Recently the National Treatment Agency a United Kingdom agency, released a report on its findings for drug treatment and recovery in 2010 – 2011. The agency found that the integration of recovery into treatment is integral to successful completion of the treatment stay and minimizes returns to treatment. Throughout the United States agencies have long utilized the Twelve Step approach in treatment. However, the trend today is a community integration approach.
What does that mean? Individuals live in community based half-way houses or supervised houses operated by the treatment agency. They are transported to the treatment center during the day for 6 to 8 hours and then transported back to the residence. In the evening they are then shipped to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or in the case of the so called “Faith Based” track, off to Celebrate Recovery once a week.
This is not recovery integration or mutual support. What is the benefit of bringing a van load of people into an AA meeting in which they sit together often in the back where they talk and play grab-ass, rarely get involved in the meeting, and are up and down to the latrine? They are distracted, distracting and not gaining the benefit of the experience. They begin to build a false sense of what AA, NA or CR actually is and when they are discharged they fail to utilize mutual support for recovery growth.
What is recovery integration? Teaching the history, benefits, role, and process of Twelve-Step programs or other related programs such as Smart Recovery. Utilizing sober coaches, facilitators and counselors with significant recovery experience and professional training that actually work with the clientele as a recovered mentor. Too often in my career have I watched individuals in recovery become therapists that then “TELL” a client what to do. They push and utilize techniques that have no chance of working effectively. Sure their intentions are pure but the outcomes are terrible.
An effective use of “para-professionals”, therapeutic professionals, medical professionals with a team approach is the model that is and has met with the best success. Simply shipping people off to AA at night for recovery integration is ridiculous and ineffective to say the least.