Information for Women in Need:
Understanding Continuing Care
An interview with a Residence XII Continuing Care Counselor
What is Continuing Care?
Continuing Care is a group for women who have participated in the Inpatient and Intensive Outpatient programs. We meet once each week for an hour and a half and teach the women how to use the recovery skills they learned in Inpatient or Outpatient and apply them to their daily lives. This step down from our other more highly structured programs helps a woman to continue to get stronger in her recovery.
How long is a woman in Continuing Care?
The length of time a woman spends in Continuing Care is based on various individual circumstances. We take into account how long she has been in Inpatient/Outpatient, what her individual needs for care may be, what her insurance company will cover, and, if she has been court mandated, what the legal system requires.
Why is Continuing Care so important?
For women who have been in our Residential Program, Continuing Care provides a continuity of learning, support and accountability that is critical for her recovery. For women leaving our Residential Program, life outside Residence XII can be very scary and isolating. Continuing Care provides a supportive environment and a specially trained counselor who can now help her learn how to take her recovery skills and integrate them into her daily life.
For women in our Intensive Outpatient program who have been in treatment three days a week while juggling meetings, jobs and home life, Continuing Care provides a time and a place where they can focus on themselves, experience peer support, develop more skills, and learn more about potential hazards that may impact their recovery.
What are the benefits of Continuing Care?
Besides developing greater life skills, and being held accountable for working on her recovery, one of the greatest benefits of Continuing Care is the relationships that develop among the women in the group. Through sharing their own obstacles and challenges, and how they handle them, the women build strong ties with each other and often create a strong support and social network outside the group setting. They attend recovery activities together like dances, conferences and retreats and learn to trust each other knowing there will be no judgement based on their past behaviors. For many women, Continuing Care is the place where they build relationships that last a lifetime!
What is expected of the women in Continuing Care?
We expect a woman in Continuing Care to attend her meetings, stay in constant contact with her sponsor, and work her steps.
At Residence XII, we suggest 90 recovery meetings in 90 days so that a woman can find a Home group that feels right to her and a sponsor, if she doesn’t already have one. Home groups are important—these are the people who will get to know the woman and her personality, and they may be the first to notice changes in her life that need to be addressed. A Home group is also where a woman will sign up for service work to the recovery community. Service work is critical—a woman is less likely to miss a meeting if she has a service job (i.e., make coffee, arrange chairs, etc.).
Weekly sponsor contact is also extremely important for a woman’s recovery. Her sponsor is the person who watches her back and keeps an eye on her progress. A good relationship with a sponsor is a relationship of trust, accountability and faith—if a crisis arises, there is someone she can go to for help.
Doing the steps is also a critical part of recovery. The steps help a woman continue her personal and spiritual development and if she doesn’t do them, she will stagnate. This is where accountability comes into play in a Continuing Care setting. If the group is on Step 3 and a woman is still on Step 1, the group will hold her responsible for moving forward. Effective group support is key to a successful continuing care program.