When I was a patient at Cumberland Heights the idea of leaving the bubble to begin life in recovery was overwhelming. Luckily, I did not have to figure out how to live life on life’s terms alone. I had a counselor and case manager who collaborated on a Continuing Care Plan that would guide me toward resources which would help me develop skills to remain clean and sober one day at a time.
A Continuing Care Plan is developed and managed by a patient’s Case Manager. It’s comprised of several clinical recommendations by a patient’s treatment team and designed to support his/her recovery once s/he leaves campus.
Providing an alumnus with a firm foundation for his/her recovery is not only a recommendation; it’s essential. Look at it as a road map to sobriety.
A good Continuing Care Plan may encompass some of the following components:
- Ongoing Treatment… such as Extended Care to work more deeply on co-occurring disorders or trauma while practicing recovery.
- 12-Step Immersion… for those who would benefit from an intimate community doing an in-depth look at applying the 12-Steps of recovery.
- 12-Step meetings… these help form the foundation of abstinence based addiction treatment. It’s an important step to find a home group and a sponsor. There are AA and NA meetings in most communities across the country. Find more information at www.aa.org or www.na.org.
- Aftercare meetings… are an ongoing support network for alumni and their family members. The goal of Aftercare is to foster and encourage accountability, identify and arrest relapse symptoms and nurture long-term recovery. Aftercare is a FREE service provided for all former patients and family members to attend for life and is offered weekly at a several convenient Cumberland Heights locations.
- Sober living… is recommended to an alumnus when it is felt they would benefit from additional structure following the residential program. For someone new in recovery sober living provides a sober support system while transitioning to independent living.
- Outpatient Recovery Centers… can offer day or evening group therapy for the next step for an alumnus who began his/her recovery within an inpatient residential program. It affords a transition back to the home and work environment while still being supported in early recovery practices.
- Meeting with a psychiatrist and/or therapist who is informed about addiction… this gives an alumnus a clinician to speak to in a confidential environment and a platform to work through issues such as trauma. Additionally, a psychiatrist will understand mental health and various therapy and pharmacology options for each condition.
- Wellness checkups with a primary care physician… to ensure an alumnus doesn’t have an undiagnosed medical condition for which s/he needs treatment. Also, to maintain communication between the alumnus and his/her physician where medication may be of concern.
- Alumni Activities… connect and have fun in recovery. As you continue your recovery process, Alumni services may be provided where you’ve completed treatment. Participation is encouraged in the wide range of activities and events offered in a safe and friendly recovery environment.
I cannot say enough about how critical a Continuing Care Plan is to a person’s overall outcome. Following the specific steps of a Continuing Care Plan ensures a greater degree of success in long-term recovery. With a road map in hand, each alumnus bravely begins recovery, taking the recommendations and each of the 12 steps, one at a time…one day at a time.
Katrina Cornwell is a case manager at Cumberland Heights, a motivational speaker, blogger and three-time, first-place award winner in the annual Tennessee Press Association contest.
In her presentations, she speaks about her addiction to drugs and alcohol and how those habits led to a drunk driving accident which killed a man in October 2009.