Comprehensive, Holistic Healing
It’s true…Balance House is a “dual diagnosis” program. For our purposes, dual diagnosis means that we treat the whole human being; you can’t compartmentalize addiction vs. trauma vs. mental illness; if you’re not treating all of it, you might as well not be treating any of it. What makes Balance House different is our focus on, and the importance of, a full continuum of care.
Aftercare goes by various names, some of them you may have heard before: Extended Care, Sober Living, Transitional Programs, and even Halfway Houses. What we have come to understand over the years is, regardless of what a program calls aftercare, the differences are slim, and mostly, the different ways of describing aftercare are more or less marketing tactics rather than distinguishing characteristics. It seems, at least to us, that aftercare is treated as more of an afterthought than the crucial part of the healing process it is. Aftercare should teach people how to become self-sufficient while applying what they learn in treatment to their daily lives. Metaphorically: if treatment is surgery, then aftercare is the actual recovery from the injury. —The best surgeon in the world won’t reduce the need for ongoing physical therapy. Long term treatment is exactly the same.
Over the last several years, it seems there’s a clear disconnect between the primary focus on treatment and the secondary or even tertiary focus on aftercare. Research is clear on the subject: good aftercare plays a vital role in ensuring change is both impactful and lasting.
What we have come to understand over the years is time, just time, is among the most crucial pieces. It takes time to change, and change is indispensable for anyone on this journey. What are we looking for? Well, that’s tough to answer—we’re not a cookie-cutter program, and each client is different. Generally speaking, our clients want to learn how to respect money, build/rebuild credit, finish school, (or start it,), get a job (and keep it; these are different skills), and experience a renewal in their closest relationships. Allowing space for him to learn new ways of living ultimately creates the man he was always meant to be; a man by his own definition. This is a time-intensive process; there are no shortcuts. It also takes time to earn the trust and respect of our clients. We know that —trust is earned and not given. We have to earn our clients’ trust before we can effectively support them on their journey.
Consider this scenario: what if you were informed that you could no longer use your dominant hand? How long do you think it would take for you to become proficient in using your non-dominant hand? Would it take a month, two months, or three months? Now, imagine someone who is dealing with a lasting change in every aspect of their life, while also struggling with the regret of the “wasted” years and the fear of their perceived shortcomings. Is time really that crucial in such a situation? Absolutely. That’s why we mustn’t solely focus on the immediate emotional trauma but also emphasize on (excuse us)… aftercare.