The Therapeutic Community is one of the oldest types of drug rehabilitation activities and one of the more successful types of treatment. In a Therapeutic Community, those seeking rehabilitation from drug addiction live and work side-by-side with other recovering addicts, group leaders and staff for extended time periods. During that time, participants learn to abide by the rules and discipline of the group. By adapting to the level of proper and moral behavior demanded by the group, addicts gain back some of the life skills that are generally lost to addiction.
In a Therapeutic Community, recovering addicts support each other in their recovery. As they gain more life skills and greater ability to be responsible, they progress through various stages of trust and position within the Community.
Daily life in a Therapeutic Community is regimented, teaching recovering addicts how to impose the self-discipline that is generally lost during alcoholism or drug addiction. Mornings usually start at 7 AM and end at 11 PM. The day is filled with house meetings, chore assignments, group sessions, educational, drug recovery or job training seminars. Therapeutic Communities (TC) expect members to dedicate themselves to using the format to adopt a greater structure in their own lives.
Every event is focused on the personal change each member can make as he attends meetings, participates in group sessions or carries out his household duties.
The Therapeutic Community meetings may include:
- Addiction treatment meetings, which may vary from one community to another
- Community meetings to review the functioning of the community, acceptable behaviors, procedures and goals of the overall activity
- Vocational and educational activities to improve interpersonal skills
- Community management activities, to review infractions of the rules and maintain an orderly environment
One of the drawbacks of this type of addiction recovery program is that residents in a TC ordinarily remain in the community for 18 to 24 months. In some cases, funding restraints may limit TC residence to 12 months. Not all people can take a year to two years out of their lives to remain in a TC. There are children and businesses that many people must take into consideration.
In comparison, the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program is completed by most participants in three to six months but achieves a thoroughness in its approach unmatched by programs of similar length.
Both Therapeutic Community and Narconon programs are marked by the expectation that participants will work hard toward their own recoveries and help their fellows in their recoveries. As a TC traditionally does not have a manualized approach, however, the course of treatment will vary from community to community. The effectiveness of an individual TC may depend on the skill and ability of a few key instructors or staff.
At a Narconon drug recovery facility, every participant works his or her way through a fully manualized curriculum that is based on forty-five years of success. New breakthroughs have been cautiously added to the curriculum along the way, verifying that the addition to the curriculum results in greater success in each case.
With a manualized approach, the Narconon drug rehabilitation program completed by a participant in California is going to be very similar to the program completed by a participant in Italy, or wherever. As staff are also trained on a standardized curriculum, this further ensures consistency.
At a Therapeutic Community, members act as role models to teach values by example. The routine of the day inserts order into the lives of recovering addicts, helping them learn to set and achieve small goals on the way to achieving larger goals. Lessons are used to improve the members' awareness of improved behaviors.
The advantage of the Narconon drug recovery program is that it has compiled workbooks that teach specific aspects of life skills. As these are structured into the gentlest of gradient approaches, even recovering addicts with minimal study skills are able to absorb this information and put it to use in their lives. Add to this the remarkable and unique sauna sweat-out that reduces the body burden of drug and other toxic residuals, and you have something different not just from TC but all other programs.
The curriculum starts where life starts: With improved communication skills. Breaking good communication down into its component parts, recovering addicts may get their first looks at what really composes successful communication. Right off the bat, this skill provides the participants with the balance and self-discipline needed to pursue the rest of their recovery.
This is followed by a presentation of study basics, missed by so many in school, even those who succeeded by memorization rather than real learning.
After this, each participant digs into the life skills that are going to help him or her stay sober:
- Knowing who can be trusted
- Knowing how to turn a negative situation into a positive one that supports sobriety
- Understanding the reason for the loss of integrity and knowing the process to use to reclaim it
- Learning a personal, non-denominational moral code to act as a permanent moral compass in life
At each level, participants learn the skills they need and then put them to use to develop the foundation for the drug-free life they will live after graduation.
Thus it is that each participant in the Narconon program can accomplish a true change of heart and mind, assisted by the manualized Narconon curriculum, in just three to six months for most people in recovery.