Here at New England Recovery and Wellness Center, we utilize a completely holistic approach to treatment and recovery. We don’t simply focus on the substances of addiction and detox. We believe in healing the mind, body, and spirit. For the next few weeks, we would like to highlight some key aspects of our program that contribute to sustainability and a positive outlook on life. This week, we spoke with Josh New, the Clinical Director at New England Recovery & Wellness, about his role in the outpatient program.

What sets the RAW clinical program apart from other facilities?

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What sets us apart from other facilities is that we focus on not just one particular area. A lot of programs operate on the principles of the 12 Steps, which we do focus on as well. But we offer people the opportunity to explore other avenues in case the 12 Steps or AA is not their thing. We want people to find their thing and what works for them. Some people like a combination of treatment methods, and other people are more particular. And that’s perfectly fine. That is what we are here for. We want them to have more tools in the toolbox to prepare them to move on in their recovery.

Can you give an overview of the clinical program?

First 30 Days at RAW

We have an outpatient program affiliated with sober living programs that provides structure and accountability while our staff provides support and direction. Phase 1 of the program is the first 30 days. It is comprised of 6 hours a day of clinical groups and psychoeducation. Clients get exposure to a lot of modalities clinically as well as alternative types of therapy. They are assigned a primary therapist and a clinical case manager who help them to process any individualized stuff – mental issues, family problems, outstanding legal stuff, finding jobs, developing their resume, and getting them ready to go out into the real world again.

We are proud to partner with Thrive Outdoors, whose founder Jake King holds twice-weekly groups at our facility. He has these 5 principles that he operates with and they deal with the mindset that people have in the wilderness. Jake teaches people these principles and he helps them to relate them to their recovery. He literally takes them into the wilderness and gives them the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned.

According to Jake King: “The adventure component is really important to us because, instead of just sitting in a group and talking about all of these principles, we can actually take people out and show them the different ways these principles can be applied in the wilderness. So they are learning real-life survival skills. But a lot of people are uncomfortable with being removed from their comfort zones. We’re taking them out of their comfort zone. And once we start teaching them all of the stuff we’ve been teaching them in the wild setting, showing them, ‘Hey! That tree has edible bark. Hey! That tree has edible roots. This water is drinkable’ — people start to see that it’s not as scary as they thought. And now their comfort zone has just grown. And the bigger we grow our comfort zones, the more capable we are.”

After 30 Days at RAW

We still want to support and help clients clinically after their first 30 days. They are usually getting back a normal routine of working and real world stuff, so they come here a 3-5 nights a week. Transition is important. In the past, there were these 28-day programs. When you were done, you were out the door. Our second phase is less intensive but still incredibly supportive, and allows the client to focus on their goals. They will still have a primary therapist and a case manager to help them navigate and hold them accountable. Constant support and redirection is key in their recovery. After 90 days, an aftercare plan is developed.

In addition to the mind, body, and spirit, we try to address the social aspect of recovery as well. Our focus is on healthy relationships and healthy activities. We try to get them to understand that they can still enjoy life. A great deal of our clients are in their 20s and they are afraid that life will be boring without drug use. We try to show them that they can still enjoy activities.

What is one of most important aspects of lasting recovery?

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We detox from the drug. Yet some people continue to use again. Why? Because it’s not about the drug. Drinking and using drugs is a symptom of another disease or disorder that must be addressed. There may be adverse childhood events. Society and/or their family makes them feel ashamed, and so they go inside themselves. They isolate. They don’t process it or talk about it. And then they feel alone. The sense of loneliness is what all of these clients share. They feel damaged, broken, or worthless. My job is to establish a connection and trust with them so that we can support and embrace each other. I help them discover that they have value by:

  • Making a connection with someone
  • Helping them feel valued and important
  • Helping them to find meaning in their life

Everyone is recovering from something, when you think about it. They have their own pain. Let’s focus on the underlying aspects of addiction, and not the drug. Let’s focus on the shame that many of us carry around with us, addict or not. Many people bottle up their pain and overdo or overindulge in something. We all want a reason to get up in the morning. When you help someone find the reason, it locks them in for long term success.

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