Life of Purpose CEO and founder, Andrew Burki has always been a staunch supporter of the advocacy mission of Young People in Recovery (YPR). The Life of Purpose treatment model is built around the core mission of empowering young people in early recovery by providing them with educational opportunities that have historically been unavailable in traditional treatment environments. So this shared ideological value of empowering recovering young people has created a natural partnership between the two organizations that has resulted in several promising joint advocacy initiatives.
This coming September, Life of Purpose will be partnering with YPR to integrate the advocacy organization’s E.P.I.C. recovery model into the Life of Purpose clinical program. The goal of E.P.I.C., in a nutshell, is to help the client become a better informed recovering person who can advocate for their needs in the context of recovery in nearly any situation. Through “Recovery Messaging” clients learn to identify with recovery in a way that is positive rather than mired in shame and stigma. In clinical terms, E.P.I.C. could be defined as a skills building and empowerment model that teaches the individual how to get their needs met through self-advocacy and social responsibility through advocacy for others with shared interests.
ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS AND THE CLIENT IN TREATMENT
Of the thousands of young people currently in treatment for substance use disorders, how many of those individuals are aware that substance use disorder parity legislation was part of the Affordable Healthcare Act? How many understand that this legislation may have obligated their insurance company to pay for the very treatment that is saving their lives? When clients have that kind of knowledge, the hope is that they may be more inclined to vote, pay attention to current events, and participate in the nation’s online conversation about issues that impact the recovering population. The E.P.I.C. recovery module provides targeted material to encourage this type of healthy prosocial behavior as an alternative to the social isolation and cynicism that is so much a part of the relational world view of many young people with substance use disorders.
EMPLOYMENT AND THE REAL WORLD
When clients reach the transitional phase of treatment, one of the major challenges that they face is to secure employment. For clients with a limited work history, understanding how to appropriately present one’s self on paper and in person to a potential employer can at times be the difference between securing and not securing a job. Clients will very often query the treatment center staff “should I tell my employer that I’m in recovery?” The E.P.I.C. employment module empowers the client to make self-directed decisions by teaching employment readiness skills and providing education about relevant employment related topics. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act distinguishes between past and present drug use and provides protections for individuals who have been rehabilitated and whose substance misuse is not current. Clients who have been educated on these topics understand their rights and can make informed decisions about what to disclose, or not disclose to potential or current employers.
TOWARD A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Ultimately, the larger goal of the shared enterprise of advocacy between Life of Purpose and YPR is change. By breaking down stigma based limitations placed upon young people by the addiction treatment industry and society at large, the two organizations together hope to see the nation transformed into an environment that is recovery ready.
Eric Bricker LMHC CAP
Life of Purpose Treatment
3848 FAU Boulevard, Suite 100
Boca Raton, FL 33431