If you suffer from substance use disorder, choosing to seek treatment is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. As with any journey, that first step on the road to recovery is often the most difficult. It certainly was for many of us at Providence Retreat.
Once you commit to receiving treatment, the next challenge—one that can be equally daunting—is to find a recovery program that works for you. Some treatment centers serve hundreds of people at a time in a coed environment. Some, like ours, are more limited in scope (we only serve 12 men at a time). Some are religiously affiliated. Others aren’t spiritual at all. High-end treatment could cost thousands of dollars a day, while other options might be covered by a combination of insurance and copays.
If you’re seeking treatment (or know someone who is), it’s important to get all the facts before committing to a program. While we can’t speak to what goes on in other treatment centers, we thought it would be helpful to give people an in-depth look at how we do things here at Providence Retreat—and why we believe our program is a great option for men in recovery.
First Steps To Recovery
If, after looking at our website, you feel that Providence Retreat is a good fit, the first thing we’ll do is talk to you over the phone. This is so we can get a better sense of where you’re at. For example, if you’re still using, we might recommend that you complete a detox program before joining us. If you’ve been abstinent, we would look for ways to get you in more quickly.
It’s also a chance for us to get to know you—to hear your story and understand your struggles. Having helped hundreds of men on their journeys to recovery, we know that some of the most important things we can do are also some of the simplest: to listen; to empathize; to be there for someone going through one of the biggest challenges of their life.
To family members or friends looking at treatment options for a loved one: We want to talk to you, too. We’ll give you the tools and talking points you need to address treatment in a healthy, productive way. You know you can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re here to help.
Finding Your Recovery Routine
Once you or your loved one are in our program (which typically runs 3-4 weeks, depending on the individual), the goal is to provide as much support and stability as possible. We’ve modeled Providence Retreat on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics anonymous, and much of what we do is done with those tenets in mind. Also, we only take 12 men at a time at our facility (located in beautiful Hollis, Maine), creating a more intimate, individual experience.
So what does a typical day here look like? It starts—as all days should—with a good breakfast. For many with substance use disorders, a healthy diet is one of the first things to fall by the wayside. Getting three square meals a day is a critical component of your recovery.
Next, we’ll head to the meditation room. It might be the first time you’ve ever tried meditating—and that’s okay. It’s why we try many different styles of meditation, from guided sessions to ones focused more on breathing or listening to ambient sounds, and why some people choose to sit lotus-style while others lay on the floor: Different things work for different people.
The purpose of these sessions is to help you take your mind off of drugs or alcohol, to give it a new routine to focus on. It also helps lay the foundation for one of the most important steps of the AA approach: prayer and meditation (No. 11).
Doing the Work
After meditation, you’ll participate in the first of two daily group sessions. Here, you’ll take a deep dive into the core tenets of A.A., primarily through passages in “The Big Book” (though many of our discussions will go beyond the scope of the 12 Steps). The purpose of these sessions is twofold: to apply these lessons to your own life; and (eventually) use them to help others in their journey.
Around noon, we’ll all sit down for a family-style lunch. After that, you’ll have about an hour of free time. Some residents opt to rest or read. Others might choose to work on Step 4 (what we call “taking inventory”): sitting down to write about their experience, in hopes that doing so will allow them to see—in black and white—the roots of their behaviors. Others might go for a quick workout in our gym or a walk around the property. While group interaction is at the heart of what we do, we also understand that everyone needs some time to themselves.
That’ll be followed by an afternoon group session, where you’ll pick up on the topics discussed earlier in the day—and maybe start some new ones. These meetings can last anywhere from one to two hours.
You’ll then have another hour of free time before dinner. For some residents, one of the highlights of the day is going into town to pick up fresh seafood—right on the waterfront. You’re also welcome to help our staff cook the evening meal. These are the kinds of skills that can help give you a sense of meaning and purpose in your daily life—a critical thing for anyone going through recovery.
Group Recovery Sessions
After dinner, you’ll join the group for our daily trip to a local A.A. chapter (typically in or near Portland). We try to mix it up: One night it might be a meeting with a speaker; the next, a group discussion focused on “The Big Book.” Our goal is to show our residents the many A.A. options that are out there, so they can find the one that best suits their needs.
These meetings are also a great opportunity for you to make connections in the recovery community—or even find a sponsor. If your intention is to stay in the Southern Maine area post-treatment, you’ll at least have places to go to continue your journey.
Once we get back, you’ll have a little bit of free time before we conclude the day with a short reflection and meditation. This is your chance to process and reflect on all you’ve learned that day: what went well, what you’re struggling with, and how to make tomorrow a little better.
What Comes Next
Once residents have completed our 3-4-week program (it could be shorter, if you’ve been through treatment before), the next step typically involves transitioning into a sober-living house for six months to a year. From there, most patients will return to independent living, rejoining their families or moving in with others in recovery.
When it comes to recovery, everyone’s journey is different. But they all start with that first step—one that can be both fearful and liberating. If you think Providence Retreat might be a good fit for you, please give us a call at (207) 298-9130. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.