A&O Program

Cornerstone's A&O Program is designed to help map out each individual patient's recovery journey. 

Assessment and Orientation

Those initial steps into the substance abuse treatment process can be frightening ones, but the men and women of Cornerstone of Recovery’s Assessment and Orientation Department are experienced shepherds.

When patients arrive at our facility, their treatment journey begins with A&O. Technically, our A&O Department includes the Medical Detox process, and because those who come to us are often emotionally fragile and physically sick, the department’s staff members make their intake as fast and efficient as possible.

“To work in A&O, you have to have compassion for the person, who’s still in active addiction,” says Susan Orr, director of A&O. “Just someone has walked in our front door and said they want to make a change

A&O Drug Rehab

The A&O intake process begins with having patients sign a series of consent forms that give us permission to treat the patient, all of them similar to those filled out during a hospital intake: emergency contact information, a list of patient-approved visitors, and basic information on their substance use, including how much, how often and how long. This is followed by a series of questionnaires and tests designed to map out each patient’s treatment journey; it’s known as the Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual approach to therapy, and it allows us to create an individualized path of care for each patient. Each patient’s Care Plan is designed to provide the best possible treatment outcome: long-term recovery from active addiction.

“We ask questions about every area of the patient’s life, leaving no stone unturned, because it helps guide the treatment plan,” Orr says. “From the questionnaires and assessments we ask them to complete, we’re getting closer to helping them find themselves and their strengths.”

Examining a past that includes emotional baggage, spiritual pain and sometimes physical abuse isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Similar to the expression of poison from a physical wound, these assessments allow our clinical staff members insight into the emotional wounds of those who come to us for treatment, because our experience has taught us that the drugs and alcohol are just symptoms of much deeper issues that need to be addressed if our patients are to receive the sole purpose of our mission: delivering to them fulfilling and joyous lives free from addictive bondage, but also free from the pain of their pasts.

“There are times when we stop what we’re doing, if the patient is talking about something that’s difficult, and sometimes we’ll hug them or pat their hands or look at them and say, ‘We have some amazing therapists, and they’re going to walk you through all of what you’re feeling right now,’” Orr says.

For this reason, the men and women of our A&O Department are true heroes: They take on that pain and offer comfort, relying on one another and the therapeutic atmosphere of Cornerstone itself to process what’s often an incredibly difficult emotional ordeal for patients and staff members alike.

“We tell (our staff members) they’re not responsible for what happened to the patients in the past, or what they’re going to do in the future – only in what we can give them in the moment,” Orr says. “We’re trusting that God has them on a journey, and we just get to be a small part of it.”

In that way, the therapeutic process has already started for those patients; our A&O staff members are trained in certain techniques – motivational interviewing and what’s known as “rolling with the resistance” – to

A&O Drug Rehab

acknowledge and validate the feelings of those patients during the questionnaire process, and delivering them to the hands of the nursing staff to begin the Medical Detox process as quickly as possible.

After an initial 20-minute screening with nursing and the initial doses of detox medications, if necessary, patients are assigned a room and escorted to the patient lounge, where they’re met by volunteers, staff members and their community peers. They’re encouraged to attend five to six groups a day during their detox and assessment process, primarily to give them something to occupy their minds while their bodies begin to heal: psycho-education, orientation, an introduction to the 12 Steps, activity therapy, Acudetox and a meditation group. These groups aren’t mandatory because some patients just need to rest, but again, our experience has demonstrated that patients who attend these groups often transition to the next level of care with a broader understanding of what awaits them, and they’re able to better withstand the mild discomfort of the detox process if they’re able to focus on something beyond it.

Throughout the process, the A&O counselors go to great lengths to meet the needs of every patient, so they can start their treatment journey on the right foot. We recognize that it can be a frightening time, full of uncertainty, but the beauty of Cornerstone’s clinical staff composition is that roughly 90 percent of our counselors and therapists are in recovery from addiction themselves. We know the fear and apprehension our patients feel, because we’ve experienced it firsthand, and our ability to impart strength and hope is evident in the numbers – less than 4 percent of A&O patients leave Against Medical Advice every quarter, meaning that 96 percent of those who start the journey come through to the other side, ready to move on to one of our four primary treatment programs.

“The A&O process comes to an end when we hand them off to the counselors in the program they will transition to for their next level of care,” Orr says. “We pass them off to some very capable, trustworthy hands, and it’s awesome. It’s like watching your kid grow up and graduate in five days, and that feels really good.”

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Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment Services

The Path To Recovery Starts At Cornerstone

Medical Detoxification can be a critical time in a patient’s journey toward recovery because the symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to manage and potentially life-threatening. A team of certified, competent and caring professionals work together to ensure that we provide the best medical care for our patients. The Medical Director prescribes detox medications to keep the patient safe and reasonably comfortable.

While receiving detoxification medications, patients also attend psychoeducational groups and experiential activities. However, detox patients are also given sufficient opportunity to relax and allow their bodies to begin the healing process. Patients on a detox protocol are monitored 24 hours a day and the typical length of detoxification is 3 to 5 days and may be longer depending on the severity of the patient’s withdrawal symptoms.

This unit is designed to support our patients as they enter treatment and begin to invest in their community of peers. An extensive battery of assessments is performed to identify the patient’s bio-psycho-social-spiritual strengths, needs, and barriers to recovery (such as chronic pain, dual diagnosis, trauma, or other co-occurring disorders). This comprehensive assessment process provides our medical and clinical teams with much of the information they need to build a treatment plan that is individualized for each patient.

Our NON-NARCOTIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM offers solutions that eliminate and or reduce the dependence on medications to treat pain and improve treatment outcomes. We are able to reduce pain and improve the recovery process. We offer sound information and teach skills that the patient can use to improve coping, relaxation, mindfulness, nutrition, and much more. Some of the modalities we use are Reiki, Rubenfeld Synergy, Acupressure, Mindful Stretching, and Addiction Free Pain Management Education.

We believe healing occurs through direct experience. Experiential activities amplify the traditional therapeutic
modalities that are part of our milieu. Fitness, Meditation, Relaxation Therapy, Yoga, Spirituality Groups, Ropes Course, Mindfulness, Art Therapy, Drumming Circles, and community outings are some components of experiential healing at Cornerstone. Patients who participate in experiential therapies report reductions

Family Therapy is an integral part of all of the clinical programs at Cornerstone. Early on in the treatment process, we conduct a Family Questionnaire which allows family members and close personal friends to have input that impacts the patients treatment plan. When appropriate, there are Family Therapy sessions throughout the treatment process. These sessions are designed to work through relationship issues, enhance communication, educate the family about the disease of addiction and provide them with emotional support while their loved one is in treatment. Through this support, the family will gain knowledge about the treatment process and how they may be unknowingly supporting the addiction through co-dependent and enabling behaviors.

Family members will learn about how to engage in personal growth and change through various 12 step programs, so that the family can heal together trough the recovery process. Cornerstone requires that each patient complete Family Fundamentals, an intensive three-day family program designed to provide intensive education, group therapy, family therapy, 12 step meeting experience, and an opportunity to repair the damage caused by active addiction. Family members are strongly encouraged to attend the Family Fundamentals program along with the patient. Cornerstone also has a weekly family education group for family members and an ongoing support group for parents of young adults who are struggling with addiction or who have recently entered recovery

The Continuous Care Program upholds Cornerstone of Recovery’s treatment philosophy that chemical dependency is a chronic incurable disease that requires the consistent and continued attention of each patient for a lifetime. Recent scientific studies of the disease process have determined that full remission from active addiction does not occur until an individual has experienced at least 18 months of continuous sobriety, long after most intensive treatment programs have concluded.

In response to this knowledge, the Continuous Care Program provides services for a period of at least 18 months following treatment, to ensure that each patient has the opportunity for professional support throughout the early stages of their recovery. During this time, patients are encouraged to practice the skills and tools they learned and developed in treatment as they find their way back
into their home, work, and social environments. They are able to talk with Recovery Coaches and therapeutically
process the ups and downs they experience in sobriety. Active participation in the Continuous Care Program is vital in establishing a lifelong, solid recovery plan.

The Support Living Facility (SLF) provides a safe environment for patients to continue to learn and practice self-management and interpersonal relationship skills while solidifying their recovery program. It can take several months for individuals to become comfortable enough in their recovery to successfully move away from the environment where they got sober. The SLF Program allows men and women to experience some of the freedoms they will experience after treatment while they are supported by thier peers, staff, and a sober environment. Staff monitors the community through regular contact, group therapy, spirituality groups, relapse prevention groups, drug screens, and random checks of the living quarters. Eventually, the patient is allowed to retrieve their cell phone, to leave the premises, operate a vehicle and obtain employment. The minimum length of stay is 2 months (while the individual concurrently is in the IOP Program). Patients often choose to stay in SLF longer while they continue to build their recovery network and become more comfortable with the life changes they’ve made.Typical length of stay varies from 2 to 6 months, depending on the patient’s clinical needs.


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