Starting Now is the Retreat's intensive outpatient program (IOP) for patients recovering from addiction. But with a full range of outpatient recovery treatment services, it's more like an IOP-plus!

"We use the word 'intensive' because our patients attend between 9 and 12 hours a week of group therapy," explained Heather Humphrey-LeClaire, clinical supervisor. "And the program generally lasts from 5 to 6 weeks."

But patients in Starting Now have access to a menu of other treatment options. These include one-on-one outpatient counseling, three different "relapse prevention" groups that meet once a week (two morning groups and one evening group), plus two "early recovery" groups that meet two times a week (one morning group and one evening group), and a "mature adult" group for people age 50 and older that meets twice a week.

According to Humphrey-Leclaire, patients can choose from one of two IOP options offered through Starting Now.

"We have our Morning IOP, which meets four days a week for three hours a day, and our Evening IOP, which meets three evenings a week for three hours per meeting," said Humphrey-LeClaire. "Patients experience a blend of process-oriented groups and education-oriented groups."

What Kinds of Patients Benefit from Starting Now?

According to Joanne Larson, LADC, Starting Now patients are people who have an addiction to one or more substances including alcohol, cocaine, opiates and opioids, cannabis, and amphetamines.

"Patients don't have to be fresh out of detox to come to Starting Now," explained Larson. "But they have to be interested in gaining a better understanding of how addiction impacts their life and be motivated to further their recovery skills. Regardless of where they are in their readiness, they will be accepted into the program. However, they have to be willing to stop use of all substances during their treatment."   

With a catchment area that includes Windham county and parts of southwestern New Hampshire, Starting Now tends to serve patients who are considered local.

How Do Retreat Clinicians Make Internal Referrals to Starting Now?

Retreat clinicians are encouraged to contact Heather Humphrey-LeClaire at x6199 to ask questions and discuss patient referrals. Another option is that the client can call A&E at x3700 to set up an appointment for a same day evaluation.

"In my experience, discharged inpatients really need a step down option rather than going right back out into the community," added Larson. "There is higher percentage of success when a client keeps their foot in the door of  treatment for a year, minimum. That's why it's important for patients to participate in one of the forms of treatment that our extensive program offers, IOP, ERG (Early Recovery Group), RPG (Relapse Prevention Group), and individual counseling."