Sober at Home, Inc Training Manual
What Comes With Our Training Manual?
Welcome to Sober at Home! We are excited that you are interested in becoming part of our team. The purpose of this training manual is to ensure that when you begin to deliver content to our consumers, that you are doing so in a way that matches the philosophy and values of Sober at Home. The manual is meant to be a guide of our core principles that we believe is important to deliver content with a consistent message and approach, while allowing you to provide a service with your experience and approaches within the framework of the Sober at Home model.
Ultimately, we want to impart within you, the two key methods that are the underpinnings of the Sober at Home approach. A brief description below ultimately describes the Sober at Home approach. It is important that anyone coming on board can work within this framework to deliver content on the Sober at Home platform.
All employees of Sober at Home must familiarize themselves and feel comfortable utilizing Adlerian psychology when delivering services. Our two guiding principles are aligned and in step with the psychology of Alfred Adler. Adler was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, and his philosophy lends itself to those seeking support for substance use. If you are interested, we will provide resources to deepen your understanding of Adlerian or “Individual Psychology.”
Our two guiding Adlerian principles:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Alfred Adler was a forefather of modern Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Adler gave us the concept of “Mistaken Beliefs”. It should be noted that even Adler did not invent this concept. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said over 2000 years ago: “Man is not troubled by things, but by the view he takes of them.” Herein, lies Sober at Homes underlying core values, that I have been teaching for over 30 years.
Mistaken Beliefs are the notion that as children and as we grow older, we develop beliefs that may or not be true, but when we believe these untruths to be true, they serve as a source of neurosis. These neuroses often make substance use a logical choice in the mind of the user, and part of the work we do, is to help identify these mistaken beliefs in the course of delivering services.
What is different about the Sober at Home approach is the way we define our method of helping our customers understand the “private logic” of the individual and use this as an opportunity to challenge their mistaken beliefs and shift irrational thoughts, and individual core beliefs to integrate more true and healthy thoughts leading to a shift in goals and style of life.
How is our approach to CBT different? A simple overview is provided below:
P- erformance or behavior
In its simplest form, this is the Sober at Home philosophy in terms of how providers of Sober at Home staff think in terms of a helping approach is played out in group sessions. A brief description of how we understand issues is below:
Everything in life is a situation. There are thousands of situations that occur from the time we wake up, until the time our head hits the pillow at night. Situations, in and of themselves are meaningless. Someone says “good morning” to you in the morning. Your boss confronts you about being late. A person offers you the opportunity to go to a bar. All of these are just situations and are meaningless until one gives those situations meaning.
Thoughts are where the work at Sober at Home takes place. Thoughts represent our values and priorities and are paramount in determining one’s happiness or misery. Whenever we are presented with situations, we have thoughts about those situations. Our thinking system is how we interpret situations. Outside of biological functions, we think about everything. There are those who believe that sometimes we just react, and we don’t have time to think. This is a fallacy. We will go into deeper depth, later in this manual to demonstrate how we think about everything. I cannot underestimate this point, however, as it is our thinking where “mistaken beliefs” lie and provides a roadmap to understanding how we go about dealing with issues for Sober at Home customers. For demonstration purposes, let’s take on of the situations identified above of how we think about things lead to healthy or unhealthy behavior.
Situation- Someone offers the opportunity to go to a bar.
There are infinite ways in which we can think about this situation. Here are some potential thoughts:
Thought- I can’t do this sobriety thing- This is too hard. Or we can tell ourselves
Thought- Thank God I’m sober today, and I don’t have to live like I have in the past.
Emotions- Depending on what we tell ourselves about the situation determines what we feel, and very importantly how intensely we feel it. We generally “Perform” or behave in ways that match we feel. The Sober at Home philosophy challenges what we tell ourselves to create a state in which we feel “less negative and more positive.” The more intense our negative emotions, the less control we tend to have, and the more likely it is that we will engage in performance or behavior that we are not proud of or regret. The goal of Sober at Home is to challenge what we tell ourselves about situations (challenging thoughts, values, and priorities) to reduce the intensity of these emotions which in turn lead to more healthy and productive outcomes. Let’s go back to our initial situation and see how our thoughts create different feelings.
Situation- Offered opportunity to go to a bar
Thoughts- I can’t do this- This is too hard or
Thank God I’m sober today, and I don’t have to live like I have in the past.
Emotions- Deflated, Anxious, Angry (Scale from 1-10- let’s say an 8) or
At peace, confident or at least less deflated, anxious or angry (Scale from 1-10 is a 3)
Performance- Go to a bar and drink or
Politely say no thanks, I don’t drink.
It is important to note that virtually everything we face in life is something that we think about. How we think about things are rooted in a value and priority system that has been developed over the years. Many people struggling with substance use, have a thought system that has for a long time made sense to them, and they are seeking help now, not simply to change performance or behaviors, but to truly benefit from the program, we have to look at the thoughts, values and priority systems that lead to use in a way that has made sense to them in the past. The reason for seeking help at this time is to not just to stop using, but to get to the underlying causes to make substance use no longer a viable option from a thoughts and emotions perspective.
I React, I Don’t Think
Many believe that we simply react to situations without thinking. As previously stated, unless we are talking about biological functioning like breathing, this is untrue. Why is the 18–25-year-old population more at risk for accidents? One is because due to lack of practice, their reaction time is slower. With practice, people are better prepared to deal with dangerous situations behind the wheel, reducing the likelihood of an accident. However, look at your own differences in behaviors driving, and how they differ in split second decision making. Let’s say you are driving a car and someone you care about is sitting next to you. Something happens that causes you to slam on your brakes. Most people will extend their hand to offer protection to a loved one. Take that same situation that causes you to slam on brakes, but there is no one sitting next to you. Most people will grip the steering wheel more tightly. The situation is the same, but how we think about the situation changes, and in less than one second, we process that information differently and behave differently.
This is an important concept to understand as it eliminates individuals’ ability to say things like:
“I don’t know why I did it, I wasn’t thinking.”
“It’s just the way I am, I can’t change that.”
“You can’t expect me to change so quickly.”
This is an empowering concept, and places responsibility on the individual’s decision whether to stay the same or move towards making change. Alfred Adler believed that all behavior is purposeful, and goal directed. Understanding that we don’t just react, but rather think about everything explains the purpose of behavior. As staff of Sober at Home, it is essential that we don’t allow participants to disown behavior. There are many workbook sheets as part of the Sober at Home program that speak to taking responsibility.
If you would like more information on the STEP model, and the cognitive behavioral therapy approach we utilize, information will be made available to you.
“People need encouragement like plants need water, the ones that need it the most, are the ones who get it the least.”
This tenet of Sober at Home is paramount. We believe in a person’s capacity to change, to be sober, and the only thing that prevents change is a lack of desire to do so.
A working definition of courage is this: “The ability to act in the face of something that is difficult or scary.”
Make no mistake- in the lifestyle of addiction, those we serve have demonstrated courage. The lifestyle of use is often filled with deception. Further, many users draw lines in the sand that they say that they will never cross, but boldly do so with courage. For example: most IV heroin users often start using pills. The believe that they would never use heroin. Then when they switch to heroin, they say “I’ll only sniff it, addicts use heroin IV.” Then using their own private logic, they cross the line to IV use. Hence, they demonstrate courage to cross lines, that they say they will never cross.
To encourage is to instill courage into an individual. For staff at Sober at Home, it is our job to help individuals see and believe in their capacity to change and be sober.
There is a growing sentiment in the treatment community that addicts are incapable of making healthy decisions. This thinking undermines efforts at sobriety. While the treatment community is obsessed with reducing overdose deaths and removing the word sobriety as a goal of treatment, Sober at Home embraces the notion that people can and in fact do get sober. While harm reduction may demonstrate progress, it is not our ultimate goal.
If we accept that those addicted to substances are incapable of making healthy decisions, then we fail to recognize the capability of much more and accept much less. Mind you, that while many in the treatment community are lowering the bar and expectations trying to keep people from overdosing, overdose rates are rising.
People that seek treatment that have not been successful often results in feelings of discouragement- the notion that past unsuccessful efforts at treatment are indicators that they cannot be successful now. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ultimately, past decisions to return to use, from a cognitive behavioral perspective, are nothing more than a desire to return to use, that becomes greater than one’s desire to stay sober. If we shift our values and priorities, we can overcome obstacles that we’ve struggled with in the past.
If is the responsibility of Sober at Home staff to promote encouragement and confidence in one’s ability to achieve even though they may not have been successful in the past.
What is the Difference between Sober at Home and Traditional Treatment?
One benefit of the sober at home approach, lies in the fact that attempting to get sober at home, our customers are: A) Not in environments that don’t believe in their ability to get sober and B) Our clients are not around others (clients) in facilities where others are telling war stories, looking forward to using again, or even selling drugs at the treatment facility.
To be successful at implementing the Sober at Home model, our staff must have a fundamental understanding of our unique Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model along with the ability to provide encouragement to participants.
More opportunities to learn about the encouragement utilized by Sober at Home staff will follow.
There are several major differences between Sober at Home and traditional treatment programs:
1) Sober At Home is NOT treatment. One could call it a treatment look alike or treatment alternative. We define ourselves as providing information, education, support, and encouragement. We are not opposed to professional treatment and recognize that more formal treatment intervention may be required. However, we also believe that the traditional treatment model is failing in many ways and has given up on the idea of getting individuals sober. We believe that by gathering individuals across the country and potentially around the world who are invested in becoming sober from their drug of choice, we can help the individual enter into a sober life.
2) By not offering traditional treatment, Sober at Home and its staff can offer individuals what we do best without unnecessary paperwork and regulations. Many working in the traditional treatment field are bogged down in paperwork and regulatory requirements. At Sober at Home, close to 100% of your time will be dedicated to providing high quality services. There are no treatment plans, discharge plans or daily notes to worry about. We are also not taking public or private insurance. This will eliminate the endless phone calls to authorize treatment visits. Our customers will have a variety of options to sign up for our services. Because they are potentially paying out of pocket, they may be more likely to be motivated for the services we offer.
3) The Sober at Home approach fundamentally believes in the individual’s capacity to get sober and enjoy all the benefits that go along with a sober lifestyle. One challenge and opportunity we have at Sober at Home is the ability to incorporate the concept of “We” in our approach. Traditional treatment approaches inherently offer this by physically gathering patients in a brick-and-mortar setting. At its best, traditional treatment programs offer the potential for affiliation and to build a sense of connectedness that is essential to helping one bond to the lifestyle of recovery. However, as previously stated, for several reasons, traditional treatment settings often are not able to achieve this goal. They are filled with the unmotivated, mandated, and at its worst people dealing drugs in the program. This, in addition to the lack of commitment to helping people get sober, and a greater focus on harm reduction, makes it difficult to build a sense of a healthy bonded community. Sober at Home will be challenged to create the concept of we as we deliver content to individuals from a variety of geographic locations. This will be accomplished in 3 primary ways: First, we are hopeful that when individuals are demonstrating their commitment to our service by paying out of pocket, they will be more motivated for the services being offered, which in turn will facilitate our customers being more engaged. Second, offering “Closed Group” options will help with bonding to the group that individuals are going through the program with. Finally, Sober at Home will offer an online social community to further develop the concept of “We.” The online social community will facilitate bonding to in the Sober at Home program.
4) Flexibility. Brick and mortar programs require the individual to fit their schedules around the availability of the traditional treatment programs. Sober at Home offers open and closed groups that fit the schedule of the individuals. This is an important aspect of our approach. It also helps staff identify a schedule that works best for them. Now, individuals can select groups that may allow them to continue to work. Sober at Home will offer open groups and closed group packages that fit their schedule. For example, someone working a late shift can choose a group that starts at 8am. Others can choose a set of groups that start at noon or 8pm.
5) Sometimes there is stigma associated with attending traditional treatment and/or getting a diagnosis that may carry forever. By allowing the individual to receive services that meet their needs from home, they do not have to deal with the shame and/or stigma by walking into traditional treatment settings.
Sober At Home Program Offerings
Sober At Home offers individuals a variety of options to choose from to meet their needs. Potential participants will take a brief questionnaire to determine a suggested program that will maximize their opportunity for success and provide efficacy for all program participants.
- Self-Directed Path- Anyone may choose a self-directed path. This will include access to a Sober at Home Workbook, with video content that goes along with workbook sheets. There will be access for individuals to try out open groups to get a feel for what a closed group membership program might look like.
- Closed Groups and Phases- Closed groups are groups that have a specific beginning and end. Participants who sign up for a closed group will have the opportunity to go through the phase with the same people they start the group with, and no additional individuals will be permitted to enter a closed group, once it has commenced. This builds group cohesion. Closed groups will meet at pre-selected days and times for a fixed time frame. This is where we anticipate most participants landing. Participants will complete a brief questionnaire to identify what phase of service best meets their needs. A daily user who used yesterday, would not be able to access our less intensive phases of service. Individuals who sign up for a closed group package will also have access to open groups. More on our Phases to follow.
- Open Groups- Open groups are groups that may occur at different days and times and are open to a limited number of people, but not necessarily the same people that are individuals in closed groups. There are two purposes of open groups. First, new members who choose the open group option will have access to our workbook to provide a glimpse of the kind of support and education one could get from a closed group therapy session, Second- Open groups will serve as additional support for individuals that are signed up for closed group packages. If one finds themselves in a moment of weakness, is just struggling, or could use some encouragement, they can sign up for an open group to get that additional support. Open groups may also offer specific topics for discussion, and if there is a specific topic that you would like to cover, this may also present an opportunity for you effectively participate in the Sober at Home program.
- Phase One- Phase One is designed for those who are in early recovery. This is our most intensive offering. The phase will have 3 closed groups per week, with the individual also having the opportunity to participate in additional open groups. Phase One participants will also have access to the Sober at Home workbook and a variety of adjunct video content. If you are going to provide Phase One groups, you must be willing to commit to a schedule that allows for that group to meet three times a week at a time that is both convenient for you and the participants that sign up. Phase one is designed to meet for 5 weeks. For example: you can choose to offer a Phase One group on Mondays, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s at 8pm Eastern Time. You must commit to providing this service for this time frame at those days and times. There is flexibility in the days/times you offer, and ultimately payment will be based on the number of people that sign up for those days/times.
- Phase Two- Phase Two is designed for 2 types of participants. 1) Those participants who have completed Phase 1 and want to continue the Sober at Home experience by stepping down in the intensity of the program in another closed-group format. 2) Individuals who have a period of sobriety, are not in active addiction, as a result of their questionnaire may qualify or choose to begin the Sober at Home services in Phase 2. Similar to the structure of Phase 1, the closed groups will have a specific start and end days, times, and lengths. Phase 2 will meet twice weekly, for 5 weeks, and again participants will have access to open groups on days in which they are not participating in closed group activities.
- Phase 3- Phase 3 is similar to Phase 2. It may be a step down from Phase 2, or an individual looking for support, who has extensive periods of sobriety may qualify for Phase 3 services. The Phase 3 closed group will meet once a week for 12 weeks, at specific days, times that group facilitators will need to commit to. Phase 3 participants will also have access to open groups throughout the week.
So, there are many opportunities for you to participate in the Sober at Home program.
GUIDELINES FOR PARTICIPATION
- Treat every human being with dignity and respect.
- Choose a time frame for groups that you are willing to commit to. You can set the days and times that work for you, but keep in mind different days and times that will work for our participants. As we are national, people are in different time zones can have different times that may be considered off-schedule for you. For example. If you live on the east coast and are a night owl, a midnight group might be a good time for you, and for a cohort of people that would be participating at 9pm local time. If you are an early bird, a 6sm group time might be perfect for those on the east coast who are going to work.
Consider facilitating multiple closed and open groups. We are looking to cover a calendar. Keep in mind that once a closed group starts, no one can join that closed group until if finishes. Let’s say a Phase 1 group starts July 15th at 7pm EST, and we have a new person that learns about our program on July 16th, meets criteria for Phase 1 and wants to join, they may have to wait a week until a second Phase 1 group starts that fits the participant’s schedule. You can have Phase 1, 2 and 3 groups going at the same time, but you can’t have 2 different groups that start at the same time on the same days.
Closed Group Options:
Phase 1: 3 groups per week for 5 weeks. Consistent days and times, i.e. Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday 7pm.
Phase 2: 2 groups per week for 5 weeks: I.e., Monday/Wednesday 8pm
Phase 3: 1 group per week for 12 weeks: I.e., Saturdays 11am.
Remember, if you would like to run multiple groups, you can do so, as long as the multiple groups do not interfere with each other.
Open Group Options
There are 2 types of open groups- Open Support Groups and Open Topic Groups. The primary difference between open and closed groups is the participant population. While those in closed groups are scheduled to attend during the same days and times, participants for open groups can reach out for help when they want it. The members participating in open groups will likely vary, and depending on the group, there may be higher maximum participants permitted in the group.
Open Support Groups- Sign up is required for Open Support Groups. Think of it as an open group therapy session. This group may have participants that are just trying out the program with a free session, or someone who is enrolled in an Open Group package. They may still be in brand new to recovery. Other participants may be enrolled in one of our phase groups, and looking for some additional support. They may be struggling with a particular issue that they would like to address, or just listen in. Maximum participants in an Open Support group are 10.
Open Topic Groups: We have created a workbook for participants to work on outside of the group experience. We may have an Open Topic Group that addresses a workbook exercise. There are a multitude of topics that are more didactic in nature, but similar to lecturing in a treatment program, we can open the group up for questions or comments. If there is a topic you are interested in, just let us know, and we can put it on the schedule. Maximum participants in an Open Topic group are 25.
We strongly encourage anyone that signs up for a Closed Group package, to take on at least an Open Group or 2 per week.
- Role model behaviors by refraining from foul language, and discourage foul language from participants
- Familiarize yourself with participant group rules, which are detailed below.
- Supervision will take place in 2 ways. There will be supervision scheduled for you to give and receive feedback either clinically, or on the Sober at Home model itself. We are new and are open to your feedback to improve our services. Scheduled supervision may not be wanted or required; however, we would like for you to attend the first supervision scheduled after your first group experience. Supervision may also take place through observation of your group. A senior member of the Sober at Home team may observe group sessions and either schedule a call or email you with feedback.
GUIDE TO FACILITATING GROUP THERAPY
(CLOSED GROUPS AND OPEN SUPPORT GROUPS)
You have all developed a style for facilitating group therapy. This is a guide, and not meant to replace your own approach. However, there are elements that we would like for you to strongly consider when facilitating a group. In this brief guide, you are getting David’s approach that has been successful for over 30 years. Group therapy is sacred. We do not go in with a topic. It is up to the individuals to bring up issues. Have faith. If after a period of time, we may bring up a topic like “Who is struggling today” for discussion, but I can tell you with patience, I’ve never had a group that didn’t have members organically bring up issues.
Introductions- In closed groups, you’re first group can break the ice by having each person introduce themselves with a brief history of what lead them to the group. A go around of each person sharing their recent story of consequences, bottom etc. This should take no more than 5 minutes per person. You can ask others to briefly share how they identify with their stories. Again, keep it brief. This is a tool to help members of the group connect and begin to bond with each other.
Ongoing Group Openings-You may want to start the group with a group opening. I generally ask the following 2 questions to open a group. 1) “Why do I feel good about myself today.” The purpose of this question is to help individuals not only share what is going well but forces the individual to identify something that they have to be grateful for.” Often in addiction, people are far more in contact with all of the negatives. I have never let someone pass on this question. Saying “I’m grateful that I’m clean today” or “I’m happy that I’m not dead” are valid reasons to feel good about yourself. 2) “How am I honestly feeling about being in group now.” The answer to this question often opens the door to see who needs time in group. “I am upset about being in group because my boyfriend just said he’s breaking up with me.” You now know that you want to check in to see if this person needs time. This entire process should take no more than 5 minutes. This is not the time to allow someone struggling to go into their problem.
WHO NEEDS TIME IN GROUP?
I always ask this question: “Who needs time to bring up an issue.” If you are working with a passive group, I have frequently said: “The worst thing that can happen is when someone knows that they have an issue to bring up, and let the group go on and you leave without addressing that issue.” My experience is that you will have between 1 and 3 people say that they need time. Again, just because someone says they can use some time, it doesn’t mean you go right into that person’s issue. Simply say “Thank you” or “great”, “does anyone else need time?” This allows you to gauge how much time you have to dedicate to each person who wants time. It is possible that you have to many people that need time, and you won’t have time to get to everyone. You can simply ask “Who wants to go first” or you can judge based on the group opening who needs time first. If you don’t get to everyone, you can ask them to share in a sentence or 2 what they are struggling with, and either ask them to participate in an open process group or you will make sure to get to them in the next session.
HOW TO ADDRESS ISSUES IN GROUP
One of the most common mistakes clinicians make in conducting group therapy is in how they address issues and problems in groups. Frequently, a participant brings up and issue like “I got into an argument with my girlfriend.” The group then offers solutions such as: “You’ve been taking advantage of her for a long time, you just need to apologize.” This is what I call going from A-Z without understanding what is really going on, “under the hood.” One of the problems with A-Z method, runs the risk of the individual feeling stupid or discouraged for bringing up the issue in the first place. If the problem is so easy to solve, we may leave the individual thinking if this was so easy to solve, why couldn’t I figure this out myself? This is where cognitive behavioral therapy can be an essential tool in your toolbox. When someone brings up an issue in group the best way I have found to address a problem is the following:
- Ask who in the group can identify with the problem. The key is identification, not solution. I admit my approach is very directive, and may not be for everyone. However, I do tend to cut people off at identification to keep the group focused on the individual, and the issue raised, and I try not to let the group go off on a tangent here. I definitely do not allow someone to solve a problem at identification
- As the group is identifying, I am formulating my hypothesis from a CBT perspective what the real issue is. Once the identification is complete, I may ask the group, “You’ve heard what John had to say, what do you think the problem is?” If I have a hypothesis, I will allow other group members to share, and home in on the person or people that share my hypothesis. I may also hear something from someone who may have a better understanding of the issue than me, and I may move in that direction. I also may have no clue as to how to go about addressing the issue, and the identification of others may give me an idea as to how to go about helping.
- Using the example given above- “I got into an argument with my girlfriend”, there are a host of irrational thoughts that may have John troubled. One hypothesis could be that thoughts, values and priorities that John has is that since he is getting help, it’s not fair for her to be giving him a hard time…she should be more understanding. One thing we can anticipate is that if we go forward with our hypothesis and it isn’t accurate, the client will let us know. However, you may actually be onto something, and the client may require a bit of convincing. One way of knowing if you are on the right track is if you experience the “recognition reflex.” This Adlerian term refers to when someone’s body language gives them away, even though their words may say something else. A classic recognition reflex is when someone shakes their head and says “No”, but they are smiling. This may be an indication that their body is giving them away, and we may want to pursue the hypothesis.
- Whatever hypothesis you pursue, the goal is to get the underlying issue, rather than focusing on the surface issue.
- Now you can involve the group and make the issue into more of a group issue around “should” and “it’s not fair”. You can ask the group, “how many others can identify with the underlying issues?”
- Once you have addressed the underlying issues, then we can move towards feedback to address the underlying issues which in turn will help the individual (and potentially other group members) with the surface issue. Make sense?
- Finally, we may ask the group to offer words of encouragement to the individual who took the time to bring up an issue, and you are prepared to move onto the next person who has an issue.
This method can be time consuming, and it may limit your ability to get to more than a couple of people per group. However, with practice you can utilize this method more quickly and efficiently. Further, the more you utilize this method, the more practiced group members will understand the process and will join you in the practice. Not every issue will lend itself to utilizing the method, but if you look for the underlying issues, you will be more likely to find them. This will provide deeper meaning to the group experience, and help the group develop bonding.
A simple go around at the end of group asking members to quickly go around and share their “thoughts and feelings about group today.” This process is also meant to be quick, but typically affirming of the group process, and having group participants want to come back for more. While it hasn’t been formalized yet, we may be looking at using Zoom polls to allow members to answer these types of questions, which may be a more efficient use of group time.
PARTICIPANT GUIDE TO GROUP PARTICIPATON ON ZOOM
- IF YOU HAVE SIGNED UP FOR A CLOSED GROUP PACKAGE, YOUR ATTENDANCE IS EXPECTED FOR EACH GROUP. THIS BUILDS YOUR CONNECTION TO THE GROUP AND GROUP COHESION.
- SIGN UP FOR OPEN GROUPS IS REQUIRED. AS GROUPS ARE LIMITED IN SIZE, PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMITMENT TO ATTEND THESE GROUPS AS YOU MAY BE KEEPING SOMEONE ELSE FROM BEING ABLE TO ATTEND THE OPEN GROUP.
- KEEP VIDEO ON WHILE IN GROUP. TRY TO AVOID LEAVING GROUP ONCE IT STARTS.
- KEEP YOURSELF ON MUTE WHEN YOU ARE NOT SPEAKING.
- PLEASE REFRAIN FROM FOUL LANGUAGE WHEN SPEAKING.
- FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN SPEAKING AND LISTENING. GROUP SIZES ARE LIMITED FOR MAXIMUM PARTICIPATION. THOSE WHO ARE CONSTANTLY SPEAKING DON’T ALLOW TIME FOR FEEDBACK, AND THOSE WHO ONLY LISTEN, NEVER HAVE THE ISSUES AND PROBLEMS PERSONALIZED.
- IF YOU ARE UNDER THE INFLUENCE DURING THE GROUP, OR ARE SUSPECTED TO BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE, THE GROUP FACILITATOR MAY MUTE YOU THROUGHOUT THE GROUP.
- BE RESPECTFUL OF SELF AND OTHERS AT ALL TIMES. PART OF THE GROUP EXPERIENCE REQUIRES CONFRONTATION. BE OPEN, AND IN THE EVENT THAT THERE ARE DISAGREEMENTS, BE RESPECTFUL.
- GROUPS MAY CONTAIN POLLS. PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN POLLS SO WE CAN IDENTIFY THE BENEFITS OF THE GROUP, AND SEEK WAYS TO ACKNOWLEDGE BOTH WHAT WE ARE DOING WELL, AND WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN IMPROVE.
- WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN AS MANY GROUPS AS POSSIBLE, CONSISTENT WITH THE PACKAGE YOU HAVE SIGNED UP FOR. WE ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU TO SIGN UP FOR SOBER at HOME SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS, TO DEEPEN YOUR CONNECTION WITH OTHER SOBER at HOME MEMBERS. SOCIAL MEDIA SITES BUILT FOR OUR MEMBERS WILL OFFER BOTH OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE YOUR SUCCESSES AND SHARE STRUGGLES, WHERE YOU CAN GET PEER SUPPORT FROM OTHER MEMBERS.
DEEPEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SOBER at HOME PROGRAM
As staff of Sober at Home, you will have access to all of the content that members have. This includes: access to the workbook that participants will be encouraged to complete; video content that goes along with the workbooks; other online content like podcasts, blogs and our unique Encouragement Group; our online social media member site and; daily affirmations. Take some time to familiarize yourself with all the additional content so you can deepen your understanding of what our participants are experiencing in the Sober at Home program.
OUR STANCE ON 12 STEP MEETINGS AND MEDICATION ASSISTED TREATMENT (MAT)
Sober at Home philosophy does not push these values on members. We do believe in strengthening the concept of “We” in recovery. While 12 step programs do an excellent job of spelling out how addiction is an inward journey of loneliness, isolation and selfishness, and part of the goal of getting sober is best cemented by developing a concept of “We” in recovery. If members do not wish to participate in 12 step programs, it is important that we assist members of in trying to incorporate the concept of “We.” So, if they don’t wish to attend 12 step programs, we may ask where else they can help build the concept of “We” in recovery. Recovery efforts done alone are likely to result in short term success at best.
Sober at Home staff ought not to judge members for wanting or not wanting to utilize MAT in their efforts to get sober. We do prioritize medications that are injectable such as Sublocade or Vivitrol, as it reduces the risks for misuse. Currently we do not have resources to refer people to providers who offer MAT. While our goal is to help people to get sober, it is not our official stance that using MAT precludes one from considering themselves as sober.
IS SOMEONE CONSIDERED SOBER IF THEY ARE USING ALCOHOL OR OTHER DRUGS?
This may be a difficult sell for those who are in early recovery. This may be especially true for those using drugs like heroin which is considered to be a harder drug than some others. Sober at Home ultimately seeks its members to give up all alcohol and other drugs. The issue is broken down rather simply. People who have an abusive, unhealthy relationship with alcohol and drugs do so for a reason. Their use has a different value, meaning and purpose than it does for social users. Minimizing use of other secondary alcohol and drug use puts individuals at risk to return to their drug of choice. We have seen countless people try to make their recovery fit around other alcohol and drug use, that find themselves ultimately being unsuccessful at recovery efforts, as the secondary substance use is not as satisfying as their primary drug of choice, leading to a return to primary alcohol and drug use to seek the benefits that ultimately result in a return to problematic use.
OUR 2 OVERARCHING GOALS
While we may have different beliefs and styles about how we deliver our services, there are 2 overarching goals that guide our efforts.
- Develop a relapse prevention toolbox. Our goal is to help members get sober. Helping members develop a toolbox which given them the ability to say no to urges, cravings and opportunities to use. If we are successful, our members will strengthen their ability to refuse opportunities to use, remain sober, and find their way to be enjoy a life that is worth living-free of alcohol and drugs.
- Increase level of Social Interest. Social Interest is an Adlerian term that functionally breaks down into three working definitions:
- We are all in this together
- We are all each other’s brothers and sisters
- I better myself to be of service to others.
Take a look at these three tenets. “We are all in this together, is similar to step one of AA. Helping members move from feeling alone to feeling connected is powerful. “We are all each other’s brothers and sisters denote a sense of family within members. The healthier the sense of family, the more we are able to both encourage each other when we are doing well, and helps support each other in our struggles. “I better myself to be of service to others” may sound a lot like step 12 of AA. It indicates that we will have members that are doing well, and part of our job may be to impart the importance of their good fortune as an opportunity to be of service to those who are struggling. Discontinuing alcohol and substance use is in and of itself a Socially Interested act. By getting sober, individuals place themselves in a position to stop hurting themselves and others and return to a life of social usefulness.
ACCEPTING SOBER at HOME CLIENTS FOR PRIVATE PRACTICE
Your participation as a staff member of Sober at Home prohibits you from soliciting participants for private clients and may result in your termination from employment at Sober at Home. In the event that a client wishes to seek your counsel outside of the parameters of the Sober at Home program, it is essential that this is not consistent with Sober at Home policy. If you seek an exemption for this policy, you are required to inquire Sober at Home management.
As Sober at Home is educational in nature, we are not bound by either HIPAA laws, or 42 CFR laws regarding confidentiality. That being said, we are to always treat our clients with the utmost respect, and we will hold their information confidential. Management at Sober at Home will not share any personal information with any 3rd party, external to our business functions. We will never sell or share client personal information outside of necessary business functions. It is our expectation that you maintain the personal information of our clients in confidence except during supervision with Sober at Home staff.
You hold individual licenses or credentials that outline a Code of Ethics. As staff of Sober at Home maintaining ethics and boundaries includes the following:
- I will treat every human being with dignity and respect
- I will not fraternize, socialize or engage in any non-professional relationship with any clients outside of Sober at Home authorized activities (i.e., Sober at Home online social community)
- I will not give any clients my personal phone number, home address, personal email and/or access to my personal social media accounts, nor will I accept any friend invitation to any clients on social media.
- I understand the difference between confrontation which has clinical merit and being disrespectful or demeaning to Sober at Home clients. I will not engage in disrespectful communication towards any Sober at Home client.
As Sober at Home is educational in nature, there will be a legal disclaimer to each participant in the program that Sober at Home is not responsible for anything that a client chooses to do with any of the educational programming that we provide. This will provide the company with legal protections. This does not mean that you as professionals do not require insurance. You must demonstrate proof of insurance in order to participate as a staff member at Sober at Home.
We are glad to have you be part of the Sober at Home team. You will make a difference in the lives of people seeking to get sober. We hope that you find our unique approach reinforces the reasons you chose to serve this population and provides you with a platform to do what you do best.
Please Acknowledge that you have read, understand, and agree to abide by Sober at Home requests by writing the word “Acknowledge” and type your name and date below and return to [email protected]