Long-term Sobriety: Extended Care After Alcohol Treatment In Austin

Programs and Theories to help people stop drinking

There are many programs and theories out there designed to help people stop drinking. The 12 Step programs and treatment centers all have the goal of helping people with a drinking problem to achieve long-term sobriety. While their intentions are honorable, the reality is that many of these programs don’t come anywhere close.

Research by the National Institutes of Health

Long-term SobrietyThe U.S. National Institutes of Health focuses on all elements of drug and alcohol abuse. They frequently release information, advice and guidance on the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment. They have determined just how difficult it is for those with dependencies to achieve permanent sobriety.

“Relapse rates for addiction resemble those of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.”

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost for someone who has a problem with drinking or has chronically relapsed. It is about understanding how recovery works and what it takes to get there. Receiving extended-care after alcohol treatment in Austin, or anywhere for that matter, helps to stabilize and reinforce what was learned in the residential phase of rehab. A 90-day residential phase, sober living, monitoring, and aftercare are all parts of an extended-care program. BRC Recovery was an early pioneer of extended-care, beginning in 2006, when our founder, Mark Houston, launched one of the first 90-day alcohol and drug extended-care programs in Texas.

Some Statistics

Sadly, the statistics on sobriety are not impressive. They show that some 10% of people in our country deal with an addiction of some type. Of these, only 13% will look for help. Out of the ones that do search for and access help, only around 20% will successfully complete a 90-day program. After this, they still have many years ahead of them before achieving long-term sobriety and reaping the benefits of a well-maintained personal 12 Step recovery program.

According to some organizations, those statistics are even worse. It is said that out of every 100 people that seek constructive help and access treatment centers, only 5 will stay and achieve sobriety. So does this mean there is no hope out there? Absolutely not. I have also heard that those who achieve four years of sobriety have almost 100% chance of achieving long-term sobriety. I have no idea if these casual statistics are just urban legends, but I do know based on what I have seen with the people who come through our program, that those who complete an extended-care program, like BRC Recovery, have the most successful outcomes and potential for long-term sobriety.

What is Being Done

The fact that extended-care is the secret to long-term sobriety is no surprise. However, funding is often unavailable to deliver this care, although efforts are being made to address this. It is known, however, that new approaches are necessary in order to make sure more people have access to recovery resources and achieve long term recovery.

“These efforts include more flexible and adaptable protocols, greater attention to the patients’ preferences and needs, use of modern communication technologies, and disease-management approaches that have been proven effective for other chronic medical disorders.”

A number of models have been developed and have shown positive results to date. More and more treatment centers in Austin have picked up on these models and are implementing them for people with all types of addictions. One of original models developed in the 1950’s is the Minnesota Model. Based on the 12 Steps, it has provided many treatment and rehab organizations with their basic program foundation and is still widely used today. Newer models focus more on “recovery-oriented systems of care” and peer recovery support. In addition there are always self-help groups, anonymous groups, group counseling settings and individual therapy options offered to those on the road to recovery.

Long-term sobriety is not a pipe dream, no pun intended. It requires a commitment from the person who is trying to recover, but it also requires a commitment from the organizations and centers out there to help them. Together, with the right dedication and the right rehabilitation options, achieving four years of sobriety and many more is an attainable goal. Many people who have maintained double-digit sobriety will tell you that they have a daily reprieve from their disease based on their spiritual condition. And how does one do that? With the help of a Higher Power one day at a time.

Marsha Stone