Trauma and Addiction

Understanding high school bullying, Childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse, Childhood neglect and abandonment, military culture, paramilitary cultures, firefighters and police officers has long been a hallmark of treatment at Last Door and an essential reason why clients with Co-occurring disorders that have completed Last Door’s Program have returned to school or work to live happy, successful, healthy lives.

The assessment and screening process includes an awareness of symptoms including intrusive images, nightmares and other arousal, avoidance and numbing events as well as the depression and anxiety triggered by alcohol use and the cognitive difficulty of most other drugs. After Detox, a complete review by a Physician will separate physical symptoms from emotional and psychological origins of the assessed symptoms.

The treatment of trauma at Last Door is a continuing integration of the whole person into recovery. In the case of concurrent issues including head-injury, trauma and addictions the Last Door team has been successful for the past 30 years addressing emotional, spiritual and existential issues to help clients acquire new coping skills to handle life’s issues.

For example with the military culture: A key issue is anger/fear management. While some of the psychological preparations for combat require heightened aggression the return to civilian life requires the management of grief, violence, sadness, anxiety, powerlessness and loss of control. Fear and stigma often make return to civilian life difficult with heightened anger directed at the agency that employed them. The co morbid diagnosis of addictions and trauma presents a challenge that is best addressed by residential in-patient treatment and then followed by on-going community support to help build a foundation for on-going recovery.

The continued inclusion of practiced respect in our residential addictions treatment program assists those clients with concurrent aggressive and violent tendencies to identify those core issues whether a history of antisocial behaviour, personality, peers or attitudes as well as struggles with family, relational, educational, employment and secondary key functioning issues (origin, intellectual functioning, anxiety, trauma and injury). From date of admission all clients are focused on three key issues – no crime, no violence, no using. This simplification permits a focus for all our group work, individual counselling and referral activities.

Because new behaviours are practiced in residential settings and monitored by staff and peers the daily interactions permit observation and adjustment with immediate rewards and checks. In the course of treatment clients learn to identify abusive behaviours, the underlying values and beliefs, the defects of character, the consequences of their behaviours, the exact nature of their wrongs, make those behavioural adjustments necessary to switch from defects to assets and then review their interpersonal relationships and the assets in those relationships on a daily basis. The practiced living of those skills in community not only performs the educational component but also the behavioural adjustment and practice necessary for lasting change.

The Last Door has spent 30 years developing a peer model recovery community that not only addresses addictions but seeks to address the underlying defects of character that give rise to the breakdown of interpersonal relationships and the subsequent relapse, psychosis and chaos. The clinical team is certified and each clinician has a minimum 6000 hours of supervised training in residential treatment and counselling assisting recovery for career, medical, family or corrections clients. Our co-parenting, family and partner groups focus on relationship issues and the elimination of aggression coupled with the positive introduction of self-respect, responsibility, parenting and empathy.

Our clients spend 18 hours per week in process group work addressing individual and inter-personal issues and approximately 6 hours per week in one-to-one counselling. In the course of the 5 month residential treatment that works out to 360 hours of group work, 120 hours of individual work. The program covers the key addictions, aggressive behaviour, violence, self-esteem, trauma, family, anxiety and relapse-prevention issues at levels that outpatient programs can never attain. The program design, development and delivery is driven by a team of recovering persons, certified clinicians experienced with the 12 core functions, masters level clinical supervisors, medical doctors, addictions specialists, psychologists and psychiatrists.