The young men who enter the program at Harvest House are usually baffled at how they ended up in a treatment program when their alcohol and drug use seemed so harmless in the beginning. Looking back, they can see that their social use of alcohol and other drugs progressed quickly into ‘out of control’ using. In many instances, men began to use on a daily basis primarily to avoid the painful symptoms of withdrawal. Repeated attempts to quit or cut down almost always ended in relapse and for many this has become the expected norm, only reinforcing a sense of failure. To many of the men who come to Harvest House, sobriety seems to be something reserved for others. While they can achieve somewhat lengthy periods of abstinence, they lack the skills required to sustain long-term or lifetime sobriety.
The Recovery Education Modules, which include 24 lessons, were designed to address many of the issues described here by helping residents learn more about their addiction and how to recover from chemical dependency. Through straightforward and practical lessons, the modules teach that addiction is a disease that is often characterized by relapse. Residents learn how the disease of addiction can be self-managed and they acquire the tools necessary to identify and address the warning signs that often lead to relapse. The nature and processes of addiction are discussed as well as topics such as healthy living, personal and spiritual growth, and making practical use of community, support systems and the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Through the recovery and relapse education programs offered at Harvest House, the possibility of avoiding relapse and living a clean, balanced, and sober life becomes attainable for many men.