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It’s Quitting Time O’Clock

Posted: Wed, July 26, 2017

By: Kaitlyn Barnett

Peer support plays one of the most important roles throughout an individual’s journey to recovery. The Providence Center’s (TPC) ‘Quitting Time’ program is a great example of how group therapy helps in substance use treatment.

“My sessions are all about lifting one another up, not putting people down.  I tell my clients, ‘if you want to be discouraged or told you’re not good enough, head right outside.  There is plenty of negativity out there,’” said Karen Finn, substance abuse therapist and Quitting Time mentor. 

“But, here?  Hope lives here.  Hope lives in this room.”

Quitting Time, an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), helps individuals develop the skills necessary for recovery through group counseling, discussions and activities, as well as individual therapy, vocational services and medication management. This co-ed program allows participants to address what has been standing in the way of their recovery and to discover the personal strengths that will result in long-term recovery.

The program also includes ongoing screening of substance use and provides clients with the tools needed to prevent a relapse from occurring.  Methods of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are used to help change the patterns of thinking and/or behavior behind an individual’s issues.

“We talk about everything from coping skills, to moments of weakness, to what we’re most grateful for,” said Finn.  “My goal is for clients to learn from one another’s mistakes and accomplishments, and to ultimately find support from someone going through an experience similar to theirs.”

Poor support and high-risk situations are two main causes of relapse. This includes being around old friends who are still using drugs or alcohol.

“Friends from the past don’t always make up a strong support system,” said Finn.  “Here, clients learn that they need to put themselves first… they find a new support system.”

Finn’s Quitting Time sessions are three hours long and are held three times a week.  Clinical therapists Susan Olson and Victoria Arrico facilitate the program on rotating days.  Quitting Time’s team-based dynamic provides variety throughout sessions in turn enhancing the motivation of clients to stay committed.

“I dedicate a lot of time to this program because I believe in it,” she said.  “I’ve seen people change for the better.  It works.”

To keep meetings interesting and engaging, Finn incorporates various activities to get conversations going.  A nutritionist from The University of Rhode Island also visits once a week to teach clients how to make healthy decisions when it comes to food and drinks.

Alongside Quitting Time meetings, clients receive one-on-one therapy and occupational training. They are also assigned a case manager who helps coordinate a variety of other services based on the client’s needs, goals, strengths, and abilities. 

As with all of TPC’s programs, Quitting Time is only a piece of the recovery puzzle and another step toward accomplishing a “whole person” recovery.

“I love my job and I’m good at what I do, but I’m just a passenger in a client’s car,” said Finn.  “I provide as much direction and guidance as possible, but it’s up to them to choose the best route.  The desire to change comes from within.”

To learn more about Quitting Time, visit: https://providencecenter.org/services/adult-services/quitting-time