Holistic Harm Reduction
Aniz, Inc. is guided by Holistic Harm Reduction best practices. Aniz relies upon EVIDENCE-BASED approaches in treating addiction and activities that have a negative impact on health.
In 2001, Zina Age wrote an article called "The Veil of Secrecy" in which she outlined her vision for Aniz's approach to intervention and treatment. The Aniz philosophy has developed over years of adapting and meeting the needs of EVERY member who walks into the Aniz headquarters.
Individuals are affected by a range of exterior factors. More often than not, the individual is not in complete control of those external factors. External factors affect an individual's perceptions, interests, emotions, and mental health. Sometimes, external factors can exert tremendous negative force over an individual, even though the individual is not responsible. Examples include societal racism, personal learning disorders, place of domicile, and even an individual's genetics.
Society doesn't like differences or weakness. Society is often built upon one group maintaining power or control through oppression of another group. Ultimately, the oppressed group begins to internalize their status as "inferior" or "different". Stigma is attached to individuals in the oppressed group, even though the individuals have done nothing wrong. Even if a person is born black and beautiful, society says that this person is "inferior". After hearing the message of oppression for a while, an individual can start to believe the message and internalizing the stigma. Ultimately, more than a person's ego is damaged. Stigma affects the entire individual. Soon, the individual is overcome by internally driven feelings of secrecy, shame, and guilt for being a member of the oppressed group.
There are groups of individuals who are particularly susceptible to these external negative influences. Unfortunately, many of these individuals are not equipped with the tools to analyze and reject the negative messaging. Instead, they turn further inward to seek solace. However, they lack the tools to correctly transform their inner peace into actionable responses to negative external messages. Too often, they may seek escape through substance use, or through risky behaviors rather address the internal breakdown between inner peace and proper, measured response to external stimuli.
The first time the individual "escapes" through drugs, alcohol, or risky sex is exhilarating. They have temporarily escaped the resonance of negative messages. They remember this moment of tranquility and will seek to repeat it again and again. Unfortunately, the temporary "escape" was only an illusion. When reality returns, the same negative messages from society still exist, only now the individual carries an extra burden, i.e., addiction. The addiction can be physiological, psychological, or both as is the case most often.
The Aniz approach involves speaking with the individual in a language and manner that he or she will understand. It removes all negative messaging that might reinforce stigma. It creates a dialogue with the individual free from negative and judgmental influences that has always defined what society said to the individual.
Addiction is simply another stigma. Addiction is society's negative messangers at work, further harming an individual's ego by falsely judging the individual's past life choices.
Perfection is an unobtainable goal. Rather than strive for perfection, the Aniz model accepts the person "as is" and starts from the very basic position of total acceptance.
Aniz strives to maximize the health and well-being of each individual. The goal is not abstinence. Aniz