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Recovery “is not a quick fix thing.”

Since opening 18 months ago, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center, which offers psychiatric and substance use recovery treatment, has served 15,000 thousand inpatient bed days, and had over 300,000 outpatient visits.

Many of these visits have involved substance use patients entering MiraVista’s Clinical Stabilization Service (CSS) after undergoing withdrawal in MiraVista’s detoxification program or elsewhere and seeking support in a step-down unit for sustained recovery before transitioning back into community life.

“It is super important,” said Christopher Bernier, CSS clinical supervisor, of the unit at MiraVista.

“Detox usually takes care of pulling all the drugs out of your system and getting your body to stabilize medically. The CSS helps get your mind refocused on where you want your compass to point and where you want to start heading to and what are your goals going to be.”

It helps, Bernier added, an individual with the disease of addiction to “finally, start to have some clear thinking around what do they really want to get back to and CSS really helps take those first formative steps to do that.”

“Everyone has their own clinician and individualized treatment goals and they have their own time with their clinician talking about whatever they want to talk about and it is great for doing that,” said Bernier of this recovery phase. “The groups offered focus on so many different areas that everyone will take away something personal from that.

He said medications patients have been receiving for their substance use are, “of course, all individualized.”

“The CCS program also includes socialization with the option of how to socialize or recreate those opportunities on the unit,” Bernier said. “You can watch a horror movie or play Fuzzball. Everything about this is very individualized in a group  setting at the hospital.”

Jessica, 44, sought treatment in the unit after being discharged from another area detoxification program and liking what she heard about MiraVista’s recovery program. It was her first time in residential treatment and while she “did not know what recovery was” she felt she needed “a buffer” before returning to community life.

She was a bit skeptical at first, but left feeling she was “in a good place.”

“The atmosphere helps foster an honest conversation about yourself and you feel safe and that it is a place where you can say, this is what is going on with me, even when I was having a hard day mentally, I felt like I could go to a staff member and have a conversation about that,” Jessica said.  “It takes a few days to get into the groove and understand what you are trying to learn and what they are trying to impart to you and explain. Once you are in it, you catch on and I always felt I was in a good place.”

She added that she started drinking at 21, but it was during the last 10 years her addiction became progressively worse and “over the last year-and-a-half, it is the worse that it has ever been.”

“My life had become unmanageable, and I realized I needed outside help and couldn’t do it on my own,” Jessica said. “Staying in MiraVista’s CSS unit helped me get the knowledge and education around recovery that I would not have gotten, as well as how to put all the pieces together that I would not have had, if I had just gone back out after my hospital stay for detoxification. It is not like I could have signed up for a course somewhere on how do recovery right.”

She said one key takeaway for her is that recovery “is not a quick fix thing” for the disease of addiction.

“Recovery is a life-long commitment that requires a lot of work and a lot of work not only in terms of just stopping the addiction but also working on yourself,” Jessica said. “There are a lot of reasons why we use. It is not just one thing. So, just stopping the substance doesn’t fix you. You have to fix all the other things that are going on including your mental health, your personality traits, the way you have been thinking, how honest you are and then you have to stay committed to that.”

She said she has come to understand the ongoing effort being in recovery requires and that “I am choosing to commit to that” beyond the walls of MiraVista

“I started that commitment with my work at MiraVista,” Jessica said. “I am not going to be fixed in three months or six months. Ten or 15 years out, I will still be learning. It is a life-long commitment to better yourself.”

She added that she learned in talks with her case manager about “writing three gratitude’s and something positive about myself every day.”

“It is so I am not remembering all these negative things about myself,” Jessica said. “I will go back and read what I wrote and be surprised how things shifted from really negative to really positive and think, ‘OK, there is a good track here.’”

Jessica said that MiraVista’s CSS program was “recommended to me and I would recommend to someone else.”

“There is a lot of support between the case managers and clinicians,” Jessica said. “They are there to set things in motion so you have supports after you leave here. They set up appointments and referrals and this is a huge support as it takes that stress off you when you are in here. You are not trying to figure everything out. You have a whole team working for you. You can focus on learning while you are here.”

Theresa Johnson-Studstill, clinician in the CCS unit, says she likes to “remind the patients that they are in the unit for a short period” and to use it “to their advantage.”

“I tell them to use the groups, the one-on-ones, to their advantage because they may not get this chance again,” Johnson-Studstill said. “I always tell people that everyone has a different path way that they should be going on. There is no one treatment. We do our part; you do your part. If certain things don’t happen for you today, then they aren’t supposed to happen today as long as you did do the footwork.”

MiraVista’s recovery programs for substance use include Acute Treatment Services (detox), Clinical Stabilization Services (post-detox), and outpatient services that offer Medication Supported Recovery, counseling, day treatment programming and a variety of relevant groups. To learn more, call 413-701-2600.