|Photo by Scott Lee|
The first three month involves a stabilization period where clients receive intensive group therapy, individual counseling, while attending classes in social integration, health issues, relapse-prevention, recovery dynamics, alcohol and drug ABC's, and required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Upon completing the stabilization period, the clients have the choice of moving into a Transitional Treatment program, a long term transitional program for up to two years, helping the veteran to secure a job, disability pension, education, vocational rehabilitation, housing and stability. During this period the client attends, life skills education focusing on reintegration, budget planning, anger management, coping skills, self-worth, goal setting, relationships, and others that assist clients in achieving self-sufficiency and relapse prevention. Chemical dependency education seeks to reinforce what each resident has learned about himself and his addiction. Small group and counseling sessions address problems as they arise, further ensuring stability and long-term sobriety.
The clients reside in a communal dormitory setting with a set of house written rules and unwritten rules governing their behavior and actions. Followed by consequences for violating the community norms which the clients help establish and govern through democratic standards and a voting process in a whole house therapeutic community. The setting has a more open and less restrictive feel than most comparable organizations allowing the clients to interact similarly as they would outside the program as most addicts and alcoholics can conform to institutionalization without arresting their addictions and behaviors. In this way old behavior patterns can be recognized, addressed and then modified as the clients engage and challenge one another on addictive behavior and address grievances within the Therapeutic Community.
The principles behind the accountability system entail the precept that what I may see in you probably has some bearing on me, due to the process of projective identification. By recording client's violations of the rules, the individual will be forced to look at similar behaviors in themselves. Clients have the expectation of recording infractions to any rule breaking, along with questionable behavior. The written accountabilities are then addressed in the next Community meeting.
The community has a hierarchy of "elders" who have graduated from the program and have moved into the Transition Program that helps the new guys to assimilate and adapt to the structure of the house. From the elders, the community chooses by a vote who will represent them and serve as "house monitors" to become mediators between the caseworkers and clients. The elders decide who qualify for advancement on a leveling system that delineates the client's progression. Levels one through three equates to the stabilization period, whereupon completion of level four the client can move into the transitional living dorm where they have extra freedoms, less restrictions and two man rooms. Upon qualifying the clients can move into subsidized housing through Shelter-Plus Care; a section-eight based program for individuals with chemical dependency and or mental health issues. When ready, clients move into housing within the community after establishing an aftercare plan with regular follow-up case management.