In Canada addictions is a major issue. Most of the people who access some type of social service is struggling with an addiction issue. It is rare to work with someone who isn’t affected by addictions directly or indirectly. As social workers, it’s imperative we develop ourselves into professionals that are aware of addictions and the problems associated with substance abuse. In order to provide resourceful services to the populations we serve, we must know where we stand when approaching the issue of addictions. This paper will apply a critical analysis to myself, as an individual and as a professional. In order to proceed towards an issue, we must know why we are approaching the issue the way we are and how we affect the situations we will encounter as social workers. Self-reflection is the first step into developing a style that can be resourceful to our people suffering from addiction issues directly and indirectly.
What are my assumptions, beliefs, or values about a person living with an addiction?
According to Beresford (2007) there are a multiple lens’ in viewing the idea of addiction. The medical model is used to view the phenomena as a disease. Other models, such as moral choice, habit and reinforcement, or learned behavior are also theories used to view addiction. Lastly, Beresford (2007) states the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, outlines the phenomena common to all addictive disorders. Given these ideas of how to view addiction, these theories will inform our beliefs about a person living with an addiction. For myself in order to assert how I view a person experiencing addiction, I must interrogate my social, cultural and historical context. According to Mckinnon (2013,p.p.a) knowledge both professional and personal is developed through these variables of social, cultural and historical context. My current social standing is educated, lower income (being a student). Aboriginal male: which is twofold, one side I hold privilege being a male. On the other hand, I am marginalized due to my ethnicity, yet I hold privilege physically because I am healthy and able bodied.
Moreover, historically, due to being a First Nations man, I have experienced hardship due to the historical context of colonization and most of my Aboriginal family members experienced assimilation through residential schools and the Sixties scoop. These major historical impacts have carried forward into shaping who I am and how I view the world. When I dig deeper, I see that addictions affected everyone in my family, many family members experienced it first hand or were exposed to it in their upbringing. (Guest speaker, personal communication, November 6, 2013) states, the impacts of addiction becomes normalized in Aboriginal families. This can be said true for my family too, it became a normal part of living to be fearful and have a plan, if dad decides to drink that night.
Consequently, I picked up on what everyone else was...