Four levels to complete the 12 Steps
The first contact a client has with AARC is in the admission phase. There are then four levels of progress as client’s complete the 12 steps. On graduation, clients may continue their relationship with AARC indefinitely, through aftercare programs of up to 12 months, but also through participation in the alumni community. Here is an overview of a typical client experience, lasting approximately 10 months.
Admission to AARC
Clients are most often admitted to AARC by concerned parents or guardians. Many are facing the desperate impacts of addiction in their family and addressing those impacts quickly is our goal. That said, thorough assessment criteria and standards are paramount to our admission procedures. AARC sets out a detailed process for families seeking information and, if necessary, admission to the program.
Phase one: Pre-assessment
Pre-assessment provides an opportunity for families to learn about AARC’s program and community in detail, and to ask questions. It also allows AARC to learn about the impacts the family is facing. The outcome of this meeting could result in a formal assessment, connection to members of the alumni community for further discussion, or referral to more appropriate resources.
Phase two: Assessment
A formal assessment is a well-planned and highly structured session attended by the family and adolescent, and led members of AARC’s clinical team. The intent is to determine the level of addiction faced by the adolescent and suitability of AARC’s program for treatment. The outcome of the assessment could result in admission to AARC’s program or referral to more appropriate resources.
Phase three: External Assessment
External assessment of the client is carried out by an independent addiction expert to provide an objective opinion of a substance dependence disorder and, where applicable, to confirm or further identify any comorbidity issues. The outcome of this assessment determines whether the client meets the criteria for AARC’s long-term treatment program.
Level 1: STRUCTURED RECOVERY PROGRAM BEGINS
The first level focuses on the client’s ability to recognize the need to begin a treatment program.
Clinical work is directed towards assisting clients in understanding that they suffer from a disease and that their life is unmanageable. The client begins to honestly confront the consequences of past behaviour as they experience a structured recovery program. The client is involved in structured day treatment seven days per week. The primary treatment modality is in line with AA’s 12 steps and includes group therapy, complemented by ongoing one-on-one sessions.
Denial is one of the major barriers to understanding the impact of addiction, specifically for adolescents. Each client must overcome a great deal of personal denial through honest confrontation. Working through denial is often the most challenging therapeutic goal on level one.
The client’s progress is evaluated, with their input, by the clinical team in order to assess and update an individual’s treatment plan. The client stays in Recovery Homes at night, under supervision, and is mentored by a peer counsellor.
Level 2: REBUILDING FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
At this point of treatment, the focus is on family issues and rebuilding family relationships.
The client returns home and begins to put into practice new skills that promote positive family relationships. The client is now given the responsibility of mentoring new clients, hosting them in their home and supporting their recovery. The healing process begins and the shame and guilt of the past is confronted.
The client continues their involvement in the structured day treatment and, at this point, is still in day treatment six days a week, with one day of recreational time spent with the Recovery Home family.
Level 3: INTERMEDIATE RECOVERY MEANS RETURN TO SCHOOL OR WORK
At this stage of the program, the client returns to either work or school.
The challenge at this level is to develop healthy relationships in the community. It is also a time to rebuild damaged relationships.
The previous work in their recovery program provides a client with the self-confidence to return to environments that may have contributed to their difficulties. As they experience success in these arenas, their recovery programs are strengthened. During this stage, the client must rely on the skills that they have learned to maintain their recovery program, and begin to seek the support of those peers who have successfully managed such pressure by successfully applying the skills developed in the program.
Each client is assisted in planning their recovery program by setting realistic goals and developing effective school study and work habits, in addition to relationship skills. The AARC career program is an integral part of this level. Clients are now involved in intensive treatment after school or work; they attend the program Monday to Friday in the evenings and all day Saturday. Sundays are spent away from the centre enjoying recreational activities with other clients and families.
Level 4: ADVANCED RECOVERY IS A LIFE WITHOUT DRUGS
The fourth level goal is to develop the constructive use of leisure time without the reliance on drugs.
Treatment focuses on the continued development of healthy family relationships and non-chemical coping and problem-solving skills.
Clients learn that they can have fun without chemicals by experiencing the joy of recovery. They discover the intrinsic rewards of being responsible, disciplined and giving back. Clients learn how successful integration into continued recovery in AA is key to long term sobriety and relapse prevention.
The adolescent relies less on the day treatment peer group and begins to rely more on community support services and the AA community. At this stage, they assume greater responsibility for their daily activities and take the initiative in managing their own recovery program.
The completion of treatment involves graduation to a drug-free lifestyle. Clients are now involved in the outpatient stage of treatment. Time in the program is based on individual schedules, given work, school or family commitments. Clients remain involved at the center six days a week. At a minimum, they attend level 4 group sessions three times a week. Group sessions allow level 4 clients to process their experiences in this transition phase.
AARC also provides support as clients plan a successful exit from treatment. AARC helps clients to find an AA home group, an AA sponsor, and become a part of the wider recovery community.
As clients progress through the stages of treatment, the capacity and the opportunity for self-determination grows. It is anticipated that as the client nears graduation, the client will be making significant decisions about education, work, leisure, AA community, and key relationships. Clients strategize the support necessary for their aftercare and continued success.
Aftercare provides access to support recovery groups for graduates and all family members. The focus of groups is on relapse prevention and allows the client and/or his/her family long-term access to support and assistance in the maintenance of a recovery program.
The average length of stay in aftercare is six months to a year and includes regularly scheduled recovery groups, family therapy and individual therapy. Additionally, it may include six months of access to help in managing his/her recovery and relapse prevention plan. After this period, the client may attend aftercare groups for continued support.The goal of aftercare is integration into the community support network