Drug addiction recovery has been compared to a ladder leading out of a deep, dark hole. As the substance abuser climbs each rung up the ladder, they are closer to recovery. They never, ever want to fall back into the abyss as it will be even more difficult to climb out of it.
No recovering opioid addict wants to slip back into his or her destructive ways; they would rather get off the drug now and forever. This isn’t easy, even with the many benefits of methadone maintenance treatment. In fact, it could be a life-long battle.
However, in Baltimore, Maryland, there is an organization that treats the person as a whole, and they are very successful in helping clients channel their energies into other venues that benefit them, their families, and their communities. It’s more than a ladder, it’s a lifestyle.
The Concreted Care Foundation and The Step Up Program state in their mission that they offer “a motivational incentive initiative, which includes a treatment approach designed to help the Concerted Care Group (CCG) clients in recovery remain abstinent. It rewards participants by celebrating short-term goals while progressing towards larger, long-term career goals and independence.”
Each participant of the Step Up Program benefits as a “whole person,” in which the person’s body, mind and spirit are treated. A recovering addict cannot achieve their goals in family, occupation, education, and finances if they can’t figure out how to work toward them. It becomes a frustrating experience, which can lead them right back to addiction.
The Step Up Program uses an innovative and motivational point system in which participants earn points for an hour doing landscaping, restoration, or other forms of volunteering. One hour earns twenty-five points, and two hours earns fifty points. They can then use these points to get gift certificates to restaurants, movie theaters, Job Readiness Program entrance fees, and even residential opportunities.
As of March 2018, seventy clients have been referred to the Step Up Program; twenty active members are in it now.
The criteria for each member to join are strict; not anyone can join. The Step Up members must be clients of CCG. They must also do the following:
- Have regular attendance at the CCG clinic.
- Have no recent drug or alcohol abuse.
- Adhere to clinic rules and regulations.
- Show stability at home and with social relationships.
- Be recommended by their counselor.
- Have two to three months or longer in treatment.
- Be highly motivated to do volunteer work.
The Step Up Program members achieve career and educational goals, make new friends, and assist in helping their community. They also continue their opioid or other drug addiction recovery. Their lives are enriched by remaining drug free and overcoming their destructive behavior. The Step Up members see life in a new way.
This program is new, but it is already showing great results. It’s helping people climb out of the deep, dark pit of drug addiction despair, toss the ladder aside, and never return.