Our rehab clinic is completely unique in that we offer our clients two evidence-based complete abstinence recovery programmes, with the strengths programme being an essential part of the treatment. Each client will discuss with their focal counsellor, on admission, which of the programmes is likely to work best for them in their long-term and the ongoing recovery in the community. Our clients also have the option of swapping or combining both programmes.
The most important thing is that they find a programme of recovery that works for them, that will help them grow in their recovery, and that they believe in. We are the only rehab clinic in the UK to offer two types of programme; we recognise that not all clients respond to 12 Step, usually due to misunderstanding the basic principles; this is why we teach both modules at our clinic. We want our clients to take ownership of their own recovery and find a programme that they are able to follow and practise in their daily lives on leaving the treatment environment.
This therapeutic model follows an eight-stage approach. The importance of a systematic model is that clients can map their progress from one stage to the next, which is important in early recovery, where targets and goals should be thought about in small, measurable and achievable ways.
Each module moves on from the successful completion of the preceding module. Although it is possible to do all 8 modules, the programme has been designed in such a way that there is a variety of worksheets contained within each module. Therefore, although each module is necessary to do in order, the worksheets and activities within them are flexible and adaptable according to the individual’s specific treatment requirements.
The overall model is designed to move away from the traditional ‘defects’ models, where early treatment often involves breaking the denial surrounding their addiction. Addicts normalise their lifestyle as they know no other way. By emphasising not only the negative consequences and effects of drugs and alcohol, but the client also starts to understand that the common factor in all of their consequences and behaviours is him or herself.
Take away the alcohol and drugs and they are left with themselves, their emotions, thoughts and feelings. The core principles of our strengths module teaches them how to move away from destructive and negative behaviours and concentrate on growing and improving themselves and their assets.
The Strengths therapeutic module is designed to run alongside and enhance the other therapeutic treatments that we deliver, without conflict. Our strengths programme runs concurrently with our timetable of other therapeutic treatments, as does our 12 step model of recovery.
Strengths Programme: Important Milestones
Each Strengths module is explained in greater detail here:
This is the first stage of the programme and is designed to help the client centre themselves. It is a road map, a ‘YOU ARE HERE’ in their lives and environment. It has the added value of, when shared with peers, allowing their peers to know them as a whole person. The life story is read out during group, and can be very challenging to many clients and will bring up a lot of painful memories. It is a very important start to the individual’s recovery and starts the opening up process.
Once a client has had a look at his or her whole life, the next stage is to look closely and honestly at the reasons that have brought them to the stage of needing intensive treatment to survive. The abuse of alcohol and/or drugs, destructive behaviours, co-occurring illnesses and process addictions play a big part in this, but this is only part of the bigger picture.
Although there is much truth in the concept of addiction as a failed attempt at self-healing or self-medicating, many treatment models take this concept too far and almost ignore actual drugs/alcohol in the pursuit of personal insight and growth. We are placing addiction at the centre of our treatment model by looking immediately and intensively at the client’s using history and its effects and consequences on his or her life and their loved ones.
It is natural for an addict to grieve the loss of their addiction, again this is part of the healing and realisation process. There will have been times when alcohol, drugs and certain behaviours will have served them well. As a progressive illness, over time, addiction only ever gets worse, the consequences get more severe and can lead to death. This part of the module helps them to track their past, the consequences and come to understand themselves better so that they can make positive and informed choices moving forward.
The client is now at a point where there has been much focus on the ‘negative’ – their life and their use; they are now at the point where they are going to start to make changes in their lives. It is crucial that, at this point, they concentrate on their strengths (as they are going to need all of them).
This module is designed to help them understand the great resources they have to rely upon but also to help raise their self-esteem to a point where personal change seems both possible, achievable and worthwhile.
Addicts usually suffer from extremely low self-esteem and self-worth, this module helps them to move away from negative defects and consequences and shows them how to embrace change through utilising their strengths and positive attributes.
Many of the Worksheets in this section of the programme are of the ITEP mapping style and we start with what the client would like to change NOW. This is based on the idea that, before the process of recovery can begin to gain momentum, it is necessary for the client to change certain attitudes and behaviours that are keeping them stuck. It psychoanalytical terms, this is called ‘fixated’, where someone is unable to progress to the next stage of personal development and remains trapped.
The feeling of being trapped, of going around and round in circles, is a very common experience for people in addiction and it is this ‘trapped-ness’ that this module is designed to tackle. Through using SMART goals, the individual can start to make small positive changes with the support of our team, their peers and counsellors.
The process of going through the goal setting worksheets in the previous section of the programme should have highlighted certain emotional issues and potential blocks to recovery. The work each day in the Process Groups will also have highlighted certain areas of difficulty. We may find, for example, that fear plays a large part in hindering progress, or certain behaviours such as dishonesty or issues around relationships.
In parallel with the goals process, we have the opportunity now, in these “Personal Issues” worksheets, to help the clients explore these particular problematic areas. They are very effective when read out in group. Clients can revisit goals in the light of what this module has taught them about themselves; it provides the individual with great insight into the deep rooted issues that need to be unearthed, treated and healed.
Recovery models that try to ignore the client’s past and the consequences of their actions, although well-meaning, do a great disservice to the client. An attitude of ‘it wasn’t your fault, don’t think about it’ is not very realistic when you have clients who think about it all the time. Many addicts live in a world of guilt, shame, remorse, anger and fear. Theses emotions are a driving force to active addiction.
A healthier attitude involves acknowledging that, although much of what happened was not the client’s fault, there are relationships to rebuild and feelings of guilt and remorse to deal with. The solution therefore is to incorporate into the programme, an opportunity to take an honest look at the past (not from a denial busting, ego-deflation point of view, but from a healing point of view).
This is a powerful and important part of the healing process; it helps to rebuild relationships and clear the wreckage of their past. Through the amends process (which is also incorporated into the 12 step module) the client will feel an immense shift inside as they come to realise the power of putting things right to the best of their ability.
This module evaluates the progress the client has made so far; it allows them to see in black and white how far they have come from active addiction and into recovery. This is the whole point of the Recovery Review worksheet. There are some basic rules when managing change from active addiction, the first two of which are very important:
Rule 1: Don’t let it kill you. (be kind to yourself, allow for personal rest and reflection, don’t drown yourself in unrealistic targets, goals and expectations).
Rule 2. Start from where you are now. (this involves not wading in and changing everything. Contrary to popular belief, our clients sometimes do not need to change everything.
The Strengths aspect of the programme will have highlighted the fact that our clients have considerable personal resources at their disposal. The Recovery Review looks at their resources at this time and progress made so far, before looking at the longer-term goals for the future.
In this module, the client is encouraged to make goals for the future that are realistic and achievable. It is at this point that clients ought to be planning for ongoing support such as self-help groups and aftercare options.
This module covers the ongoing work that is necessary for long term recovery and reflects the maintenance stage of the Stages of Change Model. Relapse prevention is not something that should be given to clients on graduation, but is something that they should learn to do while still in the supportive, structured and disciplined environment of our treatment centre.
The worksheets in this unit, are recommended for clients to do, in one form or another, for the rest of their lives. They involve reflecting on the day’s events (addictive clients have a strong tendency to let things build up to unmanageable levels, especially when it comes to emotions).
Clients can set themselves reasonable goals and targets and, most importantly, become more self aware and reflective on the behaviours that they need to change. As well as the worksheets, it is important clients make sure that they follow the plans made in the previous module, especially around self-help and aftercare groups and all activities that have a measured, forward-looking aspect to them such as college, work, etc.
For many years Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn has been referring clients to a network of sober living communities, throughout the country we have a lot of successful relationships with providers, to assist clients in relocating or building upon their foundation of recovery.
For any individual that has come from a dysfunctional, rootless lifestyle, sober living further ensures their recovery and helps to prepare them for integration back into society, substance and addiction free.
Benefits of sober living community:
If you have any further questions relating to our Strengths module, 12 step module or any other aspect of our treatment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help, and our passion lies in witnessing addicts recovering and reuniting with their friends and family and living life sober and clean on life’s terms.