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Continuing Care for Recovery from Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Continuing Care

Through a generous grant from the Baptist Healing Trust, Discovery Place’s Continuing Care Program provides ongoing support, direction, and encouragement for our alumni in their first year of recovery. Prior to commencement from our 30-day residential recovery program, staff work with guests to formulate a detailed plan of action for sustained sobriety. The regimen serves as an outline for these vital components of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction:

  • Twelve-Step recovery meetings
  • Sponsorship
  • Continuing to work the Twelve Steps
  • Ongoing events and communication with Discovery Place

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We assist our guests in creating a personalized Continuing Care plan detailing the recovery-related activities they intend to participate in after leaving Discovery Place. The Continuing Care plan includes the important items listed above as well as Big Book study meetings, 12 & 12 step study meetings, ample time for prayer and meditation, and so on. The Continuing Care plan also includes specific Twelve-Step meetings located conveniently for each guest, keeping in mind where he'll be living at the time.

For approximately one month after commencement, Discovery Place alumni receive weekly check-in calls to measure and document their commitment to recovery and to offer encouragement or direction when needed. Weekly phone calls serve to reinforce the recovery spirit in a man’s first thirty days outside of Discovery Place; historically, men in this stage of recovery are especially vulnerable to relapse.

Discovery Place Organized Events

Once our alumni transition into their second month out of the Thirty-Day Recovery Program, Continuing Care Program staff make check-in calls once a month prior to the ninety-day mark, one call in the ninety-day to six-month period, and another phone call at the one-year mark. Again, we make inquiries concerning our former guests' sobriety, document the results, and offer encouragement if needed.

In addition to providing ongoing support for Discovery Place alumni, our Continuing Care Program allows us to measure the success of our 30-day residential and long-term recovery programs. We are pleased to report over the past three years, 61% of Discovery Place alumni declare they are sober one year after leaving our residential and long term programs.

Research clearly demonstrates men who stay sober for one year dramatically increase their chances of remaining sober for a lifetime. Our Continuing Care program is committed to ensuring the sobriety of all alumni in their first year of recovery. Sometimes, a phone call from Continuing Care staff can be the difference between relapse and sober perseverance. You can count on Discovery Place to make that call.

Continuing Care Program Outcomes

Shown here is a bar graph that illustrates our residential recovery and long-term recovery program outcomes from 2009 to 2011. [1]

Alumni Outcomes

Continuing Care Program: Sobriety Outcomes in Text Version, Line Graphs

The data below shows the total number of Discovery Place guests for the particular year, how many guests participated in our Continuing Care program, how many of the Continuing Care participants were sober, the percentage of sober Continuing Care participants, and the total percentage of sober Discovery Place alumni.

chart of Continuing Care recovery outcomes from 2009-2011 - Discovery Place, TNgraph of 2009 Continuing Care recovery outcomes - Discovery Place, TNgraph of 2010 Continuing Care recovery outcomes - Discovery Place, TNgraph of 2011 Continuing Care recovery outcomes - Discovery Place, TN

[1] NOTE: Questions relating to service work and family relations were not asked in 2009 and 2010. The results for the field labeled "Sober" are measured at the time of the one-year check-up call. These alumni may have been sober the entire year, or they could have experienced a relapse in between. At the time of the call, however, they reported being sober.

How We Conduct our Studies

In Addiction Treatment Outcomes: Who and What Can You Believe? by William L. White (MA) and Mark D. Godley (Ph.D.), there is a set of criteria for accurately reporting addiction recovery program outcomes. This includes:

Inclusion Criteria

The high reported success rates of some programs may reflect a practice euphemistically known as “creaming”—admitting to treatment or including in the study only individuals with the best prognoses for long-term recovery, while excluding those with high problem severity. In contrast, scientific studies of program effectiveness attempt to assure that those being studied are representative of the larger pool of persons in need of such treatment or restrict statements of effectiveness to those persons who share the characteristics of those studied. 

Discovery Place includes all guests who have completed our 30-day residential recovery program in published outcomes.

Intention to Treat

Reporting success rates solely of “graduates” or those “successfully completing continuing care”—a common practice in program marketing materials and local program evaluations-- inflates treatment outcomes by excluding those clients who failed to complete primary treatment or continuing care. In contrast, scientific studies base their conclusions about the degree of treatment effectiveness on “intent to treat” samples, meaning that once enrolled in the study, even clients who drop out after one day or one session are still included in the main analyses (for retrospective studies this would be the equivalent of including every client admitted during a specified time period, not just those who successfully completed treatment). This is a key point because treatment was intended to work for individuals who prematurely dropped out, therefore they must be included all the way through longitudinal follow-up and data analysis. This practice is essential in defining the success and limitations of interventions. 

Discovery Place includes all guests who have completed our 30-day residential recovery program in published outcomes. All commenced guests are automatically included in our Continuing Care program. It is estimated that 1% or less of program enrollees fail to complete our 30-day program.

Sample Size

Small samples provide poor statistical power to detect treatment effects upon which conclusions can be drawn, e.g., is the treatment more effective for women than men, when women may make up a very small number of the overall sample. Alternatively, studies with small sample sizes may find a large effect (capitalizing on a few patients with excellent outcomes) that would later dissipate once, for example, 50 patients per condition or more were enrolled, treated, and followed-up. We have seen significant findings occur with 30 clients per condition only to be reduced to clinically trivial differences upon following up 50 clients per condition. Studies with small samples may be helpful in calling for large sample controlled replications, but they should not be relied upon for marketing, policy or program decision making. 

Discovery Place's sample size consists of over 500 guests over the span of 3 years.  This is the largest sample size possible.

Follow-Up Rate

The low follow-up rates (less than 50%) that often characterize local treatment program follow-up studies artificially inflate recovery outcomes by excluding those individuals who couldn’t be found at follow-up. Research shows that poorer functioning clients are more likely to be lost at follow up (Scott, 2004). The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment requires 80% follow up rates at 6 and 12 months for its discretionary grant programs and recently published follow-up technology is demonstrating consistent rates of 90+% several years after intake (Scott, 2004; Scott & Dennis, 2000; Cottler, Compton, Ben-Adallah, Horne, & Claverie, 1996). 

Discovery Place includes non-participants in our Continuing Care program in our published outcomes.

Resources: Continuing Care

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