Successfully completing a rehabilitation program is a crucial first step in addiction recovery, as well as a commendable accomplishment. Statistically, a majority of individuals suffering from addiction never take this first, crucial step. However, “first” is the operative word.
Holding on to Sobriety
Acquiring sobriety and sustaining sobriety are different, and individuals who do not participate in aftercare services and peer-support groups are prone to relapse. While stabilization and rehabilitation is a short-term component of recovery, addiction is a life-long disorder.
Recently, the Institute of Behavior and Health introduced a long-term strategy to reduce relapse and foster sustained sobriety called the New Paradigm for Recovery.
“Addiction is life-long and treatment is brief,” explains Robert DuPont, the President of the Institute of Behavior and Health.
“We need to shift our thinking about treatment from the current focus on short-term episodes to long-term recovery management.”
Setting High Recovery Expectations
The New Paradigm for Recovery is modeled after the Physician Health Program, a treatment program designed specifically for doctors battling addiction. By successfully participating, doctors may seek treatment, keep their license and return to practice.
This study shows the way to make recovery, not relapse, the expected outcome of addiction treatment.-Robert DuPont The duration of the Physician Health Program, however, typically lasts for five years. And the consequences of noncompliance will generally result in license revocation.
The Institute of Behavior and Health conducted the first nationwide study of the Physician Health Program’s effectiveness, discovering that, even after the five years of monitoring, most physicians remained abstinent from both drugs and alcohol.
“This study shows the way to make recovery, not relapse, the expected outcome of addiction treatment,” explains DuPont.
Details of a Long-Term Recovery Plan
The New Paradigm for Recovery model begins with a signed, mutual agreement between the participant and a supervising party – such as a legal authority, family member, partner or employer. Requirements like 12-Step participation and random drug and alcohol testing are typically involved in this agreement.
Much like the Physician Health Program, the New Paradigm for Recovery plan also encourages actionable consequences for noncompliance.
Studies conclude that relapse rates correlate directly with an individual’s length of sobriety time. The longer you’re sober, the more likely you’ll remain sober.
Although the intensity of this particular long-term model, and its five-year duration, may not be for everyone, individuals with multiple relapses could benefit immensely from the structure, supervision and accountability of long-term recovery management.
Additional Reading: Recovery Roadblocks: The Addict’s Art of Self-Sabotage
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