From Long Term Drug Rehab to Recovery Coach Career

Long-term residential drug rehab offers much advantage over a 28 day drug rehab program because long term drug treatment not only allows the brain to heal from the damage of drugs, it offers a safe environment with positive reinforcement of recovery tools.  But long term rehab can also provide opportunity for professional training and career building.

The Boston Globe recently reported that “recovery coaching” is a “profession poised to take off nationwide amid the pressing need for more effective substance abuse treatment.” Due to the current opioid epidemic, for the first time in our nation’s history, a struggle with addiction has become an actual a job requirement within the healthcare industry.  Recovery coaches at Mass General Hospital earn $50,000 to $60,000 annually.

Men living in recovery neighborhoods – rather than in acute care institutional settings or short term 28 day drug rehab – have the opportunity to attend Recovery Coach Academies or training sessions, earning certificates and building a foundation for further training that can lead to productive careers.

Sometimes called a “peer recovery coach,” “peer engagement specialist,” “personal recovery coach,” or “peer specialist,” people in recovery from addiction who receive such training or certification are embedded and supervised in Emergency Departments across the country.  Kaiser Health News explains that when a patient is admitted for overdose or complications due to active addiction, recovery coaches establish a rapport with the patient, built on trust and identification.  Peer coaches help patients negotiate treatment options and then stay in touch after discharge, offering encouragement and support free of stigma or judgment.

In New York State, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services considers the work of a peer recovery specialist “crucial to a person’s start on the path to recovery” and in preventing “relapse and a potential overdose recurrence.”

At the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, peer specialists

can model for patients — and for doctors and nurses — what recovery looks like on a daily basis. They can talk about how hard it can be to put down the bottle or the pipe, but they can also talking about how freeing it is to live a sober life.

In Western Massachusetts, recovery coaches are encouraged to be creative, according to Justin Mehl of Behavioral Health Network.

Recovery coaches are free to explore lots of different options that have been found to be helpful. That includes traditional services like AA and NA, but also they can encourage exercise, take a look at spiritual paths, and really out of the box thinking.

In New Hampshire, men living in one particular recovery neighborhood and engaged in long-term addiction care can earn their recovery coach certificates as a first credential towards becoming a Certified Recovery Support Worker, credentialed by the New Hampshire Board of Licensing for Alcohol and Other Drug Use Professionals.  A CRSW license in New Hampshire requires 46 hours of specific training and 500 hours of paid or volunteer work experience involving direct service to clients – hours that can be accumulated by helping others in conjunction with a candidate’s own time in long-term recovery care.

Long-term residential addiction recovery care is an investment on so many levels.  It can offer men safety, community, time to heal, skills building, and an introduction to an exciting new career in the field of addiction services.

Long-Term Addiction Care = Better Dads

How Active Addiction Affects Parenting

overdoseHorrifically bad parenting decisions by people in active addiction have been highlighted all over social media recently.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA), almost every parent in active addiction is susceptible to the risky behavior brought on by heroin or opioid misuse:

A parent may forget or neglect to attend to parenting responsibilities. Parents may leave children alone while seeking, obtaining, or using the drug. Parents may “nod out” while under the influence of heroin and be unable to supervise or protect their children. Parents may expose their children to heroin dealers, other users, and hence unsafe and dangerous situations.

Too many children of parents in active addiction are traumatized by their parents’ disease. SAMSHA emphasizes that:

Intergenerational effects of substance abuse can have a negative impact on role modeling, trust, and concepts of normative behavior, which can damage the relationships between generations.

Continue reading

Drug Addiction Leads to Big Bucks, Legally: Here’s How


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dollar-sign-copyEver wonder how to make BIG MONEY from the opioid epidemic?  Large financial firms have discovered that investments in suffering offer reward over risk.  One example firm —Deerfield Management  — shows how it’s done.*

Invest in Addiction Recovery Care

$38M: value of Deerfield’s stock ownership in American Addiction Centers (AAC) , the publicly traded chain of big box addiction recovery/rehab facilities with nearly a thousand beds.

$100M: Deerfield’s additional and potential stake in AAC ‎, consisting of “$25 million of convertible debt and $25 million of subordinate debt.” According to its own website, “Deerfield also agreed to provide an additional $50 million of convertible debt upon certain circumstances.”

$231.5M: Deefield’s investment in Recovery Centers of America (RCA) for what Deerfield describes as the “development or purchase of eight treatment campuses located along the Northeast Corridor that will provide a comprehensive continuum of integrated care.” RCA isn’t a publicly traded company.  Its first McRehab opened in March.

Both AAC and RCA accept most major insurances.

acaInvest in The Major Insurers That Cover Addiction Rehab

According to NASDAQ, Deerfield stock portfolio includes $43M in Aetna, $22M in Cigna, and $28M in Humana.  (The firm recently sold off its $13M stock in Anthem.) Continue reading

Recovery Centers of America Catches on to Recovery Neighborhood Concept

RCA Hopes to One Day Create Neighborhoods Much Like Riverbank House Drug Rehab in New Hampshire

Recovery Centers of America, the up and coming chain of commercial addiction treatment facilities backed by the Big Pharma investors at Deerfield Management and headed up by a real estate developer and former pharmaceutical executive are hoping to establish recovery neighborhoods much like the model practiced for years by Riverbank House in Laconia, New Hampshire.

RCA’s vision for the future includes the hope that “RCA Recovery Campuses will become centers of recovery communities in the cities and towns they serve. RCA will host and support 12 Steps and other group meetings for all members of the local recovery community in well-appointed, safe and comfortable meeting rooms.”

What the Experts Say about Recovery Neighborhood Approach

Whatever your reaction to commercial treatment centers backed by venture capitalists who have one foot in Big Pharma and another in addiction care, the recovery neighborhood model that RCA hopes to one day adopt is a concept backed by experts in the field of addiction science.  SAMHSA’s “Four Major Dimensions that Support a Life in Recovery” — Health, Home, Purpose, and Community — are central components to the Recovery Neighborhood model.

The Recovery Research Institute of MGH and Harvard Medical School is even more direct, stating:

Recovery communities and support services are a critical component of ongoing care for people in recovery.

One Drug Rehab in New Hampshire Pioneers the Model

RiverbankHouse_CampusMap_FLATcolorRiverbank House in New Hampshire is a drug and alcohol treatment facility that promotes the long-term care model endorsed by experts in the field of addiction science.  Riverbank House believes that an acute care institutional model that confines the patient during addiction treatment does not prepare the person for a real life in recovery.  The Riverbank House recovery neighborhood in New Hampshire constitutes an actual small city neighborhood, providing experiential, hands-on, real world practice in the daily maintenance of addiction recovery. RBH men in recovery can live and thrive drug-free in the neighborhood for as long as it takes them to reach their personal, social, educational, and vocational goals.

When asked if RBH hosts and supports 12 Step groups, the neighborhood residents seemed taken aback.  “We practice the 12 steps and we are proud of our membership in 12 Step groups,” one man said as his friends nodded in agreement.  “But we’ve been taught to respect the 12 Traditions as well as the 12 Steps.”  He turned to his friends before asking, “How could Riverbank House host and support any 12 Step group and still abide by those Traditions?”

The neighborhood resident, one presumes, is referring to Traditions 6 and 7, which suggest that every AA group refrains from affiliation with outside enterprises and that each group remain self-supporting.

Long-term addiction care in safe recovery communities encourages such questions — by giving men the gift of time necessary to truly own their recovery community membership.

Stay Sober and Safe this Holiday Weekend

fireworks12 tips for staying clean and sober over this July 4th holiday weekend:

1. You don’t have to be the passive victim of other people’s plans. Make choices that are right for YOU, with people who are supportive of your recovery, in places that are safe for your recovery.

2. Plan your exit before your entrance!  Make sure you are able and willing to leave the minute you start to feel uncomfortable or the minute you realize that drunk and high people are obnoxiously boring and you don’t have to hang around them to be polite.  Take your own transportation, if possible.

3. Use the buddy system whenever possible.  Keep a clean and sober friend by your side.  

4. Only drink from a container that you have opened yourself, and keep track of your bottle or cup. Personalize your cup by using a Twizzler in place of a straw or bring a reusable water bottle with your name on it and pour your beverage into it.  Do whatever it takes to make sure you don’t pick up someone else’s drink by mistake.

5.  Don’t try to explain your recovery while you are in a social situation.  If you have to explain it, you’re talking to the wrong person about the wrong topic.    

6. Don’t take on more family or crowds or work or unfamiliar situations than you are ready to handle. Don’t try to be a hero this year.

7. Say NO. If anyone offers you an alcoholic drink or a drug, just say NO. Don’t go into an explanation. “No” is the explanation.  Then remove yourself from the situation immediately.

8. Don’t let a HALTER put the reins on your recovery.  Watch out for the signs:  Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. Erratic Relative.  Before you decide that someone else is the problem, check in with yourself on all points.  Are you hungry?  Are you angry?  Are you lonely?  Are you tired?  Is an erratic relative just being who she has always been?

9. Try to pass the long weekend in safety, whatever it takes.  Go to meetings, take a nap, take a shower, go for a walk in the woods, go to a matinee, binge on Netflix, drink a thick milkshake, call a friend in recovery and say “How are you?”  Whatever it takes, the goal is to stay clean and sober.

10. There will be many “fun” partying photos on social media. Try to remember that people don’t post photos of their overdoses because…well, they’ve overdosed.

11. Surrender to traffic; there will be lots and lots of traffic.  Surrender to barking dogs; there will be lots and lots of dogs barking at the fireworks.  Surrender to the guy who tells the same story over and over at every meeting; there’s a guy like that in every home group and he doesn’t take holidays off.  Surrender to relatives who claim to understand all about recovery but don’t; their lack of understanding comes from blessed ignorance.  It is what it is, all of it. Just chill with it.

12.  End the day clean and sober.  Whether you stay clean the “right” way or the wrong way, for the “right” reason or the wrong reason, for yourself or for someone else, with the “right” attitude or the wrong attitude, with the desire to be clean or without the desire to be clean, in a world that is fair or in a world that is out to get you, in a relationship with a Higher Power or all on your own, just stay clean and sober, no matter what.


What is Effective Treatment?



smckay lost children 10-11-15A Proven Starting Point

Understandably, we want to find the most effective recovery treatment for our loved one with addiction.  Finding the best possible drug addiction recovery help is a labor of love (and too often, a labor of desperation.)  But it’s also a little like dealing with a funeral home after an unexpected death:  grief, immediacy, emotion, and exhaustion can drain us of the strength needed to research our options and comparison shop, as educated consumers.

Finding our way through the vast maze of recovery treatment and drug rehab models and choices can be a daunting task. Continue reading

How to Choose a Sober House


bedroomA Buyer’s Market

Once you’ve made the decision to investigate sober living options, it can be helpful to recognize that too often we are fueled by hurried desperation as we try to find placement for the child we love. If we can approach sober house placement as informed and empowered consumers there is less risk that desperation will cloud our judgment and certainly less risk that the addiction industry will take advantage of our vulnerability.

As we begin our investigation into sober living options there is no need to relinquish any advantage to the operators of sober housing. Continue reading

Sober Houses: For Recovery or Profit?



moneyPurpose Meets Profit

According to Dr. Leonard A. Jason, director of the Center for Community Research at DePaul University, well-run sober homes can be a positive step for those trying to turn their lives around. “If it’s a really well-run sober living home, that house could be a place of real health,” says Jason. But he adds this caveat: “It can be done right, but it can just as easily be done very wrong.”

Across the country, the unregulated industry of sober homes is increasingly under scrutiny. Continue reading

Sober Houses: Where They Fit in The Progression of Recovery

stairwell-clipart-l_152Sober Living Stability

Sober house, sober living environment (SLE), recovery residence, halfway house or three quarters house: whatever the “classification,” there is no doubt that many people in their first years of addiction recovery can and do benefit from safe, affordable, recovery-focused communal living as a continuation and progression of initial treatment. The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in a 2010 article about sober houses notes that for those in early recovery “lack of a stable, alcohol and drug free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence. Destructive living environments can derail recovery for even highly motivated individuals.”

Sober houses, in theory, are designed to provide the stability and drug free living environment that keep recovery on course, especially when they build upon the gains made during long-term residential treatment Continue reading