Habilitat: Review Introduction
As known, addiction is a complex personal, family and societal issue. Biologically, besides negatively affecting the brain, it can destroy other life sustaining organs. Coupled with the psychological, legal and financial costs of being addicted, the reality is that effective treatment is necessary if those addicted are going to get their lives back and become the people they were meant to be. Following is my review of Habilitat and why its effectiveness in addiction treatment is so pronounced. It must be stated, too, that Habilitat and its approach is not for everyone but that’s true for any program. Some people will not be able to handle the structure Habilitat has designed as part of its treatment strategy nor is everyone ready to do what he or she needs to do to change as they enter treatment. Some potential residents of Habilitat will not do well with the personal accountability factor. Many people see the lengthy time frame as too long. But, let’s dig deeper so that the value of Habilitat becomes apparent.
Habilitat, historically, has been an effective long-term, therapeutic community treatment program for addictions, and it continues to exemplify effectiveness in its approach. From examining Habilitat from inside to exploring it from outside, I find the following strengths in the program, which has made it, and continues making it, an outstanding option for many addicted people.
First, Habilitat’s program addresses multiple problems of its residents, through focusing on their personal, social, vocational needs, as well as the need to alter their lifestyle. This represents a holistic strategy, which is key to treating addictive individuals because the whole person is being assisted. Fun activities such as offsite hikes, picnics, beach visits, and bike rides are included as important aspects of Habilitat’s approach. These events offer a balanced experience between treatment and down time.
Second, since Habilitat’s model is long-term, residents have the opportunity to stay in treatment over an adequate period of time. Time in treatment is a crucial factor to successful addiction treatment. Since teaching about and working with addictive individuals for a number of years, I have observed that without sufficient time for attacking addictive behavior, programs have less positive outcomes and their participants have a greater likelihood of relapse.
Third, Habilitat incorporates a structured environmental setting, which teaches the importance of using the mind before acting, good decision-making, accountability, and healing family relations. New ideas for living without substances, and within the confines of personal self-discipline, are critical outcomes from this well-regulated surrounding.
Fourth, Habilitat utilizes various group and behavioral therapies in its treatment through which it reinforces residents’ motivation for change, development of skills for problem solving, and, so important, stressing a life of purpose. Knowing people, personally, who have graduated Habilitat this reviewer has seen the foregoing in action over significant timeframes. Further, having carried out a recent informal study of Habilitat program graduates who are now staff members there, the preceding observations were reinforced by the study participants. Additionally, during the 2016 spring term, graduate students of mine at the university where I teach conducted a project in which they compared and contrasted Habilitat’s model of treatment with other programs. They reported that Habilitat addresses more of the strengths that make treatment programs effective than many of the other programs they reviewed.
Individual Treatment Plans
Fifth, Habilitat creates individualized treatment plans, which are assessed and modified as necessary over the duration of a resident’s stay. This ongoing process helps residents maintain the changes necessary for positive results.
Substance Free Zone
Sixth, unannounced drug testing is conducted on all residents and staff as part of Habilitat’s plan for maintaining a substance-free facility.
Seventh, and last, I’m impressed with Habilitat’s leadership in that they are constantly looking to improve their strategies, enhance involvement in the local community, address the unique needs of resident from all ethnicities being admitted for treatment, and strengthening their graduates for the next step after program completion. Given my belief in Habilitat, I continue referring people to the program.
Professor, Higher Education,
Trainer, and Consultant