WHAT IF? A RECOVERY MODEL DESIGNED BY A PERSON IN RECOVERY

A woman in recovery wrote to me: What if there was a place for recovering addicts to go to get their equilibrium back? It takes five years for the body to heal and stabilize into normal endocrine function after addiction. It takes two years for the brain to heal and for its natural hormones to start flowing regularly again. During this recovery time is when the addict is most vulnerable. So what if there was a place for addicts to go that allowed them to stay in a safe place while they get their memory and focus back and learn a new trade, or go back to school to get their degree and learn organization and responsibility again. The next three years are spent finishing their degree and re-entering the workforce giving half of what they earn to the program and save the other half to purchase a car and apartment when they finish the program. By the end of this five-year program they would be in full recovery. They’d have a job, a car, and a place to live. They would be productive citizens of society again. What if?

My reflection: This idea is similar to the San Patrignano model in Italy, where people stay three-to-five years in order to fully recover. The recovery rate at San Patrignano is 78% after three years of exiting the community.

Today’s Promise to consider: What if there were a recovery model that provided a safe place for recovering people to live for several years in order to get it right? A place that offered the time to learn a trade, save money, and even continue education, all within the safe haven of a recovery community. The idea posited by this young woman makes total sense. I’d love to see a treatment center adopt this approach or at least our medical community explore the concept with research. Something needs to change with the way we treat addiction. What if?

 

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Diane
Diane
2 years ago

I found this meditation very interesting. It appears that many people who apply for disability due to an addiction are rarely approved for benefits. However, it is also clear that it would be impossible for them to hold down any type of job. What if … these addicts/alcoholics were approved for disability and the money used to pay for a recovery program, one in which they would be required (perhaps ordered) to go through the program until they are healed? I believe that those who are addicted rarely make it, often die young. If our lawmakers would make it mandatory that addicts have to go through a recovery program and give them a chance to make a life for themselves, it would be better than handing a check to them so they can use it to buy more drugs/alcohol. I don’t know if this makes sense but we have to value life and it appears that any more we don’t. Random shootings and peer pressure is really affecting our culture. We need real change. Thank you.

Denise
Denise
2 years ago
Reply to  Diane

I agree with you Diane my son who is in recovery with a methadone clinic and has been in it for several years… He is on disability when he was approved it wasn’t do to drug use he was diagnosed bipolar . He was already addicted to alcohol and later heroin
He was given a large sum of money when he was approved for disability.
I couldn’t understand why they would do this if the money went to recovery and getting his life back on track … He is an adult and I am grateful he is alive … I want so much more for him… alas that is what haunts me…

Kathleen
Kathleen
2 years ago

Yes! Thankfully, we found a place just like this…Winston Salem Rescue Mission in North Carolina. They have answered so many prayers, I’m always hopeful that other cities will find a way to have such a program.

Mindy Bartholomae
Mindy Bartholomae
2 years ago

I think our current system is sorely inadequate. The typical model of being sequestered away and often force fed 12 Steps, various therapies, group sessions, private sessions, meditation, yoga, focuses on “curing” the disease, when in fact, as the post said, it takes TIME. I’m certainly not discounting these things, but fundamentally, the addicted need to feel useful, needed, contributing members of society and that means providing some type of work. None of the rehabs, SLE’s our son went to required any real contribution except to attend meetings and not use. He went stir crazy and often fled. Yes, he had responsibilities, mostly, though, focusing solely on him and his disease and not giving back, through work, building community, which can lead to a sense of purpose and belonging.

Joanne Mele
Joanne Mele
2 years ago

I totally agree with this model. Unfortunately in North America, rehabilitation facilities operate as a money making machine where the chances for staying clean and sober are so low. It constantly creates a vicious cycle for addicts trying to recover because the length of stay is so short. True change takes time- at least one year to 5 years. Why can’t expenses such as laundry, cooking, cleaning etc. be part of the program? San Patrignano is a beautiful example of how this model can work and I’m happy to say that after 9 months in, my daughter is thriving. It’s time for a shake up and change in how we help people struggling with addiction; to make them see that true recovery with time is possible.

Terry
Terry
2 years ago

My daughter went through a extended treatment home after rehab for 2 1/2 years in GA. They were required to go to meetings, volunteer in the community and after some time either work or go back to school. It was a good program for many reasons. Gave them more time being sober and to relearn the skills they lost through addiction. Accountability amongst other housemates was critical. Almost 4 years later she is still sober( grateful for today with no expectations of tomorrow) I believe these programs do give the addict a better chance at long term sobriety. The issue as always comes down to money. These programs are very costly. What can we do as a society to make these places more cost effective for all?

Pat Nichols
2 years ago

Some great ideas have been posted but the critical question is how do we pay for this life saving type program? Well, those who are familiar with my past responses over many many years know I have the answer! 🙂 So, here you go, we stop spending (wasting) tax payer money on putting another man/lady on the moon and use all that money to fund such a program, after a few years the Fed’s can look at the billions of dollars America has saved through such a recovery program and they can now use that surplus money to put a man/lady back on the moon. I know I’m brilliant so no need to remind me! 🙂

Penny Petty
Penny Petty
2 years ago

This sounds like an astounding approach to recovery. Most of our current recovery attempts only put a band aid on the addict’s wounds and give them a temporary fix for their disease. This long-term approach offering them a way to a new life by furthering their education, saving money, and planning for a new future while recovering is a great idea to me.

Ki Ki DesCombes
Ki Ki DesCombes
2 years ago

I agree with this. Great concept. My 32yo addict daughter is sober, a new Mom, and living in our home.
She had been in off and on addiction for about 12 years. She has missed out on a lot of knowledge and
changes due to operating life from couch to couch to living only in the dark. Currently I am reteaching
her how to drive sober. These skills are stunted by addiction and even lost. Sign us up for this recovery
program. Thanks again Libby and friends for sharing. Ki Ki Missouri USA

Kathy
Kathy
2 years ago

Agree!! My son after 12-15 and twice in jail he’s in a 3/4 house, goes to rehab half a day and works at night. He said it will take a long time to have his brain healed and I believe it. I only wish our country understood addiction in all forms…

Mary
Mary
2 years ago

All, I am not affiliated or trying to sell a program, but incredibly grateful we found an ‘Enthusiastic Sobriety” program for our daughter, after failed wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools, etc.. These ES programs can be 2-5 years, usually one fee, and are scattered across the country. They are designed for those in their teens and their twenties. It’s what saved our daughter- so much so, that she decided to go through training and is now a counselor for teens. I am forever grateful.