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Archive for Effective Addiction Treatment

Following Your Continuing Care Plan Is The Key To Sobriety – 1st step Interventions

logoLet’s face it the majority of people come to Sobriety via a Treatment Program and when they leave they get a Continuing Care Plan. Just like when you leave after being in a hospital you get going home instructions. There is a reason for it. In Recovery your Continuing Care Plan is your Road Map to “A Lasting Focus On Recovery”

success failureWhether you are a patient or a Family Member, you should be 100% familiar with what is on the Continuing Care Plan. This is going to be the key to your success or failure in Recovery, and this affects the Family too, so there is no reason for the Family not to be included in what is on it. Addiction is a Chronic Brain Disease that is never going to go away, taking care of it daily then should be a priority. In my Addiction Care Management practice I make it a point for the Patient to share with the Family their Continuing Care Plan. My private practice is located in the 100 miles around San Francisco, so I cover Sacramento, Sonoma County, Marin County, Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County, all the way down to Carmel and over to Fresno and Stockton. I also know from personal experience and all that I have seen working in this field for 15 years with over 1000+ Addicts and Families and having performed over 350+ Interventions, that following the Continuing Care Plan works.

I often ask myself if this is the case, then why do 80% of the people who leave treatment relapse – I have figured out a few reasons and please pay attention to these – relapse out of treatment may mean the difference between your life and death. This is mostly because Narcotics users and some Alcoholics have been used to having high tolerances and when they relapse they use what they were using before, not really realizing that 28 days of not using has diminished their tolerance – and they overdose or their organs (particularly heart) give out.

  • Human Nature – When we feel better we stop doing what was working. How many with the flu who get 10 Antibiotic pills don’t take the last 2 or 3 because they feel better. Or if you lost 20 lbs, stop doing what got you there and next thing you know you are back 20lbs heavier again. It pays to have additional on going Professional Care after Treatment that can keep you on track.
  • Issues Post Treatment – We don’t realize in Rehab that afterwards other potential issues can raise their ugly head – what do we do then. If we are not following our Continuing Care Plan we tend not to have the support to deal with these negative internal feelings and since our coping skills are not there yet, we medicate them.
  • Don’t’ take AA or NA seriously – too many people get caught up in the fact that the word God is in the 12 steps – who cares when the 12 steps are going to save your life. Being a member of a 12 Step Group or community doesn’t mean you just go to meetings, say nothing and leave. That’s like saying your a chicken just because you’re sitting in a chicken coup. Being a member means you have worked the program and that means having a Sponsor and working the 12 Steps.
  • Families do not become members of Al Anon or CoDA (Codependents Anonymous), therefore they stay stuck and unable to discuss with the Patient issues related to the Patient not following their Continuing Care Plan. If you sign up for Addiction Care Management and have a Professional helping they are also helping the Family through this time of early sobriety and keeping the focus on them and their feelings so they can break the cycle of codependency and enabling.
  • The biggest mistake Patients and Families make after Treatment is – “The Patient is Fixed” – you could not be farther from the truth. Let’s break down treatment. 1st week into 2nd is Detox and the Patient can barely function let alone hear what is being said. 3rd week is usually Family Week and the Patient is all nervous about that and focusing their attention on that. 4th week they are making plans to leave and are focused there. Then it is over. It seems then why bother and the answer is – Absolutely Bother –  the results are subtle, yet HUGE and what you get if you continue working with and on them by following your Continuing Care Plan is an almost guarantee of Long-Term Sobriety.

No one ever said Sobriety was easy – I have read about every book on the subject and I have yet to come across those words. What they do say is Sobriety is possible for everyone – “If They Follow Their Continuing Care Plan” If you have spent a lot of money on Treatment, Intervention and helping a Patient get back on their feet post Treatment if their Addiction cost them everything, then what does it hurt to spend a little more and add Addiction Care Management and the “Giant Benefits” you get from a program like it. The benefit of adding it through 1st Step Interventions is we are the first the found the model 3 years ago and since then have helped more Patients than anyone else with it and that experience is worth every penny. Also, almost 100% of the patients we did Interventions on were signed up for Addiction Care Management and today I am proud to say each and everyone is still working a Recovery Program and following their Continuing Care Plan.

Sobriety is the best thing that can happen to an Addict and their Family – take it seriously and take all that you are suggested seriously. We at 1st Step Interventions wish you the Courage to walk every day in the footprints of Recovery and face the wreckage of your past, because once you do that it doesn’t get easy, but it sure gets easier!

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Sobering Addiction Facts

AddictionWE have, I believe as a Society become so numbed to Addiction the growing number of drunks and addicts on the street or another article in a Celebrity Magazine about the latest Celebrity Alcohol or Related Death that I get scared that it is causing us as this Society to stop realizing that from year to year, Decade to Decade since just when the War On Drugs was started by President Nixon the problems is growing and progressing and affecting our Children at an alarming rate. I thought I would share what is Addiction and then some facts to get us thinking again about this problem. The Addiction Industry is in shambles with horrifying relapse rates and essentially no lobbying help up in Washington and no forward thinking individuals willing to challenge the Treatment Industry to get out of Treating this Chronic illness with and Acute illness model and to stop putting profits ahead of taking a real hard look at what is broken.



  •  “A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”

ASAM, April 11, 2011

  • Chronic relapsing disorder characterized by drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviors despite negative consequences.


PillsAddiction Facts:

  • Lifetime prevalence: 12%
  • Causes 20% of all deaths per year
  • Costs in excess of $600 Billion per year
  • 1/3 of all hospital in-patient costs are addiction related

(SAMHSA, 2011 NSDUH; Ries, et al., 2009)

  • Addiction makes up 25% of primary care patient visits.

(Jones et al., Am. Fam. Physician, 2003)

  • 2 million of the 2.3 million incarcerated Americans have histories of alcohol or substance abuse

(U.S. Department of Justice, 2006)

  • $28 Billion to treat 40 million Americans with

substance use disorders

(CASA at Columbia University, 2011

  • There are over 28 million people suffering from addiction

and less than 12% receive treatment.


  • 40-60% of people relapse after drug and alcohol treatment.


  • 80% relapse rate with opioid dependence.



What I believe is happening as the problem of the Disease of Addiction gets worse, to cope, Families and Spouses fall into the unspoken result of Addiction at an alarming rate:



Changing your own behavior to adapt, ignore, struggle or otherwise cope with another person’s substance abuse problem. Some of the behaviors that families, friends and co-workers adopt are called “enabling”. Enabling is action that you take to protect the person with the problem from the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, enabling actually helps him or her to not deal with the problem.


Final Thoughts:

It is time for a real Organization to rise up in the Addiction’s field and help solve several problems that are not being addressed.

  1. Treatment in it’s current format does not work. An Organization needs to be first honest enough to say it and secondly capable of looking forward for solutions that work and might make it so all of these Private Pay Centers need to put some of their profit back into the Center towards solutions that work.
  2. Long Term Addiction Care Management™ needs to be built into the Continuum of Addiction Care. Much like Diabetics are seen regularly after their initial diagnosis and treatment experience.
  3. While 12 step Programs are great, and this writer is an active member, having them as the only real Continuing Care solution handed out to Patients leaving Treatment Programs is and old archaic way of treating this Disease.
  4. Someone needs to keep watch over the Pharmacology Industry as it tries to sells us more drugs to get us of off drugs – does this seem weird and scary to only me? Read my Blog on Detox meds becoming the norm in abstinence instead of staying on the Detox unit. At rapids amounts they are showing up in our High Schools.
  5. Intervention needs to be regulated, taken off TV where it is made to seem like a joke or Meeting that is fun to watch like a car wreck. Intervention is a serious Model for getting an Addicted Brain full of Denial into Help. Many reputable Intervention Companies, like 1st Step Interventions act with Integrity and have all of the required licenses, Certifications and Insurance to ensure the process is Professional, Ethical and has high success rates.
  6. Insurance companies need to be made to have Parity towards sick patients with the disease of addiction just like any other.