Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment’s Approach to 12-Step Programs

1 in a Series of 4

iStock_000006386146_MediumGateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers employs evidenced-based practices to create meaningful, individualized treatment programs. We believe there is more than one pathway to recovery so we expose clients to a wide array of treatment methodologies. This article series explores some of those methodologies.

12-Step Programs

A key distinguishing factor between Gateway Treatment Centers and the vast majority of treatment providers can be found in the way we employ 12-step programs. First and foremost, these types of programs comprise the core offering of most treatment providers, while they are just a portion of what we do at Gateway.

A Personal Choice

Some clients come to Gateway convinced that a 12-step program is the only thing that will work for them, while others have equally strong reservations about them. Using our exceptional implementation of the concept, we make it a priority to accommodate the needs of clients who are of either mindset.

Gradual Exposure

Our experienced, knowledgeable staff utilizes a targeted approach that provides clients with an in-depth understanding of 12-step principles. Our curriculum is designed to break down barriers to participation and “kick start” the process of attending meetings and finding a sponsor.

12-step meetings can not only be challenging for some, they also vary from site to site and meeting to meeting. In order to give clients a good idea of what to expect, Gateway provides them with exposure to 12-steps in multiple settings. We accompany clients to both on-site and off-site meetings.

For those who prefer not to use 12-step techniques, we provide on-site SMART recovery groups and linkage to other peer support options such as Dual Recovery Anonymous.

Gateway believes 12-steps and other kinds of support groups play a valuable role in substance abuse treatment, but they only comprise part of the picture. The greatest benefit can be derived from experiencing 12-step programs in conjunction with evidenced-based treatment.

Learn more about Gateway’s Experience and Expertise in Substance Abuse Treatment >

In Plain Sight? Tools for Recognition and Management of Substance Abuse in the Primary Care Setting

Dr. John Larson Corporate Medical Director Gateway Treatment Cetners

Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Cetners

Gateway Partnered with the SIU School of Medicine and the Illinois State Medical Society to present “In Plain Sight? Tools for Recognition and Management of Substance Abuse in the Primary Care Setting” on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. The event was very well received by an audience of over 90 doctors, nurses and clinicians. Feedback was very supportive of the need for more education on the topic of substance abuse and substance abuse treatment.

In an effort to further educate medical professionals on recognizing the signs and symptoms of Substance Abuse, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment’s  Corporate Medical Director, Dr. John Larson presented “”Identifying and Treating Substance Use Disorders” at the “In Plain Sight?” Conference.

Substance Abuse Screening toolsFor more information about the tools you can use to screening for substance abuse in a primary care setting, visit RecoverGateway.org.

The conference was held at the memorial center for Learning and Innovation in Springfield, Illinois.

It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Marijuana

marijuanaIn keeping with National Safety Month this June, Gateway aims to remind everyone of the dangers of marijuana use.

The use of marijuana has become increasingly accepted and is widely considered to be safe. A closer look reveals that may not always be the case. Individuals in the Baby Boom generation are often among those who consider marijuana to be harmless. What they may not realize is, today’s pot packs a mightier punch that their “weed” did. New growing and harvesting techniques produce pot that’s about 275 percent more potent than it was even 10 years ago.

Of further concern, it’s possible that some marijuana is laced with more dangerous substances including cocaine, crack, PCP or even embalming fluid.

Many people don’t realize the use of marijuana is associated with health and developmental risks for both adults and teens. The harm is even greater in young people whose brains are still developing. Its effects may include learning and memory problems as well as IQ loss.

The long-term effects of marijuana use may include impaired learning, memory, perception and judgment. Established users can also develop difficulty speaking, listening effectively, retaining knowledge, problem solving and forming new concepts.

It’s never safe to assume that any mind-altering drug is safe to use. A little education can go a long way toward keeping your body and mind in good shape.

To learn more about the dangers of marijuana use visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana.

National Safety Month a Good Time to Talk to Teens about Drinking Alcohol and Drug Use

talking to teens, drinking alcohol, drug useJune is National Safety Month, which also coincides with the end of the school year. It’s a time of year when many young people have extra time on their hands and for some, temptation can be right around the corner.

In keeping with National Safety Month, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to remind parents to talk with their kids about drinking alcohol and drug use.

Start the Conversation

The power of conversation should not be underestimated – adolescents really do listen to what their parents say about smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use. It can be a challenge to find the time to have a sit-down, face-to-face conversation with your children, but it’s well worth the effort. Once a conversation has been initiated, it should become an ongoing dialogue that you will revisit and reinforce over the years.

Communicating Effectively

Parents may be unsure how to begin talking to their children about alcohol and drugs. The following tips can help:

  • Listen to your child and respect what he or she has to say. A child who feels judged is less likely to share their concerns with you.
  • Be clear about your expectations of no drinking alcohol or drug use and let your child know these expectations will be enforced.
  • Talk about the dangers of drinking alcohol and drug use, including laws, potential repercussions and health-related outcomes.

Know the Dangers

The brain of an adolescent is not yet fully developed. Drinking alcohol damages the development of the executive function of the brain, which is how we make decisions, defer gratification, and plan now for a reward that’s down the road.

Marijuana also affects the development of the adolescent brain, causing changes that may result in learning issues, memory problems and IQ loss.

“If parents want their children to grow up to realize their full potential, they should not condone drinking alcohol or smoking pot,” explained Dr. John Larson, Gateway’s Corporate Medical Director.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), following marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Once a person becomes dependent on opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin they may eventually switch to heroin because it is easier to access and much less expensive.

Many parents like to believe their child is not vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, but sadly, this isn’t so. There is a wide variety of alcohol and drugs available to young people, who are often just looking to have some fun. Establishing open communication is one of the most powerful tools parents have to positively influence their kids’ decisions, during National Safety Month, and throughout the year.

For a Parent’s Checklist for Talking to Teens about Drugs & Alcohol visit RecoverGateway.org/ParentChecklist

Alcoholism: Is it in Our DNA?

alcoholism dnaAre our genes responsible for whether or not we develop a problem when it comes to drinking alcohol? The answer is, “Yes and no.”

According to research, about half of the risk for alcohol use disorder, often referred to as alcoholism or alcohol abuse, can be attributed to genetics. This would explain why problem drinking seems to run in families. Further, there is no single “alcoholism gene.” As with most other diseases, multiple genes play a part in whether or not a person will develop an alcohol use disorder such as alcoholism.

Environmental factors, and gene and environmental interactions are responsible for the balance of the risk of developing alcoholism. Of course, if a person who is genetically predisposed to an alcohol abuse disorder never takes a drink, a problem would not develop.

Are you concerned about the amount of alcohol a loved one drinks? Visit RecoverGateway.org/Alcohol to learn more about moderate drinking and the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse.

Treat Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders Together

dual-diagnosis, co-occurring, gateway treatment centers

Article By:
Gilbert Lichstein, LCPC, M.S. Clinical Psychology
Program Director
Gateway Chicago West

Known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, substance abuse and mental health issues frequently occur together. The likelihood of succeeding in treatment is greatly enhanced when both are treated simultaneously.

Clients arriving at Gateway receive a comprehensive assessment and those who are found to have an Axis 1 mental health disorder may be admitted to the dual diagnosis unit. Axis 1 disorders include depression, mania, excessive anxiety and psychosis. One of Gateway’s distinguishing features is the depth with which we are able to address these issues.

Dual diagnosis care involves creating an individualized, client-centered treatment plan, which is a hallmark of Gateway’s approach to all treatment. We work together with clients to develop mental health care that capitalizes on things that may have worked for them in the past.

During this process, we listen to strategies clients believe will work and synthesize this information with our expertise to provide feedback and enhance those strategies.Medication assisted treatment is offered, but not mandatory.

One aspect of treatment that sets Gateway programs apart from other programs is our co-occurring disorders group, which is a standard part of all our residential programs. The core curriculum is a mindfulness based sobriety curriculum that combines relapse therapy, motivational interviewing, and acceptance and commitment therapy, all of which are evidenced-based practices. Treatment for mental health disorders is built into the continuum of care, so discharge planning starts when the person enters treatment.

Patients may elect to have family and loved ones involved; our family group component is an evidence-based practice for mental health concerns.

Chicago-IL-West-Drug-Abuse-Psychologist-Office

Treatment Programs and Gateway Chicago West

Life Skills Treatment and Recovery: the LSTAR Program

The LSTAR program at Gateway’s Chicago West location is an enhanced co-ed residential treatment program for people with both substance abuse and moderate to severe mental health concerns. More robust than our standard dual diagnosis program, LSTAR has proven to be effective for clients who did not succeed in other programs.

LSTAR provides more one-on-one contact, addressing mental health concerns with greater concentration. Individual counseling, psychological consultation, monitoring, nursing, testing and assessment are ongoing.

Additional components of LSTAR include:

  • Co-occurring group which uses an evidenced-based cognitive behavioral therapy curriculum
  • Mindfulness based sobriety, motivational interviewing, and seeking safety, a curriculum for co-morbid trauma and substance abuse
  • Single and multi-family group counseling, 12-step facilitation and transition groups to help clients adjust to outside care
  • Recreational therapy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) anger management curriculum

To learn more about the treatment of co-occurring disorders, or for a free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

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