Sometimes when clients first call us to ask for help, they’re surprised when we tell them our standard recovery program lasts between six and nine months. Honestly, “annoyed” may be a better word.
“Six months?! Hell, I don’t have time to spend that long getting clean!” is a response we get a lot.
Addiction and substance use disorders are mean diseases. They take over every part of a person’s life. So, of course recovery from the disease of addiction is not instantaneous. But for a person whose very mission in life has become finding immediate gratification with his drug of choice—whether that’s actually drugs or something else like alcohol, sex or gambling—for that person, the idea that recovery is a process that takes time is a little hard to stomach.
We get it. We really do. Nine months—six months in a residential recovery center + three months in a supervised independent living setting—seems like a long time. It’s a long time to be away from your family, your job, your home, your other joys and responsibilities. But recovery doesn’t happen over night. Addiction develops over time, and so it makes sense that recovery takes a while, too.
The fact that our treatment program is nine months in length is no accident. Our program timeline, which begins after a person has gone through detox, has been continually tweaked and improved since Prescott House’s founding in 1988. It includes all of the important addiction treatment components that lead to successful recovery. Transition through each phase is contingent on client readiness. Here’s a super-oversimplified version of our recovery timeline:
- Supervision Phase: in the first couple of months we reintroduce personal life skills that may have lapsed during addiction and we initiate the 12-step process. Clients are on a “Buddy System” and are assigned a peer who is in the Stabilization Phase.
- Stabilization Phase: then, once the physical effects of the addiction have begun to fade, we start helping the client focus more on the skills he will need to eventually become self-sufficient in his new recovery lifestyle
- Aftercare: finally, when the client and his counseling support team feel he is ready to take on the responsibility of living on his own, we begin the final stage: supervised independent living
When some people think of addiction treatment, they think of just the detox step. Thirty days = my physical withdrawal has gone away = I’m all better now and I’m fixed forever and ever.
Sorry, but nope.
Detox addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal and is crucial to recovery but it’s only the first stage of addiction treatment. It’s universally acknowledged in the recovery industry that detox alone “is rarely sufficient to help addicted individuals achieve long-term abstinence.” There is so much more to recovery than just treating the physical component of the addiction to drugs or alcohol or gambling or sex or whatever. Addiction is a complex disease, so successful, lasting recovery requires multi-level treatment that addresses not just the symptoms but the underlying causes. And that can’t be rushed. Literally, that kind of counseling and therapy and processing simply cannot effectively be condensed into a period of just a few weeks or even a couple of months.
National statistics for addiction recovery are tricky to pin down because of the nature of the industry, but experts generally agree that the longer a person remains in active treatment for addiction, the more likely he is to be successful in remaining abstinent.
And really, when it comes down to it, six or nine months really isn’t that long at all when you think about getting to reclaim control of the rest of your life.
If you or someone you love wants to start the road to addiction recovery, let’s get started right away. Contact us today.