Rules for Recovery; Rules for Life

In our recent blog, Tips for Entering Treatment the First Time, we mentioned it is important to follow the rules of the treatment center in order to increase chances of success. Addiction and substance abuse disorders are treated in multiple ways, but one of the most prominent methods is behavior modification. While the simple explanation of bad behaviors usually result in negative consequences, clients are taught to think about their actions and what the consequences will be.

Think of a child in a candy store accepting a dare from another child. I bet you can’t sneak out of here with a piece of candy in your pocket. If the child is caught stealing the piece of candy, chances are, he/she will have a negative consequence. If not, the child may continue to steal candy when visiting the store, until caught or until he/she feels guilty about the actions. Now, fast forward to the teen years. While we’d love to believe we don’t have underage kids drinking alcohol that would not be realistic. Maybe it starts with a can or bottle of beer at home; mom and dad won’t notice if this is missing. It could be a gathering with friends and alcohol is available. More often than not, the first experience with alcohol is under the age of 21. If there are never any negative consequences, chances are, the teen will continue to drink.

Now, let’s shift from alcohol to illicit drugs. If the experience is pleasant and there are no negative consequences, why stop? Those who suffer from addictive tendencies will continue to use despite negative consequences.

Facets of substance abuse treatment reward good behaviors and punish negative behaviors. At a treatment facility, this may mean the loss of telephone privileges or exclusion from a fun group outing such as bowling or a trip to the beach. For a more serious offense, law enforcement may be called and the client may be asked to leave the treatment facility, permanently.

As people learn the importance of following, rather than bending or breaking, all rules, regardless how trivial or important, they will better be able to thrive in a society driven by laws and rules. This helps them learn self-control, respect for themselves and others, as well as to be accountable for their own actions. These lessons are vital in the earliest phases of recovery.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.