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The Essentials of a Treatment Plan

Supporting the Journey of Family Recovery

One of the first things that I have families begin to work on when they contact me in crisis is a Treatment Readiness Plan. This is a comprehensive plan for a years worth of treatment and support for their loved on who is in active addiction and not yet at a place to accept help. This was an essential part of my own son's willingness to seek treatment.

This plan does two things;

1. It provides the family members a valuable and needed task that helps them feel impactful, outside of trying to get someone to make changes that they are not yet ready to make. The Treatment Readiness Plan includes various levels of care and support with contacts and phone numbers. All vetted and verified for efficacy, fit, cost and insurance coverage.

2. It provides the person with Substance Use Disorder a list of contacts to initiate a conversation with, when ready, and begin discussions around what it looks like to engage in their program. Many times, the person making those calls hears from sober living programs or outpatient services that they would love to continue to support them after they have completed an initial 30, 60 or 90 program in order to establish a baseline of stabilization first. This can take away the burden of convincing someone that they need a higher level of care than they want to engage in. Good programs have admissions and points of contact that are people in recovery themselves. People who have gone through many or all of the challenges that your loved one is going through, and are trained to invite the change process in a safe way.

There are many paths to recovery and those paths do not have to look exactly alike in order to be successful, but one thing that all successful plans have is a long runway of support for those seeking help.

Experts agree that a one year plan of scaffolded support is a key component in long term recovery. Treatment should not be thought of as a jail term, or a diploma or degree program. There is not an end date. There are milestones, but recovery is a lifestyle and a life long commitment, not a piece of paper that you frame and hang on the wall.

If your conversation with your loved one can include the idea of a year long support network having the best outcome, it will be much easier for them to understand when the recovery support professionals provide that same information and suggest continued scaffolded treatment models.

Dr Kevin McCauley is a Senior Fellow at the Meadows in Wickenburg, AZ. He is the writer and director of the documentary, Pleasure Unwoven and is in long term recovery himself from Opioid Use Disorder. Please know that there are many paths towards recovery and one size or formula does not fit all people.

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