Social Model Recovery

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The term known as “social model recovery” is often used in the field of addiction recovery or drug rehab. Social model drug rehab programs emphasize the process of relearning responses to challenges, stresses and anxieties through ‘‘doing’’ and ‘‘experiencing’’ things in a new way by watching positive role models. These types of drug and alcohol rehab programs have had some success because they can be very effective at building strong, positive social coping behaviors and social support systems.

A Social Model for Recovery

The social model of addiction recovery has been seen in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) where mutual self-help is promoted as a way to stay sober. Generally, people struggling with alcoholism or addiction often lack social support and, in the absence of that support from a social network, their addiction can lead to the unraveling of their lives, and sometimes homelessness. Long ago AA recognized that alcoholics struggling with sobriety needed more social support and the guidance provided by shared experiences.

The term known as “social model recovery” is often used in the field of addiction recovery or drug rehab. Social model drug rehab programs emphasize the process of relearning responses to challenges, stresses and anxieties through ‘‘doing’’ and ‘‘experiencing’’ things in a new way

Recovery Homes and Facilities

The AA program initially provided “Recovery Homes” for newer AA members who were temporarily homeless and in acute need of support and guidance. In the early days of AA, these recovery homes might actually be the homes of other AA members who would host newer members and act as guides by sharing their own experiences. Later, once the need for such recovery homes was recognized by the public, they received funding and support, and were formalized as a standard (and licensed) component of many addiction rehabilitation programs.

Recovery homes or facilities are an integral part of a social model recovery program. They tend to be structured as community-based residential programs where food, shelter, guidance and recovery services are provided in a supportive peer-group environment. Services in a recovery home or residential rehab facility may include health care, individual and group counseling (with group sharing and support), alcohol and drug recovery education, group recreational activities, and referrals to community services.

Inpatient and Outpatient Social Models for Recovery

The social model for recovery as fostered in recovery homes can help addicts make positive, lasting changes in their lifestyle to help them better cope with patterns that led to addiction. The idea is to demonstrate, or model, a positive and drug-free, alcohol-free, non-dysfunctional way of life within a recovery home.

However, the social model for addiction recovery is not limited to residential rehab programs within recovery homes. There are also non-residential social model recovery programs where addicts or alcoholics can participate as outpatients. These are typically community-based programs that provide a sober and supportive environment. Often, services are provided to outpatients or members who have alcohol- or drug-related problems. A community-based program might also educate the public and surrounding community concerning such problems in order to reduce addiction problems including alcoholism or drug addiction.

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