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Online treatment program helps people with addictions

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Article Courtesy of Anne Kelly, The Record

Anne Kelly
RECORD STAFF

Paul

ROBERT WILSON, RECORD STAFF

An online addiction treatment program, designed and operated by local psychotherapists, can help bridge the gap while people are waiting for treatment.

Called the All-Addictions Recovery Program, it aims to help those with addictions, as well as their loved ones.

"If someone was on a waiting list, which are sometimes lengthy, they can begin treatment right away," said founder Paul Radkowski, a psychotherapist in private practice in Waterloo and Cambridge.

He said he wants to provide information, support and techniques to people all over the world to overcome trauma and addiction issues.

"We are a local company trying to make a global impact," said Radkowski, who has a masters of theological studies in pastoral counselling from Wilfrid Laurier University.

The program runs three to six months and costs $79 a month. The addictions can include shopping, self-cutting, overeating, pornography, drugs, alcohol or nicotine.

Sign up anonymously at www.liferecoveryprogram.com; an e-mail address is required. There is no wait list and participants receive an in-depth assessment to determine if they are at risk or how much they may be at risk.

Radkowski said the service is valuable to anyone who faces long waits and high costs for outpatient or residential treatment, or who has recently left a treatment facility and needs ongoing support.

The first three months after discharge is when relapse is most likely, he said.

Bi-weekly psycho-educational video and audio workshops offer practical tools for the addicted person or their loved ones.

There are easy-to-follow homework exercises to help free participants of addictive behaviour and strengthen their self-control.

The program is based on the latest cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, Radkowski added.

Participants learn how to decrease painful emotions and understand what is happening to them on a physical, mental and emotional level.

They also learn techniques to help identify their triggers and help develop healthier ways of coping.

While Radkowski said he highly recommends group therapy, this program offers privacy and convenience.

Before entering private practice, he worked for the federal government in the Northwest Territories, initiating treatment programs.

Radkowski was named outstanding addictions professional for 2008 by the International Association of Addiction and Offender Counselors.

akelly@therecord.com