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The road one travels when living in the cycle of drug or alcohol addiction tends to be very lonely. Either the substance abuser has shut themselves down from meaningful relationships, or family and friends have decided to keep their distance. Either way, the substance abuser tends to find themselves on the outside of life looking in.
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April 19, 2021
The same cannot be said of treatment. When someone makes the difficult decision to admit defeat and ask for help, there is no longer any need for them to be alone. There will always be people traveling the road of recovery with them.
In the sections below, we will discuss the importance of surrounding oneself with people who understand, empathize, and sympathize during the substance abuse disorder treatment process.
We like to think of our treatment center as a community of people with one common goal, to recover from the disease of addiction. To do that, we want to impress upon all of our clients the need for them to cooperate with us and try to help each other.
We are all aware of the great toll drugs and alcohol can take on the human body and spirit. For better or worse, rehab is the only reliable place someone can come for healing. To get that healing, every client has to find a way out of isolation. Yes, that makes them vulnerable to scrutiny. Fortunately, help and understanding are given in rehab, not scrutiny.
Imagine for a moment that you have been struggling with heroin abuse for a significant period (this could be you). During that time, you lost or avoided any meaningful relationships. Your social network is comprised of other drug users and your dealers. What a lonely life that must be. In fact, we know it's a long it's a lonely life. How?
All-day long, our staff members reach out to clients who have long been isolated from friends, family, and the enjoyment of life. We see the isolation in their eyes and hear it in their stories. However, it doesn't make our staff members sad. In fact, it motivates them to invite each and every client into our community of caring people.
As for our staff members, here is a list of people who participate in helping clients and what they contribute because they care:
This is our community of caring people who are motivated to help. But there is more.
We encourage our clients to reach out to one another. Sometimes, we do that in a formal setting like group therapy (more on that below). Other times, we encourage clients to interact with one another during downtime when they can get to know each other better on a more personal level.
With everyone in the rehab facility focused on collective recovery among all clients, we feel this community approach is right on target. Besides beating drugs and alcohol, we want our clients to feel good about going back out into society as sober people. We want them to understand that isolation is a part of their disease and something that they need to avoid in the future.
While a lot of hard work is done in individual therapy, there is something special that happens during group therapy sessions. There is a synchronicity that evolves among clients when they look around the room and see they are not in this battle alone. They are surrounded by other people who have the same basic problems with drugs and alcohol. They are also surrounded by people who are not likely to be sitting around passing judgments on other clients.
As professional addiction treatment professionals, we fully understand the value of one client reaching out to help another client. Frankly, it is a beautiful thing to see. That "been there, done that" attitude has great value to a client who feels alone. When they start to realize they are surrounded by strangers who actually understand and care about their plight, it warms them and motivates them to come out of isolation.
This is what we want from group therapy. We want our participating clients to see and feel they are not alone. When they can lift themselves out of isolation, it becomes easier for us to reach them during individual therapy sessions. If we can reach our clients, we are confident we can help them get the recovery they need and deserve.
When a client leaves rehab, the healing has only begun. The road to recovery never ends. That is why the mantra " We'll get better together" has special meaning to so many of the people in our treatment facility.
Beyond healing and recovery, we want our clients to build a community among themselves. There is a reason a lot of the top rehab facilities run alumni programs. They run them because they want to provide exiting clients with a way to stay connected to one another.
Why is this important? Outside of rehab, it is difficult to find people who understand the true nature of substance abuse disorders. The nonaddict can be supportive, but there is still so much they don't understand about the nuances of recovery.
The real healing takes place in the weeks and months after leaving rehab. During that time, we find out clients derive great benefits from having their fellow rehab alumni standing by as support resources. Think about the power of that for a moment.
Two people enter rehab at the same time with similar issues. They both desperately need help and feel lonely and isolated. In time, they get to know each other. They go through group therapy together and chat during downtime. It doesn't matter how different the rest of their lives might be, they have this one very serious thing in common.
Upon completing treatment, they realize they can be supportive of each other on the outside. That is a bond they both likely need. After all, they may be the only two people in their worlds that truly understand the challenges of staying sober. The support they can get from one another is invaluable.
We used two people as an example. The reality is a small group of people might end up creating a nice support resource for each other. We are all behind anything that keeps the relapse rates down.
Now, you can see why we value the community approach to treatment. We are all in this battle together. If you want what we can offer, it can be yours. All you need to do is pick up the phone and reach out to us for help.