Are You Ready For Recovery?

Are you ready for recovery? A lot of times addicts ask themselves something along those lines. The doctors and counselors and case managers are wondering, too. Clinics and programs and treatment centers want to know if you’re ready. But how can you tell?

A study published online in The Journal of Drug Education in February used a nationally representative sample of adult patients to try and figure out what predicted treatment readiness. The participants were involved in a variety of treatment levels, residential to outpatient, mandated and voluntary. They were asked various questions about two main themes, motivation for treatment and resistance to treatment. Then, the researchers compared readiness and other variables to treatment engagement, defined as remaining in treatment for more than 30 days or attending 2 sessions, to measure readiness. So what did they find?

So first of all, yes, some of the individual-level characteristics appeared to be related to patients’ level of engagement. So feeling motivated to go to treatment correlated positively with treatment engagement. That translates to: if you feel ready, you probably are. But since the only person who can figure that out is you, treaters can’t use it to measure treatment readiness. Moreover, when the researchers viewed the study as a whole, it indicated that programs and professionals might be the ones to look to for measures of patient success. The researchers said we shouldn’t put so much stock in “individual-level risk factors” to predict engagement. Instead, look at the relationship between the individual and the program. What exactly does that mean?

““It’s important to begin to think about some of these program-level issues,” Lincoln Sloas, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, tells Addiction Professional. “We need to look at how we can tailor programming to the needs of people.””

Researchers gave the example of looking at how an individual interacts with staff and the composition of a program.

Treaters often determine whether or not you’re ready by looking at your individual characteristics, like your age or how often you use, but these are not good indicators of how well you will do in the program. The point is, the program needs to be customized for the individual to ensure the highest level of success. It’s like how some things work for some people but not for others-one swears by AA meetings while another claims they don’t work. You cannot just create a program and put people through it like a machine. People don’t work that way. What works is getting information from your client, getting to know them a little, and creating a unique program of services that fit their individual needs.

At the Expectant Mothers Treatment Program, we pride ourselves on our multi-professional, comprehensive approach. We have over 20 services that we offer to pregnant women battling addiction, and after talking with them every client is given a customized program that we think will best benefit them. It’s more like matching the right programs and services so that they complement each other, each one a puzzle piece part of a bigger picture of success.

I think if treatment centers are seeking successful clients, they should look at the multi-professional approach. We have so many specialists involved in our program, from high risk pregnancy specialists to psychiatrists to nutritionists, each taking care of a different part of the client. If you have the right people on your staff providing their version of care, the client will get the best possible treatment at every level. It doesn’t make sense for one to lead all the others when they all specialize in different things, right?

So what we learned from that study was that at this point, only you can decide if you’re ready for recovery. Once you are, make sure you find the program and staff that best suits your needs-that might mean you interviewing them. Good luck!

Article by Gary A. Enos, Editor on