Long-Term Recovery At Riverbank House

There are only a few outstanding substance abuse addiction recovery centers in a 100 mile radius. Riverbank House strives to be the best addiction recovery center in the United States and our success rates show it. 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.

Benefits of Long-term Addiction Recovery Care

Successful Drug Addiction Recovery Takes 90 Days or More

A great article published in PsychCentral a few years ago outlines the benefits of long-term drug recovery by asking “How Long Is ‘Long-Term’ Drug Rehab?” The article, written by David Sack, MD, is a near-prophecy for the comprehensive program developed by Riverbank House in Laconia, NH. Here are excerpts:

There is a growing consensus that for those who can manage it, long-term addiction treatment is the most effective option. Thirty days of residential treatment used to be the generally accepted standard in treatment. Why 30? Not because research showed its effectiveness, but because that was the average length of stay covered by insurance. Now, the National Institute of Drug Abuse has declared 90 days of treatment the ‘gold standard.’

Dr. Sack goes on to explain that “research shows that people completing at least 90 days of recovery have significantly lower relapse rates than those who stay for shorter amounts of time.”

Specific Benefits Of Long-Term Recovery Care

The Four Guiding Principles of Riverbank House:

  1. Effective Addiction Recovery Requires Long-Term Care
  2. Responsible Recovery Care Addresses the Brain Impairments that Can Hinder Success
  3. Responsible Addiction Recovery Promotes Many Pathways to Recovery
  4. Successful Recovery Requires Practice within a Safe Community

Like Riverbank House, Dr. Sack promotes long-term care because, he notes — the brain needs time to heal, clients need time to practice practical application of new skills, new habits need time to take root, and relapse plans need to be lived with real-world exposure.

Recovery Is Built Upon Accumulated Experience Of Cookouts

Most people suffering from addiction do not understand belonging. They long for it, but they do not know how to initiate it or how to engage, clean and sober, as part of a group.  They need to be taught how to make friends at a cookout.

Often, in early recovery care, the recoverer becomes arrogant and cocky and therefore unlikable in a misdirected attempt to bully his way into belonging, while attempting to cover up his insecurities.

Over time in recovery care, through the accumulation of guided experience, the recoverer learns not just how to recognize and address his dysfunctional emotional, social, and behavioral responses he also learns how to be a friend among friends. As the accumulation of supervised experience helps the recoverer build interpersonal skills, self awareness, and confidence, the person we love also learns to look out for and to empathize with every new guy who struts cockiness into his first recovery cookout while really shaking with terror beneath the arrogant facade. This earned empathy on the part of our loved one is an interpersonal awareness with its own rewards.

Long term rehab allows for productive staff intervention, experiential recovery practice, concrete guidance, the development of individualized behavior modification strategies, and growing self-awareness. Long term residential drug recovery uses structure, repetitious recovery education, peer support, and consistent reinforcement to help our loved one recognize vulnerabilities while learning to refrain from acting upon those impairments. The investment of time spent in long term recovery allows the recoverer to build skill, confidence, experience, and a personal history in recognizing and withstanding the ABCs of addiction.

If you are interested in delving deeper into the science of addiction, the American Society for Addiction Medicine goes beyond the ABCs, offering a frightening description of the damage caused by addiction to crucial areas of the brain: the nucleus accumbens, anterior cingulate cortex, basal forebrain, amygdala, cortical and hippocampal circuits, frontal cortex, andhippocampus.  The information will have you packing enough clean underwear for a 24 month stay in a residential recovery community.

A less technical and more human description of the challenges faced by those new to recovery is posted on the – no kidding — White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Recovery Branch blog. Chief of the Department, Peter Gaumond explains that:

Early recovery brings reawakened awareness of the harm one caused oneself and one’s family and friends during the course of the addiction. It is also a time when the brain and body are still actively recovering from the effects of addiction. Those in early recovery are relatively new at learning to experience, process, and manage feelings and to function in social situations without the use of a substance. Alcohol or other drugs may have served the recovering person as a social lubricant during the early stages of their use, helping alleviate social anxiety and feelings of not fitting in while simultaneously lifting their guard, making it easier to speak and act spontaneously.

Experts Describe The Work Of Recovery

The CDC, advocating for long-term residential recovery programs and outlining the work accomplished by extended care, explains that:

Patients generally spend 6-18 months in these highly structured, peer-based residential treatment programs. They are designed to help patients alter, modify, and re-learn behaviors through intensive educational, medical, legal, social, and psychological counseling services.

David A. Litts & Colleen Carr, posting on the White House blog, don’t specifically address the length of treatment but they do attach an important benefit to the work accomplished during treatment:

(Substance Abuse) treatment is effective, and recovery is possible. Life skills that support effective problem-solving and emotional regulation, connections with positive friends and family members, and social support can protect individuals from both substance abuse and suicide. Treatment and support are important precursors for recovery from substance abuse as well as recovery from suicidal thoughts.

The Work Of Recovery Takes Time

The behaviors of active drug addiction teach us to be suspicious, to be ever alert to addiction-fueled manipulations and cons. We become especially trained to watch out for people trying to steal our money. It is therefore understandable that we are skeptical when what we perceive to be treatment sprawl first presents itself. When so many addiction treatment centers promise positive results with a 28-day drug rehab, our initial reluctance to invest in long term recovery beyond 90 days makes sense, based upon the hell we’ve experienced from active addiction. But when viewed through the wide lens of addiction and recovery research, treatment sprawl can be more accurately termed recovery sprawl. Quieting a brain ravaged by drugs, relearning or first learning to recognize and withstand the ABCs of addiction, building relationships and trust, finding one’s place of belonging, developing the capacity to respect and to hope all happen over time, with repetition, and through the accumulation of experience. Rebuilding a person from the inside out is hard work, long term work, frightening work. The saving grace of addiction recovery is time. And that’s why long term drug recovery really does need to be long term.

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Our staff is available 24/7, call us at 603-293-3989