Building a community of support after substance abuse treatment


Billy Crystal once said, “Kids need a happy household. They need to be loved and supported in their dreams. And I don’t think you can make your kids’ dreams your own. They need you to support them in their dreams.” No matter what the age, people will always need support in the place they call home. Beyond a house or apartment, but the home made in one’s heart through the bonds of others.

After treatment: the rest of the story

For many people who struggle with substance abuse and complete treatment, the battle is not over yet. Following treatment, comes the process of slowly rebuilding one’s life and re-joining society. While a key necessity in recovery, a support network may not be enough.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, explains the four main requirements of recovery.  SAMHSA describes community in this context as, “Having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.” The other requirements include health, hope and purpose. This support is not built in a day and needs more than friends and family.

SAMHSA adds, “The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways.” There is no single cure for substance abuse. Which is why support is crucial after substance abuse treatment. Studies have found benefits to community house settings for those following rehabilitation and treatment.

Beyond treatment and into society

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researched by Leonard A. Jason, Ph.D., and others, measures the effects of community house settings after initial substance abuse treatment. The 150 participants had completed recovery and were split into two groups. One group continued living at a community treatment house known as the Oxford House, while the other group continued through support groups and out-patient therapy.

Jason and researchers found, “At the 24-month follow-up, those in the Oxford House condition compared with the usual-care condition had significantly lower substance use,” of 31 percent compared to 64 percent. For those currently in recovery and treatment, this style of living does not have to be a long term goal. People struggling with addiction do not need to view a treatment facility or community style house as the final destination; rather the station of departure.

Those in treatment-style homes may soon move back in with their parents or find their own home when they are ready. White River Academy is a school for troubled boys ages 12 to 17, struggling with mental, behavioral and substance abuse issues. One of the key elements of the program for White River Academy is to have the boys become involved in the local community and learn how to invest in society through student selected service leadership projects. This is a prime example of a treatment center helping those in recovery to find their own drive and healthy interests in life. Once the boys graduate, they can move back in with their families if they so choose and continue on the path towards a brighter future.

White River Academy is located in Delta, Utah and the educational program focuses on instilling character values, promoting positive growth and investment in the community. For more information or to register, feel free to call 866-520-0905.

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