Should You Take A Gap Year in Recovery? Pro’s and Con’s of Delaying College

By Jose Hernandez

You’ve already made one important decision to enter treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction before heading off to school. Now, just a few more decisions:

  • Are you prepared for the temptations that college will bring?
  • Should you head off to college immediately after rehab?
  • Should you take a year off to prepare for your future?

Students across the nation, regardless of their history of substance abuse, take a year off between high school and college for many reasons. They want to take a break from academics–a gap year–to travel, sample a profession by taking a related job or internship, learn a new language in a foreign country, and for many other reasons.
Here’s a reassuring statistic for parents who are concerned that a gap year means a possible end to their son’s or daughter’s education: Research shows that 90 percent of those who take a structured year-long break from school return to school within a year. And they are likely to return a more focused student with a better sense of purpose, as well.
Interestingly, parents are often concerned about their child heading off to college and relapsing. And, research shows they have good reason to worry. Nearly half of young people in college who drink have episodes of binge drinking. Drug abuse is pervasive on campus, too. According to a study of more than 500 students, 76 percent reported using stimulants, 38.9 percent used anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives, and 40.9 percent used analgesics.

Benefits of a Gap Year in Sobriety

In the past, most of your time was probably spent feeding your addiction–that is, getting the substance, using it, feeling the effects, and then repeating the cycle. Now, in early recovery you’ve begun to learn how to replace that time with healthy hobbies and responsibilities.
Taking a gap year provides an opportunity to continue that process in a sober environment without the temptations that college presents. It also gives you time to think about why you want to go to college. In the meantime, getting a part-time job or internship not only gives positive structure to your life, it can prepare you for the responsibilities ahead. Perhaps for the first time you will be creating a routine that supports sobriety and builds your self-confidence.

Mental and Physical Wellness

Taking a gap year in sobriety means you’ll have time to get your physical and emotional health back on track. Cultivate relationships with your counselors, your doctor, and other people in recovery.

In your addiction, you probably didn’t take care of yourself physically. Make sure you schedule a checkup with your doctor and start an exercise regime, if you don’t already have one. It’s important to take care of yourself mind, body, and spirit.

You can also use this time to build a network of positive influences through classes and meetings.

Resources Are Everywhere

While many schools have college recovery programs (CRP’s), and 12-step programs are in cities and towns across the nation, taking time to get comfortable opening up in a group setting will make it easier to find your tribe in college or a new city.

If your recovery plan includes a 12-step program, it could take a year or longer to work these steps thoroughly. Cleaning up the wreckage from your past might seem secondary to your education and future, but heading off to college with a clean slate could mean the difference between relapse and progress.

Finally, you can take this time to learn your relapse triggers so you can be proactive about avoiding them. Start creating a relapse prevention action plan now.

Disadvantages of Taking a Gap Year in Sobriety

Taking a year-long time out from the structure and stresses of college has a downside, too. Here are some practical tips for overcoming the major “cons” of taking a gap year:

Beware of Procrastination  Don’t wait too long to take action on your recovery program. As l you begin to feel better, life will start to look a little brighter. It’s important to enjoy life, but make sure it doesn’t affect your main goal of long-term sobriety.

Put Recovery First Use this time to build a solid foundation. Naturally, you’ll enjoy having more freedom from scheduled classes, but you’ll get even more satisfaction from your gap year as you learn to structure your time and feel increasingly confident.
Don’t get bored This is one of the biggest triggers for relapse. If a 12-step program is part of your recovery, be diligent. Work your steps and go to meetings. Get out and enjoy sober activities! Isolation leads to boredom, and boredom leads to relapse.

If your program isn’t keeping you busy enough, find healthy activities to fill your time. Get a part- time job or internship in the industry you’re considering as a career. Volunteer to help others in recovery. Be a volunteer driver to take residents to and from meetings. Find a sober hiking club or pursue and interest or hobby that’s free of temptation.

Making a Gap Year Work for You

Creating healthy habits now can tremendously increase your chances of lifelong sobriety. If you decide to take a gap year, these steps will help prepare for your next chapter.
Get the most out of this first year. Be painstaking about adhering to your program. Work with your mentor to create an action plan and stick to it. Use this time to lay the groundwork for a prosperous future.
Build structure and routine into your days. Find ways to be active in your recovery community. Plan ahead for activity so you avoid having too much down time on your hands.
Get out of your comfort zone and connect with others. Practice asking for help and meeting new people. It will make building a support group for yourself easier. (Do the same if you’re going away to college.) Having a network of people who are just a phone call away is essential when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

Do You Have a Relapse-Prevention Plan?

By Jose Hernandez

Whether it’s the holidays, summertime, or Saturday, there’s always an excuse for a party. Avoiding being exposed to drugs and alcohol is essential to your successful recovery from substance abuse. However, in the real world, that is not always possible. Your best defense against slipping back into addiction is a solid relapse prevention plan. It is imperative to long-term sobriety.

What is a Mental Relapse?

Sometimes a relapse just happens, but usually it’s a process. It often starts when you’re disconnected to your program or during a stressful time in your life. Mentally you start to overthink things. Feelings of anxiety kick in, and you start to feel irritable and discontented. And before you know it, you’re seriously thinking about drinking or using. Having a plan of action can prevent a mental relapse from going into a full-blown, substance-abuse binge.

Your Relapse Prevention Plan

If you’re new to sobriety it’s important to create a relapse prevention plan before you need it. . .just in case. If you’ve been sober for a while, review your plan from time to time and make adjustments. What worked for you last year when you felt vulnerable may not be appropriate now. Addiction triggers can change over the years.

Here are six tips for staying on the track to long-term sobriety:

Make recovery your primary focus. It’s essential that you follow the recovery program implemented by your sponsor or counselor. Each week, set a schedule and stick to it. Be sure to include work, play, exercise, 12-step meetings and counseling appointments. This will help you balance recovery with the normal activities of your daily life.
Know your triggers. If you’ve relapsed before, make a list of the situations that set it off. Make note of the people, places and things that trigger your desire for drugs or alcohol. Where did you drink or use drugs? Who were you with? Does hanging out with certain people make drinking or using drugs tempting? Are weekends or evenings after work particularly difficult? Write down your triggers. If you’re unable to avoid them at least you’ll be aware and can prepare yourself to resist them.
Run the tape. Write about what life looked like before you got sober. If you find yourself thinking about having a drink or using drugs, revisit what you wrote down. Play it back in your head like a video. A beer on a hot summer day may sound good, but what typically follows that first drink? Remind yourself of what happens when you put alcohol or drugs in your body. Don’t focus on the immediate feeling of relief. Instead think about what occurs hours or even days later. It takes only one slip to return to your addict behavior. What does your tape look like?
Stay connected. Have a list of at least five people you can call if you feel like you want to use drugs or drink. This could be someone in recovery, a counselor, or even a family member. Keep the list with you and make sure you update it occasionally and that the phone numbers are current.
Know your stress relievers. Does talking to someone in particular calm you down? Is there an activity that’s therapeutic for you? Meditation is a great practice for calming your mind. Pay attention to what you feel is relaxing and make note of it. Take time each day for at least one stress-relieving activity. You can also refer to this list when you start to feel uneasy or anxious.
Remove any reminders of your substance abuse. Do a thorough sweep of your environment and make sure you don’t have any paraphernalia in your house. You may find it helpful to have someone else do this for you so you’re not tempted by something you find. This includes bottle openers and shot glasses. Anything that will remind you of drinking or using. The last thing you want to do on a particularly rough day is run across a half empty bottle of alcohol that you hid six months ago.

Recovery is an Education without a Graduation
Like the treatment of any disease, if you stop doing the things that make you feel better, you’ll stop feeling better. Addiction and alcoholism doesn’t care if you have ten days or ten years. Sometimes the longer you have the more susceptible you are. That’s because overconfidence creates the illusion that you’re cured. In early sobriety, reality often creates feelings of inadequacy that lead to a relapse. Having an active, current, relapse-prevention plan could save your life.

7 Steps to Creating a Career After Rehab

You’re newly sober, rehab is behind you, and you’re thinking about your career goals, perhaps for the first time.  Your energy level is up, your drive is back, and you’re regaining your clarity. You feel ready to take on the world and get back into the game of life. 

But then reality sets in with a litany of questions: When is the right time to return to work or start a job hunt? What can I expect? Where do I start?

Becoming an employee is inevitable. But before you try to jump start a slowed career or launch a new one, you have two major tasks: One, have healthy expectations for yourself. And two, set concrete, realistic goals.

Reality Check 

Taking on too much responsibility in early sobriety is stressful and can lead to a setback or even stall your recovery. At the same time, having the structure of a job boosts your prospects of successful recovery.  Your challenge is to maintain a healthy balance between the demands of being in the workforce and your ability to cope with a job’s demands. 

Just Get Started

You probably want your dream job right out of the gate, but the reality is it takes time to work your way up the career ladder. And if you already have an established career, you need time to nurture your sobriety and not sabotage it.

If you’re not sure exactly what you want to do with your life, enjoy this time of exploration and discovery. Sometimes in sobriety, success is simply taking the next step.

  1. Giving back is a good place to start. There are opportunities in the community to which you can volunteer your time. You may find your passion while helping others.
  2. Take advantage of free or inexpensive classes related to your personal interests. Many community colleges and employment offices don’t charge for career assessments and guidance.
  3. Find a mentor. Is there someone in your life who is successful that you respect? Ask if you can shadow him or her at work. You may find an aspect of the profession that interests you. Even if you don’t end up with a fire in your belly for what that person does, the experience gives you a chance to pick the brain of that successful person. Or a colleague or employee of your mentor may have a job that seems promising to you.
  4. Apply for positions  that work with your recovery program and don’t trigger your addiction. If sobriety loses importance on your priority list, so will your recovery.  The amazing job you landed will be short-lived if your performance suffers due to health issues.
  5. Gain some knowledge of the industry while working toward your goals. For example, If you want to work in the medical field, you could begin with a part-time office job at a local hospital or doctor’s office. If you’re interested in a business or sales career, apply for a position as an administrative assistant or receptionist.  (Keep in mind that companies often promote from within because employees have an understanding of the businesses’ procedures and markets. Another plus of working for a company at any level is that many offer to pay for tuition or training fees.)
  6. Take it slow and steady. If you have an established but stressful career, return to it by working part-time or in a role that is less demanding than your pre-rehab position. You can add hours or job duties as you regain your confidence and feel increasingly comfortable in your recovery.
  7. Use the tools you’re learning in recovery in all aspects of your life. Integrity, communication skills, and follow-through go a long way with employers and co-workers. You may find your new life skills bring out talents you never knew you had, opening you up to new opportunities.

Sobriety Comes First

Most addiction recovery specialists recommend that people in recovery begin pursuing their career goals by working in a low-stress environment. Be patient with yourself and stay focused on what’s important long-term.

Here’s a quick recap of creating a career after rehab:

  • The responsibility and structure of working is conducive to long-term sobriety, but it can also cause undue stress. Be sure to balance work, life, and sobriety and not in that order!
  • Don’t attempt to launch  a whole new career straight out of rehab. Work slowly and surely toward your goals. As you proceed, step by step, you’ll gain self-confidence as well as the confidence of your employer.
  • If you don’t know what you want to do, just do something. Find a mentor, take a class, or volunteer. You may end up carving your own path along the way. There is help everywhere; you just have to ask for it! The last thing you want to do in recovery is get bored!

When you build a solid foundation the opportunities are limitless. For more information on job readiness and counseling, visit our vocational offerings page.

Shame, Guilt, and Recovery

The beginning stages of recovery are a trying time for all addicts. For most, the path to sobriety will be a grueling one, ripe with fears and struggles. Whether you have made the decision to enter treatment voluntarily or at the urging of friends or family, you will surely face difficulties as you begin to navigate your way through detox and recovery. However, this new phase of life can also be the most rewarding and gratifying experience that you have ever had.

With these new changes comes time for reflection and contemplation. During this time, recovering addicts may find themselves feeling shame or guilt about the choices that they have made and about having hurt others while they were deep in the troughs of their illness. Shame and guilt are common feelings among those in recovery. While abusing drugs and alcohol, addicts tend to lose sight of their goals and values. Following detox, the dark veil cast by substances begins to lift, and addicts gain a clearer picture of the damage that has been left in the wake of their illness. It is completely normal for recovering addicts to begin to feel intense shame and guilt regarding their substance abuse. For some, this realization may come quickly. For others, it may take months of continued pondering before these feelings begin to manifest.

Managing this shame and guilt is a hefty task in and of itself. Forgiving yourself for your wrongdoings and letting go of the past does not come easily. However, while in recovery, it is of paramount importance to recognize the damaging effects that negative emotions can have upon the healing process. These unhealthy emotions can limit your ability to forgive yourself, make amends with others, and achieve inner peace.  

In order for recovering addicts to begin to resolve their feelings of shame and guilt, they must first start the exhaustive but rewarding task of processing and acknowledging their emotions. It is imperative that you gain an understanding as to why you are feeling guilty or ashamed. This can be achieved by participating in group therapy, individual therapy, or even by working through the 12 Steps in your spare time.

As is a necessary part of treatment, recovering addicts are urged to take moral inventory. Taking moral inventory refers to honestly looking at oneself and recognizing your faults, shortcomings, and character defects. Examples of this might include that you often lied or stole while you were abusing substances and are now recognizing how those behaviors were harmful. Naturally, you may begin to feel ashamed as this clear and honest image of yourself emerges. Once you have acknowledged your shame and guilt, you may begin to attempt to make amends.

We are able to make amends with others regardless of whether or not they are open to receiving an apology. We may be lucky enough to be forgiven by some, but others will undoubtedly be resistant to our efforts. The important thing to understand about making amends is that we are not seeking forgiveness from others. Instead, we are clearing our conscience of our shame and guilt. There is not a single person who is capable of removing our shame and guilt besides ourselves. We are solely responsible for choosing to forgive ourselves and accept the past. Remember that we can also make amends with those who have passed away as well as those who we have lost contact with. Expressing our feelings through writing, prayer, and meditation are just a few examples of how we are able to communicate our emotions with those that we are unable to speak with.

Processing shame and guilt is an important endeavor for all recovering addicts. Like every task throughout the recovery process, resolving feelings of shame and guilt takes time, perseverance, and diligence. Focus your sights on the wonderful benefits that will come as a result of your hard work to help motivate you when your patience wears thin. With vigorous effort and determination, you will soon be living a happy and healthy life free of the demons from the past.

Reflection Questions:

1. Is holding onto shame and guilt helping you or hindering you during your recovery process?

2. What does it feel like to hold onto shame and guilt?

3. How might letting go and freeing yourself of your shame and guilt help you throughout your recovery? How might it help improve your physical and mental health?


More than a Weakness: Why Do People Become Addicted to Drugs

Until recently, we have understood little about how addiction really works. Before, addiction has been thought of as a weakness or a moral flaw within a person. However, current studies suggest that addiction is much more than “a weakness.” Addiction is now considered to be a brain disease, and is generally considered a chronic condition. Much like other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, it can be controlled, but it rarely goes away. Once a person becomes addicted to a substance, it becomes a lifelong battle to fight against it. .

Families and friends who are non-users often do not understand how someone could become addicted to something that is such a hazard to their well being. Addiction starts small. The user simply thinks that the substance makes them feel good and believes that they can keep the usage under control. But addiction changes how the brain works and functions. Chemical states within the brain are altered, causing a chemical dependency on the substance. An addictive substance feels good because it stimulates the pleasure center of the brain through neurotransmitters such as Dopamine and GABA, which are some of the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Once you become addicted, the brain stops correctly producing these chemicals on it’s own, forcing a person to turn to more drug use.

Eventually, it takes more and more of a substance for it have an effect on the user. This is when an addiction is created. The physical and chemical need of the substance overrides all logic that says, “This isn’t good for me.” It is no longer about a person’s well-being, it is about satisfying the craving in that moment.

Addictive substances feel different to an addict versus a non-user. Non-users generally only feel mild highs, while addicts tend to feel much stronger effects of the drug. This further widens the gap of understanding between users and non-users. Non-users don’t get how addicts feel so good when they are on a drug that is doing so much physical harm.

Addiction can happen to anybody at any time. Currently, approximately 10% of the population struggles with addiction. Even though addictions tend to start when someone is young, it can still happen if a person begins abusing a substance at any point in their life. Addiction is common among all levels of socioeconomic status. The very poor and the very wealthy are equally as likely to become addicted to a substance.

Some studies have shown that there are people that have a genetic predisposition to addiction. This means that addictive substances feel way better to them than to most other people. Those with history of addiction in their family are potentially more at risk for also developing an addiction. Many people who are aware of this, choose to abstain from addictive substances in an attempt to avoid developing an addiction.

Education about addiction, and how addiction affects people, can aide addicts and family members in understanding this heartbreaking disease. Remember, recovery from addiction is difficult, because it is a fight against a physical need within the brain’s chemistry that never really ends. Addiction affects not just one individual, but everyone around them. If families better understand why their loved one is addicted to a substance, perhaps they can create a better line of communication with their loved one, thus helping the recovery process for everyone.

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Intervention: How to Help Your Loved Ones

Many individuals engage in self-destructive behaviors. These can include addictions, gambling, eating disorders and other problems. Often, the person is not aware of how serious the situation is, since the mental health problem that they have is clouding their judgment. For example, a person with anorexia is quite literally unable to see just how thin they are – they see themselves as fat despite all evidence to the contrary. People with addictions, be it to substances or to certain behaviors, also fool themselves into thinking that they can quit at any time, that they have full control or that they are just having fun. These types of issues severely affect the person’s ability to think critically in relation to the problematic situation.

The loved ones of the person who is engaging in this behavior often feel powerless to stop them. An addiction or an eating disorder doesn’t only hurt the person who is engaging in these behaviors, but also the people around them. Sometimes, an honest face-to-face conversation can help the person realize there is a problem, but often a more serious tactic is needed. These are the cases in which an intervention can be used.

What is an intervention?

It is a planned meeting where several people who care about the individual involved in self-destructive behaviors confront him or her about it, speak up about their concerns, propose a solution and discuss alternatives. An intervention is a process that needs to be addressed carefully.

An intervention team usually involves friends and family, although it can also include a clergy member, a teacher or a colleague, depending on the situation. These are people who care about the person and who want to help, although people who are very confrontational or very angry at the person may be left out of the team for the moment. The idea is to address the person calmly and rationally, expressing one’s emotions without attacking.

It’s a good idea to work with a professional interventionist to develop the most effective intervention. They can help each person figure out what to say and propose treatment options, as well as suggest what can be done if the person rejects the intervention. If there is a risk of violence or self-harm, it’s especially important that a mental health professional is involved in the intervention process.

The first stage involved planning. The team is formed, and each person needs to decide and write down what they will say and rehearse it, consulting with each other and with the intervention professional. The intervention team will need to gather or prepare information about the person’s behaviors to have clear examples of why they are self-destructive. The planning process needs to be thorough and not done in the spur of the moment. The team needs to be well-prepared. It’s also important to keep the intervention a secret from the person it’s directed at, since they can seek ways to sabotage it or prepare to ignore it or confront it.

The actual intervention meeting needs to be prepared at a comfortable time and place. The person should be invited there without being warned beforehand.

During the intervention, it’s important that the team follows the plan they have, up to what they say and how they sit, to avoid confusion. Each person will need to express their concerns, show examples of the self-destructive or harmful behaviors, talk about their feelings in a non-aggressive manner and address the issue directly. The team should propose a treatment plan, including hospitalization in some cases, anonymous help groups or other options, depending on the situation. It’s also important that the team presents an alternative, stating clearly the consequences that will happen if the person does not accept the treatment. These consequences can be asking the person to move out or cutting financial support. It’s important to state that all the members of the team will support the person if they choose the treatment, but stay firm in relation to the consequences.

Attacks, insults and similar tactics should be avoided. The process needs to be done in a calm manner without losing track of the plan. However, honesty needs to be present – the team members need to state what they are feeling and how it is affecting them. A good idea is to use “I-statements” (“I feel that…”) and focus on the consequences of the behaviors rather than blaming the person directly. Any objections the person has should also be addressed calmly. In general, it’s a good idea to brainstorm possible objections and come up with rational and calm responses.

It’s important to ask the person to make a decision right away. They can try to stall in order to deny the situation, for example, or otherwise try to avoid making a decision.

An intervention can be helpful, but in the end the decision to acknowledge the problem and to change is up to the person. If they choose to deny the situation, react violently or refuse treatment, that is their choice.

If there is violence or danger, if the person accuses the intervention team of betrayal or reacts in a similar way, it might be necessary to leave the situation, something that is especially true for the spouse and children. If the person refuses treatment, it is important to go through with the consequences. This has the chance of being good for the person, since it can make it very hard for them to deny the situation any longer. Not going through with the consequences encourages the self-destructive behaviors, since it comes off as an empty threat and shows the person that the situation can continue on as before.

An intervention gives the individual a plan for action and shows the support of their loved ones, but in the end it is up to them whether they decide to take it or not. However, removing oneself from the situation or enforcing the consequences can help the person realize that they do have a problem.


Hugs Not Drugs: Showing Love and Support as a Preventative Measure

While this cheesy motto is often seen in the halls of elementary school drug awareness weeks, there is truth within it. Hugs mean more than you think.

Perhaps one of the most common reasons people turn to drugs are feelings of loneliness. Perhaps they have been an outcast much of their life, perhaps they lost a loved one, perhaps none of their family is around to support them. People turn to drugs to fill the gap that other people should fill. When a person is using a substance, they tend to isolate themselves, further alienating them from the rest of the world. This begins a cyclical progression of using drugs because you feel alone, your drug use pushes others away, and then you need more drugs to cope.

Even drug users with families that are trying to help them still see themselves as being alone. They don’t believe that their family understands what they are going through. It is important for families to stick with addicts to show that they support them and are there for them through the recovery process.

Young people with weak family ties tend to be more at risk for developing addiction. People need strong, loving parental support to provide a positive example. People without strong family ties are more at risk for succumbing to peer pressure. One of the best ways you can help youth from developing addictions, is by simply being there and being involved in their lives.

Stress is another common factor in substance abuse cases. People want to feel good, so they turn to drugs to give them this high. Having someone in your life that you can talk  to, or turn to, when things get rough can create a physical release of happy chemicals in your brain, similar to the ones that are released when experiencing a drug high.

Here’s the simple truth: hugs boost our happiness levels. And scientific research is there to show this. Basically, a good hug is the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body. Oxytocin, also known as the “love drug”, calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions. Here’s how a good hug (at least 20 seconds) resulting in oxytocin flow affects you:

  • It lowers your blood pressure, especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious.
  • It lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone), enabling a higher quality of sleep.
  • It can increase your social connections and a sense of belonging.

So hug more and judge less. Be there for someone. Give them a hug just because. Love is the most powerful drug.


Helping You To Heal: Different Therapies and Treatments for Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a complex disease that needs to be addressed on a case by case basis. Things such as personally and the substance being abused can dictate how effective a particular therapy might be. One therapy might not affect a client at all, while another therapy can do wonders. Sometimes clients try several different therapy options before they find one that works best for them. The best way to quickly and efficiently find treatment is by being educated and informed about your options.

Below you will find facts about treatment options:


Medications might be necessary to help with withdrawal symptoms during detox. These drugs act as chemical substitutes while the brain begins to adjust to the absence of the addictive substance. Medications might also help address other underlying issues such as anxiety or depression. A medical professional will help you figure out what medications will be most effective.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapy allows the patient to be involved in their own recovery. In behavioral therapy the patient is counseled on how to change their attitude and behaviors regarding their addictions. But they are also counseled on how to alter their overall outlook on life. When behavioral therapies are combined with medication, patients have an increased chance of a successful recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- which seeks to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to abuse drugs. A central element of CBT is anticipating likely problems and enhancing patients’ self-control by helping them develop effective coping strategies. Specific techniques include exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued drug use, self-monitoring to recognize cravings early and identify situations that might put one at risk for use, and developing strategies for coping with cravings and avoiding those high-risk situations.

Multidimensional Family Therapy, which was developed for adolescents with drug abuse problems—as well as their families—addresses a range of influences on their drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning. Even though that it was initially designed for adolescents, it is still considered beneficial for any families dealing with addition to partake in family therapy.

Dialectical behavioral Therapy- DBT differs from CBT, that it focus on a more comprehensive assessment of the self, and addresses issues beyond drug use. In its standard form, there are four components of DBT: skills training group, individual treatment, DBT phone coaching, and consultation team. In DBT, the team focuses on addressing Mindfulness, Distress tolerance, Interpersonal effectiveness, and Emotion Regulation. There are 4 target areas of behavior that DBT addresses. Life-threatening behaviors, Therapy-interfering behaviors, Quality of life behaviors, Skills acquisition.

 Residential treatment programs

Therapeutic communities (TCs) are highly structured programs in which patients remain at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. A sober living home is one example of a TC. TCs differ from other treatment approaches principally in their use of the community—treatment staff and those in recovery—as a key agent of change to influence patient attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors associated with drug use. Patients in TCs may include those with relatively long histories of drug addiction, involvement in serious criminal activities, and seriously impaired social functioning. The focus of the TC is on the resocialization of the patient to a drug-free, crime–free lifestyle.

In the end, No single treatment is appropriate for everyone, but treatment needs to be readily available in whatever form that is chosen. Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse. Addiction is often co-morbid with other mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. For any treatment to be effective, the client must remain in treatment for an adequate period of time. Addiction and recovery is ever changing. Be sure to continually assess and modify therapy as needed so that it may remain as effective as possible.


What makes a good sober living house?

A good sober living home is essential to rebuilding a life after addiction. While detox centers provide medical care, and outpatient centers provide therapies, sober living homes help the individual rediscover how to live a normal, addiction free, life. Sober living homes create a social safe haven for individuals to learn about, discuss, and work on their addiction recovery. Individuals that are involved in sober living homes are more likely to maintain an addiction free life style than those that go back into the world straight from detox or inpatient centers.

So if you are looking for a good sober living house, these are the characteristics you should be looking for.

  • An alcohol and drug free living environment for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs
  • A requirement to attend 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or an IOP. Many sober living homes don’t offer formal treatment, they just provide a social support for recovering addicts. Requirements to attend meetings or treatment help ensure that the individual is taking charge of their recovery.
  • A requirement to comply with house rules such as maintaining abstinence, paying rent and other fees, participating in house chores and attending house meetings. These responsibilities help the individual regain responsibility and autonomy before reentering the community. House meetings also help build a sense of community and provide social support.
  • Group meetings and skills building within the sober living house. Many homes will provide activities for the residents that work on developing skills. Some homes offer cooking classes, budgeting help, or resume help.
  • An invitation for residents to stay in the house as long as they wish provided they comply with house rules.
  • A resident council of some sort. Some sober livings allow their residents to have a say in house matters. This also helps give the individual a sense of responsibility and fosters a community of support and collaboration.
  • Involvement in volunteer or work opportunities. Some sober living home encourage or require individuals to volunteer within the community. This helps with resume building, and it helps the individual learn how to be involved in the community.

Not all sober livings will have all of these characteristics, but that does not make them bad sober living homes. Ultimately, the best sober living home is the one you feel most comfortable in. Other factors, such as location and cost, are also important in determining which home is best. And most importantly, you should make sure that you get along with the staff. The staff will be the backbone of support for you or your loved one as they go through one of the most difficult transitional periods in their life.


The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting

There’s an old Chinese proverb which states, “a watched flower never blooms.” While the ancient Chinese have been given credit for inventing gunpowder, the compass, and a myriad of other inventions, it appears that they may have also been the first to realize the dangers of helicopter parenting. A popular term in today’s society, a helicopter parent is someone who constantly hovers over their child. From an early age, helicopter parents don’t merely smother their children, they try to control every aspect of their lives. Popular examples of this type of parenting are when parents call their children’s professors at college to complain about grades or continue to do everyday tasks for them such as the laundry or grocery shopping, even as adults.

Loving your children is a natural process for most people, so it’s easy to fall into this pattern of behavior. But there can also be unforeseen consequences when children are not allowed to grow into independent individuals. Many adults who were raised this way have no sense of self-reliance and haven’t figured out how to live in adult society.

This problem may be most severe, however, when we look at the parents of young addicts who have had years of substance abuse issues. Seeing a child in pain is the most difficult thing a parent can deal with, but continually trying to shield them from pain can also make them unequipped for the real world. And while addiction may be a disease of physical pain, recovery is often a process of emotional discomfort. Parents who are so used to doing everything for their children may unwittingly be damaging their child’s ability to find their own path of recovery. No matter how hard we try, we can never live our children’s lives for them or constantly protect them. Sometimes the best thing to do is let your child fall, so they can learn to pick themselves back up.