Overview of the Social Model Approach to Addiction Recovery

Overview of the Social Model Approach to Addiction Recovery

Americans struggling with addiction have access to a wide variety of recovery resources. Different treatment centers and recovery programs use a vast array of treatment methods, addiction counseling techniques, and many therapy options to fight addiction and help people with substance abuse disorders live healthier, sober lives. One of the best and most widely accepted methods is the Social Model Approach to addiction recovery.

While the Social Model Approach has vast support in the substance abuse treatment world, it is vital to remember that this approach is not a viable treatment method on its own. Different models and recovery options will enhance the effectiveness of the Social Model Approach, and these options work best as part of a continuum of addiction care. People struggling with addiction stand the best chance of recovery when they receive individualized treatment. The Social Model Approach takes individual care a step further and helps people see how their addictions impact the lives of others.

What Is The Social Model Approach for Treating Addiction?

At its core, the Social Model Approach is an alternative to more clinically-oriented recovery options. One of the most common examples of a Social Model Approach to recovery is Alcoholics Anonymous, a self-sustaining organization that aims to provide support and encouragement to people struggling with alcoholism. Social models and social-community models focus on personal interactions and an individual’s place in a community and society as a whole.

Social Model Approach programs focus on peer-to-peer interactions and individual recovery instead of generic treatments and clinical recovery options. These programs also help individuals understand the impact their addictions have on themselves, their families, and their communities. The Social Model Approach encourages personal interaction with community members with similar problems to collaborate, support, and share inspiring stories with each other. One of the most powerful aspects of the Social Model Approach is the fact that it is experience-based. That is, the people who participate in these programs share real-world experiences with others who suffer from similar substance abuse problems. These interactions are more impactful than clinical settings that may feel sterile, impersonal, or generic.

Social Model Residential Options

Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the most widely known Social Model Approach to substance abuse recovery, but there are also many social model residential programs for addiction. These addiction recovery homes provide stability and ongoing support to people recovering from substance abuse. There are countless benefits of sober living homes in addiction recovery, such as easy access to moral support, exemplified sober living, peer counseling, and assistance with things like job placement and legal services.

Social-community models provide a framework that an individual may use to rebuild his or her life after struggling with addiction. These programs are largely self-sustaining and depend on individual contributions to the benefit of the group. Residential recovery homes are a fantastic transition between inpatient addiction treatment and returning to “normal” life. The residential recovery home is widely considered the “original” social model for substance abuse recovery, and these homes are still relevant in today’s substance abuse treatment world.

The Social Model’s Place In Modern Recovery Programs

Some people decry social model approaches like residential recovery homes as ineffective forms of treatment. However, these criticisms often originate from misconceptions about how these programs actually work. While a residential addiction recovery home may not be a viable recovery method on its own, but it can be an invaluable asset as part of a larger, more robust continuum of care. Recovery homes or facilities are an integral part of a social model recovery program. They are usually structured as community-based residential programs where meals, guidance, shelter and recovery services are provided in a supportive environment. Services in a recovery home or residential rehab facility may also include health care, counseling, recovery education, group activities and referrals to community services.

Residential Recovery As Part Of Ongoing Addiction Care

Addiction recovery should ideally involve medically-assisted detox services, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient aftercare, and ongoing support services for long-term sobriety. A residential recovery home can be a fantastic option for transitioning from rehab back to typical everyday life. Help in this transition is lacking in most substance abuse treatment programs, another reason why the Social Model Approach still holds relevance today.

Implementing some kind of social model approach or residential recovery living arrangement after completing rehab could potentially cut down on relapse rates. Many people are shocked to return to their normal lives after rehab, only to find that previous members of their support systems are no longer available, or they have no real idea how to reintegrate into normal society. The sudden shock of everyday life after substance abuse may be stressful enough for some people to relapse. Residential recovery programs are great ways to limit this risk by helping newly recovered individuals relearn how to operate in everyday life.

Acknowledge The Value Of The Social Model Approach

While some may still assume that residential recovery programs are ineffective, this is only true if the program is a standalone recovery option. The Social Model Approach does not function perfectly by itself. Instead, these programs should form part of a full continuum of care for addiction recovery. People who have access to medically-assisted detox, inpatient rehab with individualized care, and residential recovery homes stand the best chance of maintaining sobriety and preventing relapses.

Easing back into social situations and regular life is one of the biggest challenges facing people in substance abuse recovery, and the Social Model Approach aims to enhance individuals’ perceptions of their places in their communities and their impact on the lives of others. Residential recovery homes provide stability and lay the groundwork for a return to society in a safe, supportive, and constructive environment.

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About James Haggerty

Experienced Chief Executive Addiction Recovery and Mental Health Professional Business professional in the Addiction Recovery and Mental Health industry for the past 26 years. Caring, compassionate and strongly motivated to make a difference in the organizations I am affiliated with and welfare of the population we serve. Currently focused on advocating, educating and developing projects leveraging evidence based, real time technology to support individuals in recovery.