In the Lancashire town of Morecambe, an addiction recovery group meets at CRI Recovery at Bellfield House. The group is similar to others in that participants are both recovering substance abusers and those that have already established a new life after recovery. What is different is the approach they take. Rather than sitting in a circle and talking, you will find this group doing things such as playing board games or enjoying the Wii or Xbox.

Star Treatment and Recover (STAR) is a recovery programme that looks unlike most other programmes in the UK. Rather than base their recovery methods on a 12-step programme or specific psychotherapies, the group embraces the Five Ways to Wellbeing established by the New Economics Foundation (NEF). Group leaders insist that adopting these five principles can be as effective a recovery programme as anything else now being used.

The Five Ways to Well-Being are:

  1. Connect – Five Ways supporters say establishing strong and lasting connections with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues is an important part of well-being. Strong relationships give people a sense of worth and purpose. 
  2. Be Active – Physical activity has long been an important part of drug and alcohol activity. The NEF recommends daily activity that gets a person physically active. 
  3. Take Notice – The next way to well-being is to pay careful attention to the world around you. By taking notice of the little things, your mind is opened up to both the simplicities and intricacies of life. 
  4. Keep Learning – The importance of learning should never be underestimated for recovery. Learning allows a person to achieve certain goals and, as a result, build self-confidence and self-control. 
  5. Give – Finally, giving back is an incredibly rewarding way to build new connections. NEF recommends finding a way to give back to your immediate circle of friends and family, as well as the entire community. 

STAR’s Michael Greenfield told the Lancaster Guardian that what began as an effort by a small group to support one another in recovery has turned into a community-wide group that welcomes those currently in recovery and those who have already completed it. Together they are offering hope to anyone in the local community struggling with drugs or alcohol.

Not so Unusual

The STAR approach is only unusual in the fact that they embrace the NEF’s Five Ways to Well-Being as a method of drug or alcohol recovery. However, they are not unusual in looking for ways to support recovering addicts without embracing the traditional 12-step model established back in the 1930s. Several other recovery groups and programmes have come up with different approaches as well.

What is important is that STAR has found something that works for their community. They have put together a programme that is succeeding in helping people change their lives for the better, by helping them refocus their energies on a productive life without the use of drugs or alcohol. What more needs to be said?

There continues to be much debate within the recovery community as to what is the best approach for treating substance abusers and addicts. Nevertheless, in the end, it always comes down to whatever works for the individual. The undeniable truth of substance abuse is that it is a very personal thing. Not everyone can recover using the same treatments or methodologies.

We want to help you get into recovery if you are struggling with drink or drugs. To that end, addiction Helper operates a 24-hour helpline that you can call at any time. Our trained counsellors are standing by to speak with you right now.

Sources:

  1. Lancaster Guardian 
  2. NEF 
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