Why Evidenced-Based Long-Term Addiction Treatment Works

21 & 28-Day Treatment Was Resulting In Relapse

The year was 1988, at that time many of the 21 and 28-day rehab recovery programs were resulting in relapse within the first year. Fundamentally this is why founder, John Valentine started the Prescott House, as he saw many individuals in the community of Prescott back to using drugs and alcohol, some as soon as one month following rehab. A pioneer in the treatment community, John sought out to provide a long-term residential program to those who did not find long-term sobriety following their primary care provider. A state-licensed residential facility for men, Prescott House’s modality was one of the first of its kind in the Western states. This philosophy was structured around AA and the 12-step approach to recovery of redeveloping an individuals, mind, body, and soul. In the East, similar programs were also having success with long-term treatment, namely Alina Lodge in New Jersey, which opened in 1966 and Copac, now joined with The Ranch in Mississippi, was developed in 1979.

Short-Term Recovery Only Addresses The Immediate Issues

Most addictions are surrounded by traumatic, life-altering events such as; death of a family member or loved one, relationships ending (divorce), abuse (mental/physical), automobile accidents, health problems, career difficulties and/or financial issues. Many of these issues are very personal, shame forming and difficult to discuss. This places an individual in the position to respond with either a fight or flight response. During this time it is very easy for someone to fall into the use and abuse of substances.

Heroin has rapidly become the drug of choice and the effects of heroin use are well documented. When using heroin, morphine acts as an endorphin in the system – “endorphins help to dampen pain perception in the central nervous system” (source). This produces a euphoria which then decreases stress and relieves pain, the user then becomes dependant on the drug to continue to take away the stress and pain associated with current or past trauma. After an extended period of use, the body is no longer relying on the nervous system to handle the output of endorphins to respond to stress and now the reliance on the drug is so damaging that an individual will feel increased agony and irritation during periods that they are not using.

When an individual accepts that they are in need of recovery and that treatment is required to get sober, they generally have been using substances for a minimum of one year. Typically the first two weeks of recovery are when withdrawals are the most serious and usually require an addict to submit to a medically facilitated detox. This time is used to clean out the system and break the dependency of the substances that were abused. In the instance of a 21-day and 28-day rehabs, this leaves an individual only a week to two weeks to develop trauma and addiction resolution skills to find a sober recovery.

Research Has Proven Long-Term Treatment Is Necessary

“The changes induced by addiction do not just involve one system. There are some areas in which the changes persist even after two years.”

-Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Science and research at Yale, a private Ivy League university, has determined that the brain does not redevelop the appropriate judgment and cogent responses necessary in the cerebral cortex until an addict has reached sobriety for a minimum of ninety days. An addict’s reaction to previous environments that involved alcohol or the site of drug-like substances keeps the brain hooked to use, it’s a prompt to addiction. Resetting the brain from these addictive associations is another reason the ninety-day disconnection to old habits is essential. This research goes hand-in-hand with what addicts themselves have followed for years, as Alcoholics Annonymous request new members to attend meetings every day for ninety days. (source)

Prescott House’s 30 Years Of Long-Term Results

Relapse following initial sobriety is expected and not always viewed as a failure. Typically this is viewed as an opportunity to adjust treatment and find a program that is more effective. (source) Getting a long-term commitment from someone dealing with addiction is difficult. Many times the individuals Prescott House treats have been to a few, if not several month-long treatment facilities. This gives us the opportunity to discuss why our extended treatment for men is the solution needed for long-term sobriety. Recovery at Prescott House isn’t only about sobriety, it also requires hard work that leads one on a path of submitting, letting go, healing and learning new life skills that are essential to a healthy, happy, and productive life.

Prescott House is a brotherhood. Each and every man participating in the program hold each other accountable for each other’s actions during recovery. These qualities are not developed overnight but the freedom it provides once graduation is achieved lasts a lifetime. The proof is at our monthly Alumni Meeting, where past graduates meet to remember, rejoice and recount as graduate speaker volunteers to address the group. After 30 years, we carry the same philosophy John Valentine had since 1988 and we stand firm on the belief that long-term treatment is most effective in a therapeutic environment.

Graduation at Prescott House is determined by a thorough process. It requires completion of our residential program. During this time, reintegration into society begins with a part-time job. While still participating in AA meetings, groups and individual sessions, an off-campus residence is obtained, usually with another participant of the program. Fully committing to the life skills obtained through Prescott House, a full-time position is secured and aftercare begins. Once in aftercare, an individual develops a course of action to maintain sobriety and become a productive member of society.

Graduation isn’t determined by a specific time frame. The results of our 967 graduates show that this long-term program provides inspiration to others and themselves to continue down the path founder John Valentine once envisioned. The writing is literally on the wall, here at “The House”, each graduate provides a statement on our graduate wall to encourage newcomers to find the strength and determination within themselves to reach their fullest potential. Prescott House is Restoring Men’s Lives.

Prescott house graduate wall

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