and 99% of the questions i have some type of valid answer for. The problem for the format is its hard to generate member to member interactions. Everything is flowing through me and often only a handful of folks are interested in any given question. Early on there was a lot of talk about how boring my group was. It seemed to take on a life of its own. My response was to take it head on. Put it out there. Mention that we will be discussing a lot of complex ideas and some times it can get dry and boring being 2 hours and right after lunch. Mostly i just try to be high energy. Two weeks ago i noticed if i was standing up it was more interesting so i just stood through the whole group. Mostly i just try to reach the ones that are interested and leave the rest to their own devices. In my first group i cracked on someone for sleeping in group. It turned out to be the guy with narcolepsy. It hadn’t been 15 minutes since i had talked about being understanding of people with disability. That has been my excuse to let ’em sleep. The treatment center operates under the philosophy of therapeutic community. There are a lot of rules that are bizarre to me like no hats and no swearing. I don’t like to enforce stuff i don’t much agree with so i’ve gotten around it by mentioning that i have a lot of complex information i am wrestling with and i expect the group to enforce its own discipline. Someday i am going to get cracked on for letting people swear and sleep and what have you. I am supposed to “pull them up”. i haven’t yet pulled anyone up. i guess theres some evidence behind this methodology but i am not buying into it yet. Lately i’ve been on a roll. A lot of crazy people in treatment, hungry for straight answers and validation. Its funny when i get one whose all defensive and talks about getting diagnosed but he feels its just the drugs and he’s going to go to AA and fuck the psychiatrist he’s not taking any meds and i say “right on brother”. You can do that.

Categories: work
  1. Ken Faivor
    December 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Hi Mike, I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs from time to time. Ive been doing so ever since you ran into my brother Dan on your great northern hitch-hikers adventure.
    There is a way to “pull your group up” if you dare. Though it may quite possibly get you fired.
    Check this site out: http://www.unleavenedbreadministries.org/?page=ubmbooks
    Download and read “Sovereign God”
    Reading is not really my thing. I’m more of the outdoors, hands on, field type. But I read this book and most of the others there, and listened to the recordings. It has indeed changed my life. Now I know your a reader so come on, be brave, and check it out. I am not gifted to be a super social person, but you seem to be, or very well could be if you believed in what you where doing. Feel free to email me if you like.

    • December 6, 2009 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Ken, glad you still check out the blog and i apologize it took so long to approve your comment. I thought I had done so right after I read it but found it hadn’t gone through. I am still getting comfortable with wordpress and glad you followed me over here. I read the first chapter of the book you recommended and thought it was right on. I think a lot of Christians play up Satan as almost a co-equal force with God, when really as a created being its not just that way. Its not a dualistic religion but a unity behind the creator. I believe there is one plan not two and all that happens good and bad is part of that plan. I believe that the future is knowable because God is outside of time and space. This in no way infringes on free will, my knowing your reaction in no way creates that reaction. Anyway interesting stuff. At the treatment center we get a lot of freedom to talk about spirituality it is just couched in the term ‘higher power’.

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