Center City, Minn. — Hazelden, the private, nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center, has developed an intensive new level of post-treatment support for people in the crucial first months of recovery from addiction.
The 18-month Hazelden Connection program includes one-to-one coaching, accountability reporting, random drug testing and online support, and it involves family members, employers or other concerned persons or stakeholders.
As Janelle Wesloh, executive director of Recovery Management at Hazelden, explains, addiction is a chronic disease with relapse rates similar to rates for diabetes, hypertension and asthma. The Hazelden Connection program targets the post-treatment transition period, which is known to be a key timeframe for both reducing risk factors for relapse and laying a solid foundation for lifelong recovery.
"For people who've been accustomed to planning their days around drinking or other drug use, adapting to life without these chemicals can feel incredibly daunting if not downright terrifying," says Wesloh. "Yet research tells us that those who actively engage in continuing care after addiction treatment are more likely to remain abstinent for the long haul."
By helping participants adjust to their new life in recovery in all aspects—emotionally and socially, at home, work or school, Hazelden Connection is designed to bridge what for many has been an insurmountable gap.
This intensive level of post-treatment support and assistance is ideal for people who need additional encouragement and accountability such as those facing legal issues, custody matters, or loss of professional licensure, those who have been through addiction treatment multiple times, or anyone needing extra support following treatment, says Wesloh.
In addition to receiving regular and ongoing personal guidance from a Hazelden Connection coach, participants designate family members or other concerned persons to be actively involved in recovery support and accountability.
The coach not only monitors the newly recovering individual, but also compiles monthly verification reports that are sent to key stakeholders including the participant and his or her designated family members or loved ones as well as other contacts such as the legal system or employer, as appropriate.
"The idea is to leverage and consolidate resources in support of the individual in recovery—to get him or her on solid footing right out of treatment—because we know that getting sober is the first step. Learning how to stay sober is a lifelong journey," explains Wesloh.
At this time, Hazelden Connection is available only to Hazelden patients 18 years of age and older. Hazelden plans to make the program available later this year to individuals who have completed addiction treatment at other programs.
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