Profile: Scott Silverman by Carly Gunter-Davis

step 12 magazine recovery

Three hundred and sixty people die each day from the disease of addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Scott Silverman is here to make sure your loved one is not one of those three hundred and sixty souls. Silverman himself went through the treatment process thirty-one years ago, after bottoming out in his addiction to drugs and alcohol and becoming suicidal. His addiction took him to the 44th floor of a building he was about to jump off, but today he carries his message of experience, strength, and hope to help the people in your life who suffer from addiction to get the help and treatment they need, in a way that works best for them.

Silverman, who has thirty-one years of continuous sobriety, vows to talk to your beloved addict who is struggling in a direct way. “I’ll tell them the unfiltered truth, and some of what I’ll talk about comes from science and research, but most of it will be my own personal experiences,” says Silverman. “My approach is less clinical and more about life skills and my own life experiences. I share my strength, and hope, and carry the message in a way that works and produces positive results.”

Scott helps addicts to stay alive, and will do everything in his power to get them the help they need in a way that is tailored to their situation and best addresses their needs.

“A lot of talent in the treatment field isn’t being utilized and a lot of phones are not ringing that should be ringing off the hook. We, as a community, need to be less afraid to pick up the phone and make that call. More phones need to be ringing,” Silverman says. “As I field, I can tell you that if we can’t help you, we’ll find someone who will. We want to help and we will do everything in our power to get people the help they need.”

Silverman believes recovery programs are not one-size-fits-all, and that the key to long-lasting sobriety lies in a long-term commitment paired with a solid recovery plan. Since 1993, Silverman has been revered as the founder of Second Chance, a non-profit he began to work with the homeless, formerly incarcerated, unemployed, and at-risk population to help end substance abuse problems and decrease violence. He now leads the treatment team at Confidential Recovery and is lauded as one of San Diego’s best crisis counselors. Silverman, a recovering alcoholic who recently celebrated thirty-one years sober, specializes in assisting individuals and their families past crises and into the treatment and recovery process.

“In a $37-billion-dollar industry where 95% of people going through treatment relapse, I’m not content to hang my hat on a five percent success rate. If you don’t get help from me, get help from somebody. I want to participate in the burning down or eradicating of the stigma of treatment, and I also want to hold the treatment providers responsible. When our clients come in for treatment, we don’t just give them a list of support meetings in the neighborhood, we give them tools they can use in sobriety.”

Scott believes in the “secret sauce” he uses with his clients, which is what the Confidential Recovery team’s platform is built upon: the idea that one size doesn’t fit all in treatment, and asking clients (after the initial six weeks of treatment) for a two-year commitment to their structured outpatient program. Silverman asserts that the commitment is made after clients have gotten their “initial diagnostic piece and they have a recovery plan and are in treatment. We want to talk with them about what the real recovery plan is and how we’ll maintain the sobriety they’ve just invested in.”

The idea, Silverman says, is to get people to realize that treatment is just the beginning. “Once we remove the anesthesia, the real issue underneath the substance abuse problem needs to be dealt with. That process takes longer than six weeks, which is why we ask for a longer-term commitment to their recovery.”

Silverman also believes in the power of treating the whole family, and believes that if all members get the help they need, no matter if they do or do not drink or use, the likelihood of success will be greater.

“At the end of the day, I want people to know that they do have options,” says Silverman. “What you’re doing got you here, and your best thinking got you here, so if you keep doing what you’re doing, are you going to get what it is you’re seeking out of life? And if you’re not, what do we need to do to take a look at that. What are some alternative to what you thought were your best decision-making processes? Let’s take a deep breath and deal with the problem in a way that is proactive instead of reactive.”

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