Recovery is elusive for many people. The staff at Embrace have been supporting people at various stages of recovery for many years. We have noticed a recurrent pattern. People work hard in rehab then spend time in a sober house, building up coping strategies and working on themselves. They feel great, like they’re ready to take on the world. They feel they can handle whatever life throws at them.
Sometimes they’re right. But often, the most exciting thing about leaving treatment is also the most dangerous: freedom. When that freedom comes all at once, best intentions may be displaced by sneaky thoughts: “just one more time, nobody will know”. Sometimes the shift from structured living to complete freedom is overwhelming, and people’s routine unravels.
We have seen this happen so many times. It is sad to see months of hard work go out the window, just because that pivot point from treatment to freedom is not properly managed.
So how can we navigate that crucial moment of transition between treatment and freedom?
We have thought about this long and hard. We have explored and analyzed the what, how and why with clients who have maintained recovery and those who relapsed. Drawing on this, we have combined a selection of cutting edge evidence-based solutions to form Embrace’s Optimal Program of Recovery.
Embrace’s Optimal Program of Recovery
In short, the most reliable, watertight post-rehab recovery journey consists of two key stages.
In the first stage, you participate fully in the Embrace program, gradually building your recovery and independence.
In the second stage, the program becomes completely optional. Only curfew, counseling and recovery coaching are mandatory. You have the freedom to start building a life independently, supported by ongoing accountability and connection with the community.
We have broken the journey down into four key phases.
Phase One: Stabilization
Fresh out of rehab, you will have a period of settling in at Embrace. You will get to know the program, the area and the people in our community. Any transition comes with new challenges, and we will support you closely in finding your feet in this new environment, and adapting to the Embrace routine.
You will start working with your counselor and recovery coach to build a plan for your recovery journey here. Initially you need to be with other clients or staff when you venture out of the house. We put no restrictions on where you can go, except for the obvious no-gos such as pharmacies, bars etc.
Clients who come to Embrace to refresh their recovery, having already maintained abstinence independently for some time, will have greater freedom when they first arrive. People may choose to do a recovery refresher if they feel themselves going backwards and want to reinvigorate their recovery before they get too far off track.
Phase 2: Adapting to Freedom
During this phase, you will participate fully in our program, focusing on strengthening your recovery and working on self-development. You will practice implementing the strategies you learned in primary treatment, as well as learning some new tools. You will have the opportunity to explore new hobbies or rediscover old ones. You can explore and initiate possible next steps, such as education. You will focus on key areas of personal growth, such as meaning, purpose and direction. You can build your fitness, finding out what you enjoy most. You will play a part in the community, developing new friendships and connections.
You will have increasing freedom through this second phase, such as a sliding scale of afternoons off and the independence to explore Chiang Mai alone. This will give you the opportunity to build skills in managing triggers and challenges, and practicing coping skills.
Phase 3: Owning Your Recovery
During this phase, you will start to take ownership of your recovery. You will gradually replace our program with your own independent program of recovery. You might start attending more meetings outside the house and building connections with the local community. If you begin a study course, you can do this instead of attending groups. We will support you in evaluating your decisions, and helping you to build a sense of autonomy. This will happen faster for some than others. Everybody moves at their own pace, and we help to guide each individual on their personalized recovery journey.
Phase 4: Solidification and transition
Towards the end of Phase 3, you will have started to build a sense of independence in recovery. You may feel it is time to move on. Yet often making this jump in one go is too much. This is why Phase 4 is so important, and can be the key to making all the work you have put in count.
The Embrace program becomes optional. You are not obliged to attend exercise, excursions and groups, although many choose to. Curfew, counseling and recovery coaching remain mandatory. Continuing with this one-to-one support is invaluable in helping you to navigate this next step, to reflect on challenges, purpose and direction, and to catch any old behaviors or thought patterns early.
You will remain connected to the Embrace community whilst building your own independence. This is vital as it means you do not suddenly find yourself dropping off a cliff edge, going from close support and connection, to being on your own. Having that ongoing accountability as you transition to independent living can be the difference between thriving from independence, and being overwhelmed by it, allowing those sneaky thoughts to lead you astray. There is a strong focus on personal responsibility, maturity and healthy decision making.
This transition phase is significantly cheaper than the first three phases.