Recovery often looks very different from one person to the next. Some programs use the 12-steps, some are spiritually focused, and others may have strict and rigid rules for treatment and recovery. At Lakehouse Recovery Center, we believe in empowering our patients to take control over their recovery. If that means focusing on the 12-steps, that’s fine. If that means turning to spirituality, that’s okay too. It’s okay because if something works for you, helps you through treatment, and helps you maintain recovery, that’s what matters most.
At Lakehouse, we don’t believe in creating strict, rigid treatment programs designed to work for every individual. We believe in individualized treatment and that you should have a say in what that treatment entails.
Commonalities Within Treatment Programs
In the same way that we feel it’s essential for patients to feel empowered in their treatment, it’s also crucial that adjustments be made to a treatment program when necessary. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) outlines it well in their publication on the five stages of treatment that “as clients move through different stages of recovery, treatment must move with them, changing therapeutic strategies and leadership roles with the condition of the clients.” This importance is based on the fact that treatments, methods, and interventions that work well in the earliest stages of recovery may not work as well as a person progresses, which in turn can be harmful.
Other reasons it would be necessary to make intervention and treatment adjustments include:
- Recovery and treatment stages will not always agree ideally for all individuals; it depends on the person and where they are at in their recovery.
- There is no specific timeline for recovery; individuals will progress and change within their treatment plan at different rates than others.
- Therapeutic intervention doesn’t always include a clinician. Some individuals stop using drugs, alcohol, or whichever addictive agent they may struggle with without going through a treatment program. It’s important to consider this, especially if the patient has not worked alongside a clinician in their recovery before.
Understanding the Early Stages of Treatment
During the early stages of treatment, patients will often be in one of these stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, or early action. In these early stages, it’s typical for patients to have mixed feelings about the treatment, such as if they’re truly ready to end substance use, which is normal. Even the most committed patients will still experience some sense of ambivalence at times.
The earliest stages of recovery are also when cognitive function is at its most impaired, so it can often be difficult for patients to think clearly while trying to get sober. Others, who have not entered into treatment by their own choice, but due to health complications, or mandates, may also have a more difficult time accepting the treatment program. In these earliest stages, many find themselves in a state of deep emotional turmoil due to feelings of guilt, shame, depression, and anger associated with being in treatment.
It’s also important to be mindful and cautious of some patients’ future desires–whether or not they’ve voluntarily entered treatment. A misconception among many is that once the immediate threat that influences the decision to enter recovery is over, they can return to a routine of moderate recreational use.
Early Recovery Stages
The early stage of recovery, post substance abstinence, is designed to repair and heal any damage arising from substance use. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine has published research on the early recovery stages, more specifically on relapse prevention and the five rules of recovery. This article claims that the process can take two to three years. During this stage, patients work to overcome the feelings of guilt, shame, anger, or depression that they may still be experiencing. Other goals the early stage entails include:
- Overcoming negative self-doubts and thought via cognitive therapy
- Understanding that the person is not the addiction
- Mending broken relationships
- Prioritizing their self-care in their recovery
- Improving and finding balance in their lifestyle
- Continuing group meetings and therapy
- Finding alternative coping methods other than substance use
Similar tasks are necessary and include what is referred to as the growth stage. It’s here that a patient can focus on cultivating skills that they may have not yet acquired, the very things that led to substance use. Emphasis is also placed on self-care and ongoing participation in group meetings, as a lack of these could lead to a relapse.
While there are many commonalities between treatment programs and the early stages of treatment and recovery for many individuals, there is no standard treatment program that works well for everyone. Just as individuals and their life situations differ, so should a treatment plan. Many programs believe rigidity and strict rules make a treatment plan successful, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe some may need a little tough love, but we believe that compassion, empathy, and self-empowerment make a successful treatment experience. At Lakehouse Recovery, we prioritize individualized patient care. With intensive outpatient programs, virtual and in-person group therapy, and a curriculum that focuses on the needs of each patient, we feel we have the tools to help you get started on your road to recovery. To learn more about us, our programs, and read the testimonies from past patients, please visit our website or call us at (877) 762-3707 to start your path to recovery today!