Substance Use Support
The addiction support program at Annandale Behavioral Health is our completely unique approach to individualized recovery. It extends far beyond traditional treatment and case management approaches and helps our clients to build the tools of recovery that last a lifetime. Under the direct one-on-one guidance of one of our substance use counselors, our clients can find support communities that work for them, work on triggers and coping strategies in the real world, and expand their knowledge of substance use disorders and strategies to overcome them.
The Matrix Model
The Matrix Model was originally developed in the 1980s in response to a surge of people seeking treatment for cocaine use, the model is now used to treat all types of substance use problems. While this model was being developed, people addicted to opioids were typically shuttled into methadone maintenance programs and people struggling with an alcohol use disorder were relegated to hospital care. The intensive behavioral interventions used to treat stimulant use disorders outlined in the Matrix Model became the framework for the gold standard of substance use treatment as we know it today.
The Matrix Model is an integrative behavioral approach to treatment, bringing together several evidence-based components:
- Individual therapy
- Relapse prevention programs
- Early recovery groups
- Self-help groups such as AA, NA, SMART Recovery, or Refuge Recovery
In addition, the Matrix model emphasizes treating clients with empathy, compassion, and respect. By clinicians embodying these values, clients are more likely to engage in treatment, not drop out early, and play an active role in their recovery.
Individual therapy plays a key role in the implementation of the full addiction support program. Working individually with a substance use counselor allows you to voice your specific desires and concerns about recovery and can help your counselor to tailor the rest of the program to these needs.
It also provides a space to address the underlying causes of your addiction, process deep-seated fears, and work through emotional scarring or trauma. Individual therapy is a safe and confidential space to share these thoughts without fear of judgment or embarrassment. It is the treatment style that is most committed to depth work – getting beyond the surface level appearances and behaviors and looking at root causes and motivations.
Your therapist can also use this space to teach helpful coping methods, break down distorted thinking patterns, and help you to overcome the challenges of early recovery. Using the tools of motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and empathetic support, individual therapy has decades of evidence showing it to improve substance use and mental health outcomes alike.
Targeted Support Groups
At the heart of our addiction support program is collaborating with our clients to find the options in recovery that work for them. This extends into the community support groups that can facilitate – or hinder – your recovery.
We feel that most treatment centers get support groups wrong. Instead of finding groups that work for the client, they find a meeting that’s convenient to them. Heroin addicts get brought to meetings for alcoholics, secular people get dragged into faith-based programs, and members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t get to attend LGBTQ+ groups.
Most of the time, the clinical team at a treatment center has no concept of the quality of meetings their clients attend. Meetings are picked at random to fit in with the program’s schedule. As anyone in recovery can attest, not all meetings are created equal, and a bad first impression can have a lasting impact.
At Annandale Behavioral Health, each of our clients is accompanied one-on-one with a substance use counselor to a meeting that is suited particularly to them. This could mean going to a gender-specific group, secular groups such as SMART Recovery, or meetings that are dedicated to helping people with a particular substance. These meetings are always vetted in advance by our clinical staff and can provide the best possible introduction to the recovery community.
Rather than rigidly adhering to a single recovery ideology, we embrace the extensive support systems available in Pasadena and surrounding areas, including:
SMART Recovery is a secular self-help group built to help people overcome substance use disorders. SMART stands for:
SMART is grounded in science and teaches practical skills for overcoming addiction. It is a powerful community dedicated to helping people build healthier lives and the willingness to change. All SMART meetings are led by trained facilitators who can guide discussions to important topics in recovery, and everyone is welcome.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the self-help group that wrote the book on recovery from alcoholism. The 12 Steps of AA have helped millions of people to recover from an alcohol use disorder and spawned several spin-off groups to help people with other forms of substance use disorders.
Refuge Recovery is another alternative self-help group for people struggling with addiction. Based on Buddhist principles, this program doesn’t require you to accept any new beliefs but can be a powerful tool for overcoming addiction.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) took the 12 Steps outlined in AA and applied them to drugs and alcohol at large. These groups are generally more accepting of people suffering from substance use disorders outside of alcohol and are often a more comfortable space for people who struggle with drug use.
Co-Dependents Anonymous (CODA) is a 12-Step group that focuses on helping people overcome codependency and create meaningful lives on their own. While not a specific substance use problem, codependency is exceedingly common in people with substance use disorders. By attending CODA, people can learn to develop healthy and strong relationships in their recovery.
The Effectiveness of Self-Help Groups
After our clients become established in the community with the help of our substance use counselors, they are encouraged to attend on their own. Decades of research have shown that traditional twelve-step and alternative support groups are remarkably effective at helping people achieve long-term sobriety, and can provide lasting support after treatment is finished.
Relapse Prevention Programs
Relapse prevention is an important component of our addiction support program. One of the most successful behavioral treatments for substance use disorders, the relapse prevention model has four key ideas:
- Relapse is a gradual process that happens in stages
- Recovery is a process of personal development and growth
- The main tools for relapse prevention are healthy coping mechanisms and cognitive therapy
- Recovery can be explained in simple terms, and education can help clients to achieve it
By understanding these ideas and taking action to prevent relapse, people can achieve long-term recovery.
Stages of Relapse
Relapse is typically categorized into three distinct stages: emotional, mental, and physical relapse. By learning to identify the signs of the first two stages, people can stop themselves from ever reaching physical relapse.
The emotional relapse stage is the first step towards returning to active substance use, and the easiest stage to intervene. In this stage, people aren’t considering using drugs or alcohol directly, but their emotions and behaviors are steadily leading them down the path to returning to substance use.
The signs of emotional relapse include:
- Keeping your emotions secret
- Isolating yourself from others
- Focusing on other people’s problems
- Not attending support groups, or attending but not sharing
- Neglecting self-care practices
People reach the emotional relapse stage when they neglect to engage in activities and behaviors that promote a healthy life in recovery. They stop participating in therapy, stop taking care of themselves physically, spend too much time idle, or simply aren’t having fun in recovery.
The second stage of the relapse process, mental relapse is when you begin to battle constant cravings and a desire to return to substance use. It’s normal to have occasional thoughts of drinking or using in recovery, but the mental relapse stage is much more pervasive. It is characterized by intrusive thoughts of substance use, attempts to rationalize future addictive behavior, and planning a relapse event.
Often, this comes in the form of bargaining with yourself about when relapse would be okay. People might say to themselves that it’s okay to drink on vacation, or that they can use their drug of choice so long as it’s only a few times a year. Clinical experience has shown that this rarely goes to plan. After the first relapse, the chances of returning to active addiction are exceptionally high.
In this stage, people may purposefully place themselves in high-risk situations, such as attending a bar or nightclub. They start to expose themselves to their substance of choice to set up a future relapse.
The last stage of relapse is when somebody first uses drugs or alcohol after a period of sobriety. Sometimes this is a single lapse – only drinking or using one time – but uncontrolled using is more often the result. Relapse is often a part of recovery, and there is no need to feel shame about returning to your substance of choice, but this is the hardest stage to break free from.
Knowing the stages of relapse is only half the battle. Preventing them from occurring takes a concerted effort on the part of both you and your substance use counselor. The primary tools to reverse the stages of relapse and prevent them from happening again are cognitive therapies and building yourself a life in recovery.
Therapy can help by giving you a space to open up about your thoughts and emotions, helping you to exit the emotional relapse stage. It can also tease out whether you’ve entered the mental relapse stage and remind you why you sought treatment in the first place.
But the best way to prevent relapse is by building recovery capital. By building a life worth living in recovery, you can make the thought of ever returning to substance use unappealing in the first place. People approach building recovery capital in several ways:
- Building social networks supportive of their recovery
- Engaging in tasks meaningful to them, such as work or volunteering
- Focusing on self-care practices to maintain a sense of well-being
- Finding your place in a community
Recovery capital is about living a life that you would never trade for the fleeting pleasure of substances. It takes time and effort, but it is the keystone to lasting abstinence and overall health.
Early Recovery Groups
In addition to the suite of other options covered under our addiction support program, our early recovery groups can help people to overcome the fear, withdrawal symptoms, and hesitancy that are so common in the first days of abstinence. We believe that by focusing on these issues in real-time, rather than waiting for them to disappear on their own, we can help people to overcome these challenges faster. The sooner this stage is overcome, the more time can be spent building a recovery toolkit that can last a lifetime.
Early recovery groups help people to answer the questions that prevent them from fully committing to the treatment process, such as:
- Am I an addict?
- What do I need to do in treatment?
- Do I have to stay sober forever?
- Does treatment really work?
By giving our clients new to recovery space to air their concerns, helping them learn about the program they’ve entered, and gradually phasing them into traditional treatments, they can start therapy and recovery out on the right foot.
Substance Use Support in Pasadena, CA
The Annandale Difference
We pride ourselves on the intensity and effectiveness of our addiction support program. Our unique model of treatment was designed by experts in the addiction treatment field with decades of clinical experience and delivers practical application of the principles of recovery. We simply weren’t satisfied with treatment as usual: it needed to be elevated.
By going the extra mile to individualize treatment to every client, providing time-tested treatment strategies, and emphasizing the active role of clients in the treatment process, we can inspire recovery even in people with the most severe of substance use problems. Addiction can be overcome – Annandale Behavioral Health can show you the way.
Contact us today to get started.