ADDICTION IS A COMPLEX BUT TREATABLE DISEASE THAT AFFECTS BRAIN FUNCTION AND BEHAVIOR
Drugs and alcohol alter an addict’s brain’s chemistry, structure, and functioning, often resulting in changes that can persist long after his drug use has stopped. Our clients often began using drugs and alcohol at a very early age while their brains were still undergoing critical stages of growth and development. We afford our clients the needed time to heal their bodies and minds as they learn and practice new recovery behaviors through our 60 or 90-day residential treatment program. We call this our 12-Step based Immersion Therapy Model of treatment. More than just providing young men with education about the disease and a rehashing of their past drug history failures, we immerse them into the excitement and actual experience of a life lived each day in recovery. At the Last Resort, recovery is not something to be studied and recorded in a notebook, it’s something each man quickly begins putting to use in his daily life. Young men learn through hands-on experience and through interaction and imitation of staff and peers acting as positive role models.
Throughout his stay, our addictionologist and master level therapists oversee each man’s treatment planning; however, in cases where additional psychiatric or medical services may be required, our consulting physicians and psychiatrists work closely with our treatment team in providing individual assessments, diagnosis, medications and monitoring as needed.
NO SINGLE ADDICTION TREATMENT IS APPROPRIATE FOR EVERYONE
At The Last Resort we work closely with prospective clients and their families to be sure we can meet any unique treatment needs a young man may have. Our admission specialists or clinicians conduct in-depth pre-admission interviews free of charge. We work closely with a number of respected treatment centers across the country, each guided by high, ethical standards, and together forming a seamless provider-referral network to meet a man’s individual treatment needs. If we can’t provide a young man with the help he needs to recover we will work tirelessly with him and his family to help them find it.
Many young men lack some basic life skills necessary for successful, independent living. This is why preparing meals, performing household chores, and practicing other basic living skills are practiced and evaluated. At TLR we assess each man’s abilities to function effectively in recovery and address these as an integral part of his individualized treatment plan. Additionally, each new client is given an Enneagram Assessment tool that helps our staff determine how the young man best learns and copes with stress. Our goal at TLR, is to individualize each man’s treatment so he achieves the recovery success that has eluded him until now.
TREATMENT NEEDS TO BE READILY AVAILABLE
Because young men are often unwilling or uncertain about entering addiction treatment, taking advantage of available services the moment a man is ready for help can often be critical. Our admission’s team and clinical staff are available to assist seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Our staff will often stay in close, personal contact with a man or his family for weeks or sometimes months before he may be ready to enter treatment. We do all we can to facilitate a man’s getting the help he needs at the moment he needs it.
EFFECTIVE ADDICTION TREATMENT ATTENDS TO MULTIPLE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL, NOT JUST HIS OR HER DRUG ABUSE
At The Last Resort, we address each man’s alcohol and drug abuse along with any associated medical, developmental, psychological, social, familial, vocational, and/or legal problems he may be experiencing. Very few young men come to us suffering from alcohol and drug issues alone. We work closely with our clinical and recovery support teams to provide trauma informed treatment for clients coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We also do all that we can to afford men the additional psychological or medical services they may need concurrently with their addiction treatment. Our support staff transports men to needed medical and other appointments, minimally interrupting their addiction treatment while their other needs are being met.
REMAINING IN TREATMENT FOR AN ADEQUATE PERIOD OF TIME IS CRITICAL
Outcome studies of successful treatment indicate that young men respond best to a minimum of 60 days in residential treatment when battling alcohol or drug addiction. This is particularly true where life management skills are lacking and where a holistic approach to treatment is called for rather than an exclusively clinical one. Relapse can often occur following a shorter 30-day model, but our more extended treatment stay model is now the recognized standard of effective care. All men reside with us for a minimum of 60 days, but extensions can be accommodated if they are needed. Many men coming to us are referred to us directly from shorter-term treatment facilities through our growing network of national referrals.
But their initial residential stay with us is only the beginning of the Last Resort’s full 15-month treatment program. Following successful completion of our residential component, young men are often referred to carefully screened sober living homes both in Austin and in other cities. Some men are able to return to their homes and families with follow-up care delivered through our network of out-patient service providers. Continuing Care and Alumni Support Services are provided without charge to clients remaining in the Greater Austin area. In all cases we strongly encourage men to stay connected with us through involvement with The Last Resort’s very active National Alumni Association.
BEHAVIORAL THERAPIES – INCLUDING INDIVIDUAL, FAMILY, OR GROUP COUNSELING – ARE THE MOST COMMONLY USED FORMS OF DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT
At The Last Resort, our staff-to-client ratios are among the most generous in the treatment field. In addition to the usual counselor-client model of therapy, each young man is also assigned an personal recovery specialist who meets regularly with him, both individually and in small group settings, throughout the course of his stay. This part of our Immersion Therapy Model often doubles the amount of critical one-on-one and process group time afforded each client. Studies have found this individual and group process time is critical for achieving successful outcomes.
TLR also provides a solid array of behavioral and supportive therapies designed to meet the individual treatment needs of the young men we serve. Each piece of our curriculum is carefully crafted into a treatment experience specifically designed to meet the needs of young men struggling with addiction. In addition to the counseling and coaching sessions described above our men receive:
- IN-DEPTH ASSESSMENTS by our Board Certified Addictionologist, M.D. with client sessions generally lasting nearly two hours. Our clinicians also conduct in-depth social and psychological assessments with input from a man’s family as well as Enneagram testing to help determine how a man best processes information so his treatment planning becomes more individualized.
- PSYCHIATRIC and MEDICAL ASSISTANCE. Consulting physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists are available to assist clients with co-occurring mental health issues, in addressing any complicating medical illnesses, and in providing the medical support needed to allow men to meet multiple treatment needs simultaneously.
- FULL FAMILY PROGRAMMING includes four days of education, group therapy, and individual family sessions, under the direction of Master’s or Doctoral Level Therapists. Working in a small group structures and under the guidance of our family therapists, family members learn about the illness of addiction, their role within the family system, and receive a unique opportunity to impact their loved one’s treatment while focusing on their own recovery needs going forward.
- LIFE SKILLS & ACCOUNTABILITY TRAINING to prepare young men for success in independent living. At TLR, accountability is stressed – not in a rigid and uncaring way, but in a manner where young men quickly sense what is expected of them in their new community and rise to the expectations of staff and brothers. Our young men prepare meals for the community, assist with shopping, are assigned and monitored in chores related to cleaning, scheduling, community leadership, and time management. Deeper issues addressed include anger management and conflict resolution, handling stress and leisure activities, money management, developing realistic job expectations, applying for jobs, finding healthy supportive living, and preparing for re-entry into the world following discharge.
- PSYCHODRAMA sessions help our young men experience, in a controlled setting, some of the challenging situations they will face in recovery. Young men today are geared toward experiential learning models so we make every effort to provide them the information and skills they’ll need through the most attractive learning techniques available.
- EQUINE THERAPY incorporates a full corral of horses experientially into the emotional and learning growth of our clients. A tested and evidence-based practice, this therapy positively affects assertiveness, communication skills, self-confidence, a positive work ethic, and fosters a growth in healthy relationships. Horses act as “truth tellers” for our young men, responding to them with honest and immediate feedback in sessions coordinated by our clinical and equestrian therapists.
- VISION QUESTS afford young men an opportunity to experience themselves in nature and in silence. Men, by nature, and young men especially, resonate with Native American ceremonies such as these as they face themselves, overcome adversity, and earn their place in the community of men in recovery.
- HOLOTROPIC BREATHWORK sessions allow men a direct experience of the unconscious, bypassing ego perceptions and opening them to deep levels of awareness and healing. They frequently make spirituality an experienced reality. Unlike the abbreviated sessions of most centers using this model, ours are full two-day events with full client participation. Men experience monthly sessions during their stay and many see them as a highlight of their treatment experience.
- JUNGIAN SHADOW WORK opens men to seeing into the darker (and lighter) parts of themselves and learning techniques for integrating them into an expanded level of consciousness. Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, played a role in the beginnings of A.A. and his insights continue to help in the transformational recovery process practiced at TLR. Young men get excited about recovery as they explore and experience the Warrior, Magician, Lover, and King living within.
- SOMATIC EXPERIENCING: According to the founder of this school of therapy, “Trauma lives in the body, not the event.” Once they find safety from attack in the wild, animals spontaneously discharge their stored “fight or flight” energies; but a young man experiencing threatening events continues to hold trauma within his body. This often contributes to strong feelings of restlessness, irritability; a man being uncomfortable in his own skin. Individual therapy sessions are most effective in helping men understand and overcome unresolved trauma that can threaten his recovery.
- MALE SEXUALITY is a rarely explored and often neglected area in most treatment centers. However, many alcohol and drug relapses stem directly from problematic or dysfunctional relationships, rampant pornography use, and unresolved sexual issues that include body imaging, gender confusion, and chronic sexual shame. Frank and empathetic discussion of these issues is fostered by our all male culture and environment.
- SPIRITUAL DIRECTION includes a near full day, weekly session devoted to the role of healthy spirituality in a man’s recovery. Men are taught and practice the Two Way Prayer methods used by some of the pioneer members of AA. They also receive an individual spiritual assessment from our Spiritual Director and have the opportunity to attend a voluntary recovery worship service conducted weekly on campus.
- RECREATIONAL PROGRAMMING & WEIGHT TRAINING play an important role in a young man’s treatment. Our men often come in undernourished and out of shape. They often leave 15 to 20 pounds heavier and rarely is the weight in the form of fat. Our men are afforded ample time and are encouraged to partake in weight training, basketball, swimming, jogging, hiking as well as less strenuous activities like ping pong and fly fishing.
- RECOVERY YOGA is still another evidence-based practice we introduce to our men. It has been demonstrated to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate moods, and increase physical fitness and agility. Trained instructors specialize in practices and techniques developed especially to meet the needs of young men in early recovery. Weekly sessions decrease the hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress and can help lower the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine in the body creating a feeling of calmness.
- ACTIVE ALUMNI & CONTINUING CARE PROGRAMS: Continuing Care plays a critical role in cementing a man’s foundation in recovery. This is particularly true for young men coming out of treatment and just beginning to find their way in recovery. That’s why our programming continues for a full year following completion of the residential portion of a man’s treatment. TLR provides weekly group therapy sessions for Austin area clients without any additional cost. We also support an active Alumni Association that conducts weekly gatherings, sponsors outings and other events that help keep the spirit of recovery alive and well. Our alums return to our campus regularly bring meetings, acting as 12 Step sponsors, and demonstrating to the young men in treatment that recovery is not only possible, but a real joy.
MEDICATIONS ARE AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF TREATMENT FOR MANY PATIENTS, ESPECIALLY WHEN COMBINED WITH COUNSELING AND OTHER BEHAVIORAL THERAPIES.
Our consulting medical director is a board certified addictionologist who reviews and prescribes any needed client medications. He is available throughout the course of a man’s stay and can follow a man upon discharge if requested. On admission, clients meet with him for an extended psycho-social and medical status examination generally lasting nearly two hours. Clients may continue taking an appropriate course of prescribed medications during their stay at The Last Resort once approved by our physician. For men addicted to smoking, a nicotine replacement product or an oral medication can be provided as an effective treatment component. Weight management and sleep disorder issues may also be addressed and wherever possible, treatments can be accommodated.
AN INDIVIDUAL’S TREATMENT AND SERVICE PLAN MUST BE ASSESSED CONTINUALLY AND MODIFIED AS NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT IT MEETS HIS CHANGING NEEDS.
At The Last Resort, staff meets daily to review and update a man’s treatment plan. Full treatment updates are scheduled at 30, 60, and 90 days. Men participate fully and directly in these critical assessments. Each man participates in a 90-minute process group and at least weekly in receives an individual therapy session. Assigned Recovery Specialists also meet daily with a man in small group settings and meet individually on a weekly basis or more often when required. Thanks to our exceptionally high staff to client ratios, each young man receives the individual care and attention he needs. While our campus is far larger than most other treatment facilities, our community of men is often considerably smaller assuring that no man ever becomes lost in a crowd.
MANY DRUG-ADDICTED INDIVIDUALS ALSO HAVE OTHER MENTAL DISORDERS
The young men coming to us for help with chemical addiction often struggle with a number of other challenging mental health issues as well. Known as co-occurring conditions, these issues can often sabotage a man’s recovery if they are not diagnosed and treated or addressed simultaneously with his drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Some of these issues include:
- Anxiety and phobias
- Unresolved grief and loss issues
- Mood and Bipolar disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- ADD and ADHD
- Sexual and emotional abuse
- Other physical or process addictions including, but not limited to, gambling, sex and relationship, gaming, overeating, shopping, worry, work, and excessive exercise.
Our clinical staff, in consultation with area physicians and therapists, is adept at providing men with access to needed mental health services while simultaneously and seamlessly delivering treatment for their immediate addiction issues. Families are often challenged in finding a treatment facility willing to work with their loved one in meeting his multiple mental health needs. At The Last Resort, we are committed to doing all we can to bridging this divide.
MEDICALLY ASSISTED DETOXIFICATION IS ONLY THE FIRST STAGE OF ADDICTION TREATMENT AND BY ITSELF DOES LITTLE TO CHANGE LONG-TERM DRUG ABUSE.
Most addiction professionals know that if a man’s alcohol or drug dependency has progressed to a level requiring medical detoxification, then he generally requires extended residential treatment as well. The Last Resort coordinates referrals from detox facilities in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and from around the country. We can often assist in referring men to needed detox services in hos community. While a man may be receiving medical detox before coming to us, our staff remains in close contact with him and his family to coordinate admission to The Last Resort just as soon as he is medically stable. Our admission’s team can also help determine cases where detoxing can be accommodated through an immediate admission to our facility since withdrawal from some drugs require time for extended rest and sleep but hospitalization is not medically indicated.
TREATMENT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE VOLUNTARY TO BE EFFECTIVE
Unlike most illnesses, denial of the need for help is characteristic of young men struggling with addiction. In such cases, it generally falls to family members to intervene in the lives of their loved one so he can receive help before it is too late. Our admission’s team can often assist families in identifying professional interventionists in their communities who may be able to guide them. Our clinical staff can often train a family in the intervention process if they choose to do it themselves.
At The Last Resort we work closely with a number of enlightened employers who refer men to us for help as well as with many attorneys whose clients may be faced with legal issues attendant to their addiction. Although a man may be pressured into receiving treatment, multiple studies indicate that these clients actually do as well, and often better, than clients voluntarily seeking help. The myth that says,“You can’t help an alcoholic or addict until he wants help” simply isn’t true. Bottoms can often be raised, especially among the young.
Upon admission to our program, men are immersed into a powerful culture of recovery. Repeatedly, we see new men coming in angry and non-responsive to care but soon motivated and transformed through the power of community. Men sense the bonds of brotherhood that our model encourages and time and again we have watched new men rise to the higher standards being set by their peers. At TLR, we follow an approach that builds on a man’s strengths rather than staying focused on his past failures or weaknesses. The camaraderie a man experiences both with peers and with our staff at TLR proves to be the most powerful motivator for his transformation.
DRUG USE DURING TREATMENT MUST BE MONITORED CONTINUOUSLY, AS LAPSES DURING TREATMENT DO OCCUR
People in recovery rightly warn that addiction is “cunning, baffling, and powerful” and relapse can occur anywhere along the recovery continuum. Knowing that his drug use is being monitored can prove a powerful incentive for a client to in overcoming his craving. Drug monitoring also provides an early indication of a return to drug use so staff can intervene early in the process and help a man receive a higher level of care if it may be needed. At The Last Resort, clients are drug tested regularly and randomly and we encourage our men to participate in a continued monitoring program for at least a year following their residential treatment. Most men participate willingly in this process seeing it as still another tool to help support them as they pass through the early phases of the recovery process.
TREATMENT PROGRAMS SHOULD TEST PATIENTS FOR THE PRESENCE OF HIV/AIDS, HEPATITIS B AND C, TUBERCULOSIS, AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES AS WELL AS PROVIDE TARGETED RISK-REDUCTION COUNSELING, LINKING PATIENTS TO TREATMENT IF NECESSARY
At The Last Resort, we know that drug use can put men at risk of contracting a high number of infectious diseases. Men are tested upon admission and counseled privately once results are returned to us from the laboratory. The targeted counseling we employ can help men further reduce or avoid substance-related and other high-risk behaviors. It can also help those who are already infected to manage their illness far more successfully. We inform clients that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has proven effective in combating HIV and we link them to HIV treatment services when need.