La Hacienda’s Treatment Philosophy
|Much has been written on the significance of personal relationships in evaluating quality of life. The same can be applied to evaluating the quality of treatment of alcoholism and other drug addictions. So much of why treatment works involves relationship. Isolated sobriety tends to be either short-lived or very unsatisfying. One of the gifts of coming to treatment is the interruption of the isolation of addiction. It is a tremendous relief to finally find a place where the truth can be told and people understand. We ask our patients when they leave, “What defining moment or event helped you feel like you were part of the community?” The vast majority of the responses reflect a personal encounter, sometimes with staff, sometimes with other patients and sometimes with God as they understand Him.
If healing takes place in the context of relationship, choosing the right counselor for a patient is a task not to be taken lightly. While patients present with similar problems, no two patients are alike. The counselors have similar training, but no two counselors are alike. It’s important to know the staff well enough to match their personalities, training and unique skills with the personalities and needs of the patients. The ability to form a professional relationship on a personal level over a time-sensitive period is an art. Our professional counselors are here for the patients. That is the professional design of the relationship. And the counselors are all people–living, breathing, feeling, caring people. This is what makes the relationship personal. The goal is for patients to have a genuine positive experience with therapy so that when they leave treatment they will be eager to continue to work with a therapist in their home area as needed throughout the course of recovery.
We also want patients to understand the clear difference between working a 12 Step program and participating in therapy. This is why we separate Big Book teaching groups from therapy groups. The fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA) provide opportunities to connect and be of service—and this is very therapeutic, but it is not therapy. These relationships can be very personal, but they are not designed to take the place of professional help. When patients know the difference they are better equipped to get the most from both aspects of recovery, engage in new healthy relationships, and end the lonely isolation of addiction.
|One Voice One Message
For years La Hacienda has had a “We Believe” statement. In 2008 a task force was formed to revise the statement into something that guides our treatment philosophy and truly reflects what we believe is important as we deliver care to our patients. In an effort to further a unified message to our patients, the task force developed a series of brief descriptions of some of the philosophies La Hacienda’s staff members are asked to support in their interactions with our patients. This work was motivated by our desire to provide the best possible treatment experience for our patients. Having One Voice and promoting One Message is key!
|A Spiritual Foundation
The spiritual foundation of treatment is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. We acknowledge the need for spiritual healing as well as physical and cognitive healing. Spiritual healing takes place in facing the truth, relying on a power greater than ourselves, and working with others. In addition to the spiritual principles of AA, we offer the options of daily meditation classes, Seekers sunrise meetings and a Christian Focus tract that meets several times each week. Worship services are offered on campus each Sunday. We believe a spiritual experience is the ultimate goal of the treatment/recovery process. Engaging in a spiritual program of action during treatment and after treatment is the best way to maintain recovery.
|Big Book Study
The simple, life-changing wisdom discovered by Bill W. and Dr. Bob when they founded Alcoholics Anonymous is as relevant today as it was in 1939 when the first edition of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was published. However, simply reading the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous won’t keep an alcoholic/addict from taking the next drink/drug. This book must be used as a guide for daily living. Since we believe that a strong 12 Step foundation is essential, studying the Big Book is a key component of our programming. We strive to make certain that patients understand the 12 Steps and know how to use these tools to maintain sobriety.
|Intensive Work in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
We believe ongoing recovery requires building a strong foundation through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. We incorporate thorough teaching and working through the first four steps while in treatment at La Hacienda. For some patients it will be important to continue beyond Step Four. Within 24 hours of admission, patients are given the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. It is utilized daily during Big Book/Step Study groups and also with individual assistance for understanding and personal application. We believe a spiritual awakening is the ultimate goal of the treatment and recovery process. Alcoholics and other drug addicts can completely recover from the obsession to drink or use by engaging in a spiritual program of action during and after treatment.
Presenting the 12 Step recovery principles gives each patient a foundation with which to engage in step work. We utilize didactic presentations and Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 worksheets with specific questions that provide opportunity to develop the understanding and insight necessary for spiritual growth based on personal honesty, open mindedness, and willingness. We also work with a patient’s reservations or resistance that can accompany the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction.
Guidance with the 12 Steps occurs on a daily basis and compliments the medical and clinical aspects of treatment. This focus, along with 12 Step meetings, both on and off campus – where patients hear the message of hope and recovery from the sober community outside of La Hacienda – encourages continued interest, involvement, and application post-discharge. Our goal is for each patient to leave treatment with a completed 4th Step, and a plan to continue working through the additional seven steps with a sponsor, in order to live life by the spiritual principles of 12 Step recovery.
|12 Step Meetings
Recovery is an ongoing process and a strong foundation is built in treatment through working the Twelve Steps. During the course of treatment, our patients are exposed to a variety of 12 Step meetings. These meetings are held both on and off campus and are conducted along the guidelines of each program’s design. Area 12 Step meetings include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Opiate Addicts Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Lambda, and Alanon. Patients are encouraged to begin the practice of utilizing these 12 Step meetings as a support network while they are still in treatment.
La Hacienda’s Continuing Care Department links our patients to the next steps in their recovery once they leave treatment. Our staff works closely with the case managers and other treatment team members to find the services that will meet the patients’ needs. We utilize a great number of resources – intensive outpatient programs, extended care facilities, therapists, and physicians. We are continually researching and growing our network of professionals so we refer to those providers whose philosophy is compatible with what we do here at La Hacienda. At La Hacienda, we know that one of the keys to recovery is what happens once someone leaves treatment.
The Continuing Care Plan is made up of three important components — body, mind, and spirit — so La Hacienda includes resources that address medical, clinical, and spiritual needs, in addition to 12 Step recovery groups and alumni meetings . Some patients need additional resources, for example, connections for college-based recovery support. The treatment team will help the patient set goals and determine a plan for staying on course after they have left La Hacienda. Finally, we conduct follow up phone calls with our alumni at one week, ninety days and one year after discharge. We check in with how they are doing and try to be a resource should there be any concerns that arise.