by Kathy Golden, Director/Manager of Extended Care at The Meadows
Most people seem to come to primary treatment because they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. When they near the end of their primary treatment, the counselor starts recommending extended care. The client may think, "I can't do this. I have a job; I can't afford to spend the money. I don't want to spend more time away from my husband, children, family..." They feel the best they've felt, perhaps in many years, and can't imagine why they need to continue treatment. I always ask my clients to consider treatment as one little inch out of the mile that is life. Clients most likely have spent years developing acting-out patterns, being depressed, wondering why they are so reactive to things that don't seem to bother other people, being filled with shame that they continue to sabotage their lives.
I ask them: "Do you think you have completely addressed all of your issues in the space of 29 to 35 days? Do you believe that you have worked through all of the trauma issues that have developed throughout your life journey?" The "pink cloud"that most people have as they near the end of treatment soon dissipates as they hit the real world and the reality of their life journey. They may have changed, or at least begun to make changes, however their best friends haven't changed with them. Those co-workers they can't get along with haven't changed or been to treatment. Perhaps their family attended Family Week sessions and has good intentions, without the benefit of 30 days in treatment.
The benefits of extended care can be immeasurable. They provide the chance to continue to address trauma issues, solidify the best relapse-prevention plan possible, encourage necessary self-examination, and provide time to incorporate the tools learned in primary care so they become a new way of life- a life of recovery and health. Extended care allows a recovering person to transition into the real world through supported outside activities, outside 12 Step meetings, a relationship with a sponsor, Step work, limit setting, and structure development. Those with co-occurring disorders can benefit greatly from extended care; the extra time, support, and scope of an extended-care treatment process can make a significant difference.
Statistics show that, the longer a person can remain in extended care, the lower the probability of relapse. In a study by Castle Craig Hospital, 48 percent of those who completed a recommended period of continued treatment had "maintained unbroken continuous abstinence (from all drugs including alcohol and cannabis), and a further 14 percent were in a good outcome category, abstinent at the time of follow-up. The abstinent and improved outcome figures for this group of treatment completers was 62 percent. The results, therefore, for this group of clients who completed an average of 17 weeks in extended care are very good indeed."
Extended care at The Meadows helps a client develop a personalized treatment plan, continue trauma-reduction work, and settle into a new life of recovery. We recommend a minimum 90-day stay: 30 days in primary care at The Meadows and another 60 or more at Mellody House, Dakota, or The Meadows Texas. Each of these facilities addresses trauma reduction through use of Pia Mellody's model. Additionally, Dakota helps clients continue to address compulsive sexual behaviors, while The Meadows Texas provides a safe place for women to continue their recovery journeys.
Isn't the term"sex addiction" just an excuse for bad behavior?
By Maureen Canning
News stories about celebrities struggling with sexual addiction have raised questions about the legitimacy of sexual addiction as a disorder. Many say the diagnosis is an excuse for bad behavior. But assessing someone's behavior from afar is not an effective tool for understanding another's reality. Some may use sex addiction as an excuse, but it is important to understand it as a viable disorder that, when left untreated, can have serious consequences.
Sexual addiction is a progressive disorder; if not treated, it will become worse over time. Consequences will build up and wreak havoc in one's life. As the disease progresses, so do the consequences: depression, sexually transmitted disease, financial loss, relational conflict, isolation, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts or gesturesThe individual spirals out of control to the point where the need to act-out sexually becomes his/her only priority.
Sex addicts have tunnel focus; they are hypervigilant when seeking another "hit." Meeting a friend at local restaurant is not about connecting emotionally, sharing, or catching up. It turns into an opportunity to objectify others or flirt with the server or attractive patrons. Addicts becomes frustrated when expected to be present in the conversation. They feel trapped and limited by their inability to catch another glimpse or slip their phone number to a possible hookup.
As the addiction progresses, it takes more time, energy, and resources. It may drain bank accounts, cause marriages to end in divorce, cost opportunities at the work place, and rob hobbies of interest. Despite obvious changes, addicts are experts at believing their own lies. They minimize their behaviors, believing they still have control. They distort reality to justify continuing the addiction.
Typically addicts don't seek treatment until the pain of their behaviors outweighs the gain. Self-motivation is crucial. An intervention with stiff consequences may be necessary to create the motivation. Most important is the knowledge that treatment is available for the sexually addicted individual. Within the context of a healing environment, addicts are able to break through the denial and begin a restorative process.
The Meadows is pleased to announce that James Naughton, who previously worked as a counselor at The Meadows, is now Director of Extended Care. In this role James will now oversee our three extended-care facilities: Mellody House, Dakota and The Meadows Texas.
In James's words, he is "grateful and privileged to be a part of the extended-care team." He expresses his sincerest wish to be "that we continue to provide the best care to our clients."
James says, "The team members I speak of - counselors, psychiatrists, house attendants, nurses, maintenance and plant operators, and housekeepers - all contribute to a safe and contained environment that fosters healing for individuals who have suffered the deleterious effects of trauma. We are all equal and valuable elements in this milieu and, through our commitment and work with the clients, each of us contributes to the possibility that those we serve may discover healing."
You may read more about James's thoughts and experiences during a recent visit to one of our extended-care facilities, in this article from a recent issue of our Cutting Edge newsletter.