How did you find this company and how did you find yourself in this role?
So, I started Life Assurance Recovery in 2016, I had been working in the recovery field for the previous 5 years. I was working in sober living prior to that and then I started my own recovery service business. I preform interventions, my team and I provide various levels of recovery support, whether that be sober coaching, sober companions, safe sober transport to and from treatment, intensive case management, recovery counseling, life skills and things along that line.
Would you say you have a top 5 discharge planning tips for addiction treatment aftercare?
Planning: So, I think first and foremost, it is important to start planning your discharge treatment program the second you decide to go into residential treatment, or detox. It's good to have a plan in place that you can just pick up. I’ve seen a lot of times in my experience, the discharge date from the treatment center is looming and then it becomes a last-minute scramble to put the pieces in place. It gives the addict peace of mind, and their families, to know that there are treatment professionals ready and waiting to get the hand off in the transition and then make that as smooth as possible. The last thing you want to do is say “I’m leaving in two days and really need to find an addiction psychiatrist/therapist or outpatient program.” So, the more time you spend putting the pieces of the treatment puzzle into place, the better it is. It gives you a lot of confidence and peace of mind.
Safe Environment: I think first and foremost is that you have safe housing post-treatment, post discharge. A lot of people are coming from a treatment bubble in rehab treatment. I call it a treatment bubble because you’re just eating, drinking, sleeping recovery treatment and then you get discharged and the then all of a sudden you’re back with the people, places and things in the environment that got you into detox or residential treatment in the first place. So, you want to make sure that post discharge, you really have a safe place to go. That’s why I suggest sober living for the first 3-6 months post treatment.
Medication Management: I think another big thing is making sure that the medication management that you get in detox or residential treatment is successfully transitioned over to an addiction psychiatrist or MD who is well versed in addiction. A lot of the times I see clients who are prescribed medication that is just meant for detox and the early stages of recovery and then they are left on their own and time lapses in between finding someone to continue with the prescriptions, and that’s where mistakes can be made. So, getting, consulting, and incorporating these services from an addiction psychiatrist is key.
Assembling a Good Team: That’s part of assembling a good treatment team, that’s another key point. And this is something that you can do going to residential treatment or going to detox or prior to making sure that you have an addiction psychiatrist in the mix, you have an addiction therapist. Post treatment, maybe the most logical step is to go into an intensive outpatient program and making sure that you are enrolling in the right one. Everyone has their own unique, individual things they need to be treated for. Like substance abuse, maybe it is a behavioral disorder, or a mental health disorder so finding there are a lot of different outpatient programs, there are a lot of different specialties.
Communication: I think another big thing is communication. There are no perfect clients. Once they discharge from inpatient treatment, they don’t want to rock the boat. But the opposite of the isolation of addiction, is connection. So, a big part of my job is to make sure that clients start making those vital connections. Whether that is through 12 step recovery, smart recovery, volunteering or creating a sober network for themselves, breaking down the walls of isolation and getting involved. It is really important to get not only get involved in 12 step recovery or some kind of group recovery, but really find connections and get phone numbers and get people to communicate.
It seems that the terms interventionist and recovery coach are more and more prevalent in the industry, would you say you have been seeing more of that recently?
Absolutely, because it’s a good way for a client to hold themselves accountable. Its is a key point in early recovery treatment, incorporating these accountability tools like a Soberlink, drug testing, types of psychology, blood testing, all on a regular basis, meeting a recovery coach and making sure they continue to remain clean.
How is it that you came into contact with Soberlink? How did you hear about it and how did you start using it with your clients?
When I was first working in sober livings, I remember when Soberlink first came on to the scene and it was fantastic. It was especially helpful when a client maybe had a weekend pass going home to a potentially toxic environment, visiting family or going on vacation. Soberlink helped especially with these situations for accountability purposes just to make sure that the treatment plan doesn’t fall by the wayside when a client knows, and they are getting those text reminders about doing their Soberlink from this time to this time, it’s helpful to be mindful that you always have one foot firmly in your recovery program.
Would you say that for the most part that Soberlink has been received well by clients?
Yeah, and it helps, it has the flexibility of working with the client, you can switch the reminders to make sure it happens right after they wake up, clients will say that they don’t want to do it during work or when they are with company and we can schedule these things. It is small enough, and unobtrusive enough to carry around in a brief case or handbag. You can always find an extra 5 minutes to go into a private place and take care of your Soberlink.
I think it is a great tool that can be incorporated in all aspects and levels of addiction treatment. From detox to discharge from inpatient treatment. When a client starts going back to real life scenarios, it really is a way to put that thought bubble as a reminder that “Okay, I’m working on getting continuous sobriety together.” So, with the daily reminders from Soberlink, it helps to keep putting those