One of the most, if not the only, factor that makes recovery successful is the learning you do. From day one, you might learn about addiction, why it’s considered an illness, how the addicted brain behaves, co-dependent relationships, compulsory behavior, and so on. Suddenly, rather than being immersed in the throes of your life, as you were when you were using, instead you’re observing your life while learning how to make it better.
Learning About Addiction
Certainly, one of the best ways to facilitate your experience during substance abuse treatment is to learn more and more about addiction and its causes. Not to bury your head in blame or worry or fear, but rather to become educated on the inner experiences that led to addiction in the first place. In the mental health field, this sort of learning is called psycho-education.
Learning about addiction and the patterns that contribute to it – such as powerlessness, co-dependency, enabling, a tendency to behave compulsively, blaming others, and feeling shame – facilitate making different choices in life. For instance, if you recognize that you tend to feel powerless in certain situations, you can try to stay empowered in that situation in the future. Although this might not happen the first time, continuing to consciously make that change can bring great feelings of inner power and strength. Drug addiction treatment isn’t simply about detoxing from the drug; it’s also a process of detoxing from the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to continued use of the drug.
What Do You Do When Treatment Is Over?
However, what happens when treatment is over? What if you want to stay immersed in the education you’re receiving? Rather than return to your life after addiction treatment without any support, you can participate instead in recovery based education. These education programs aim to support recovering addicts after addiction treatment by providing relapse prevention support, peer networks, lifestyle management, and a drug free community. The following is a list of recovery-based education programs:
- Association of Recovery Schools – this is a collection of both students and professionals to support those who are in their recovery from alcohol or drugs. The schools listed on this site aim to help students reach both their academic and recovery goals.
- The HERO House (Higher Education Recovery Option) – This is a unique school that combines both recovery based education and the opportunity to get a degree. The Hero House is a 12-step based recovery house that is designed for recovering addicts who want to go back to college but who also want the safety of a sober living environment. Because college is often associated with drinking and drug use, this institution provides a safe place to learn.
- PARfessionals – this school offers 50 hours of Peer Recovery and Coach Training for those who want (and need) a second chance. Their students are often those who have been incarcerated, who are recovering from addiction, and those who are struggling with a mental illness. The school has been approved by many state and international credentialing boards.
- Texas Tech University – Like HERO House, this is another institution in which those who are in recovery can access their graduate education without the worry of drinking and drug use on campus. In fact, requirements for entering TTU include regular participation in an appropriate recovery group, at least one year of complete and continuous abstinence from alcohol and drugs, and at least 3 letters of recommendation indicating the applicant’s recovery and academic potential. The Center’s unique “addicts to scholars” program provides financial aid and a second chance to students recovering from various addictions. The school also offers scholarships from time to time to undergraduate students of any major in the University pursuing a minor in substance abuse studies and for chemically dependent persons and co-dependents who have demonstrated commitment to recovery programs.
If you’re interested in returning to school or simply continuing your recovery-based education, the above are a few options to consider.