The Lighthouse Recovery 365
Mission for 2020
by Cini Shaw, Executive Director of The Lighthouse Recovery 365
Recover Restore Rebuild
The traditional approach to working with individuals with substance use disorders, a chronic disease, has been to wait until an acute crisis occurs, “let them hit bottom,” i.e., they lose their job, their spouse files for a divorce, they have a car accident, experience a run-in with the law, require an emergency room visit or suffer an overdose. Their house is on fire and of course, we must help them put that fire out.
I cannot think of any other chronic disease where we wait until someone is in crisis before we address it! If someone has high blood pressure, we do not wait until they have a stroke to treat them or provide support. That would be unconscionable.
However, for those suffering from a substance use disorder too often, we wait for a crisis. In response, we send them to inpatient treatment to get medical and psychiatric attention. There they are safely detoxed from their substance of choice, and co-occurring issues may be addressed. While there, they attend groups and make significant recovery connections. They begin to heal within the safety of this protected setting. They improve so much. Everyone is delighted! Then we discharge them back to the same environment they became ill in and used substances in without the practice or experience of living their recovery in that space and without providing regular checkups for them. They relapse and we wonder why. They just had the best in patient experience available. How could this be? Follow-ups and recovery support are standard for any other chronic disease. They must become standard this one.
How can we achieve this? Recovery support services: sober living, recovery coaching, recovery community organizations, must become the rule, not the exception for those healing from substance use and mental health issues!
Dr. John Kelly’s research suggests that, as with other chronic diseases, a continuum of recovery supports is essential during the first year of recovery www.recoveryanswers.org .
Trey Laird and I recently had the honor of spending an afternoon with Dr. Kelly at the Recovery Research Institute in Boston, and we talk about just this – an evidence-based shift to a focus on recovery, not just symptom management.
Energized by our meeting with Dr. Kelly and fueled with his research on recovery, our 2020 mission at The Lighthouse Recovery 365 is to build out this evidence-based recovery continuum of care. We are committed to supporting individuals with substance use and mental health disorders live and practice their recovery in their community. We are committed to providing entrance to this continuum of care wherever a person is in their recovery: sober curious, in recovery and facing a transition or challenge, while in outpatient, while in an intensive outpatient or post-acute care.
Recommending a continuum of recovery support services is generally the exception. The Lighthouse Recovery 365 believes these crucial services should be the EXPECTATION and we are uniquely poised with our sober living and recovery coaching services to provide this continuum of care to individuals and families in the tristate area.