The Association has been supporting the broad implementation of patient recognition ceremonies in methadone treatment programs throughout the United States. We recently participated in such an experience in Pawtucket, Rhode Island when the Addiction Recovery Institute convened its annual celebration dinner.
All of the program’s methadone maintained patients, with a documented one year (or more) history of sobriety, were invited to participate in the event with their family and friends. The patients’ primary counselors called all eligible individuals up to the podium, to bestow a medallion, recognizing the achievement of recovery while in methadone maintenance treatment.
It represented an extremely moving event, borrowing from the experiences of Therapeutic Communities, recognizing and honoring the achievements of individuals who have maintained sobriety and begun the process of recovery. It was impossible to tell at the end of the evening who was giving to whom, since patients and staff were engaged in a process of collective celebration.
Our Association is recommending that methadone programs throughout the United States adopt such patient recognition ceremonies in their respective treatment facilities. We will be developing a series of recommendations, drawing from facilities that have engaged in such recognition celebrations. Readers are advised to send any of their ideas about this initiative to our offices in New York City so that we may further encourage the field to implement this kind of event.