WEAVE Sacramento has a dedicated group of volunteers and staff who are always ready to learn more about serving the women who come to them in need of support.   It is common for addiction to be a component of the abusive relationships they have suffered.  NCADD Sacramento recently provided training for how to screen women at risk for substance abuse issues and how to assess for the need for treatment of addiction-related health issues.

In  relationships where there is domestic violence, a higher rate of substance abuse exists. Victims need the opportunity to discuss available resources and support for accessing treatment.  NCADD Sacramento has long been a source of information for programs that address prevention, education and treatment for those who are struggling with alcohol or drugs use issues.

During the training session, Delita Alavarado, Director of Treatment Services for NCADD, helped WEAVE volunteers and staff understand “Stages of Change” that evolve from discovery through recovery- from the addict’s perspective.  It’s essential for the service provider to assist the addict in identifying the stage they are presently experiencing. From there, appropriate next steps can be identified and acted upon.

Stage 1 – Precontemplation

Perpetrators of domestic violence commonly do not think they need to change or that they have a problem with their behavior.  People addicted to drugs and/or alcohol have similar denials.

Stage 2 – Contemplation

People become more aware of the consequences of their actions, but can still be ambivalent about the seriousness of their behavior.

Stage 3 – Preparation & Determination

At this point the individual realizes a commitment to address their addiction should be made.

Stage 4 – Action & Willpower

The individual begins to take overt actions to change their behavior.  They are relying on willpower as they develop skills to address their addiction.  This stage has the greatest risk for relapse.

Stage 5 – Maintenance

The person at this stage of recovery has had success and their new behavior is being maintained. The longer the person can maintain transcendence, the less likely they are to go back to their old habits.

As a result of  this training program, the volunteers and staff at WEAVE are now even better equipped to screen calls from victims, to identify evidence of substance abuse (either in the victim or the perpetrator) and able to direct  women to the best resources to address their needs.

NCADD Sacramento looks forward to a continued relationship with WEAVE, and other social services providers who may not have the expertise or resources to identify substance abuse as a contributing factor in the challenges faced by their clients.