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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dawn Farm against addicts using medications?

Not at all. Most Dawn Farm clients are taking a prescription or over-the-counter drug, many of them are taking psychotropic medications. Our approach to medications varies by program:

  • Detox requires that clients come to Detox with their medications and continue taking them while in detox. This includes medications for treating conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, seizure disorders and mental illness.
  • Outpatient services and transitional housing generally take a hands-off approach and encourages clients to talk openly with their prescribing physician and follow the physician’s directions. In some cases we may refer the client to a psychiatrist or other physician who has a good understanding of addiction.
  • Our residential programs take a more conservative approach. A staggering percentage of our clients have been prescribed psychotropic medication. We believe that psychiatric disorders are grossly overdiagnosed in addicts. Our primary concern is the accurate diagnosis of these disorders. Clients continue taking medications if we trust the agency/physician making the diagnosis, the diagnosis is confirmed in our intake assessment or there are safety concerns. If we believe the diagnosis is unclear and that any symptoms may be secondary to the addiction, our physician will generally discontinue the medication. We will monitor the symptoms and address them in the client’s treatment plan. If the symptoms worsen  or don’t improve we re-evaluate the diagnosis and the client may be placed back on medication. A relatively small number of these clients fall into this category and it should be noted that our retention rates are very high for a program of our type. (See also: Dawn Farm’s Approach to Psychtropic Meds)

All of our programs are non-medical and we are not able to meet the needs of every addict. The medications that we are most concerned about are common drugs of abuse such as opiates, cough suppressants, stimulants and benzodiazepines. Our response is always individualized and all of the above serve as guidelines rather then hard and fast rules.

Why does Dawn Farm require clients to attend specific 12 step meetings?

We attribute our success with clients to our ability to connect them with the recovering community. Research is finally confirming what we’ve known for 30 years. That 12 step involvement is a great predictor how well people will do after treatment and that 12 step involvement is more important than 12 step attendance in predicting how well people do in their recovery from addiction.

What do we mean by involvement versus attendance ? 12 Step attendance can be achieved by ordering the person to attend meetings and get an attendance sheet signed. We know that this may be good, but nowhere near good enough. We know that “How many meetings have you attended this week?” will only get you part of the story. To get the rest of the story you have to ask questions like:

  • Do you have a home group?
  • Do you have a sponsor?
  • How often do you talk with your sponsor?
  • Do you have a service commitment in your home group?
  • How often do you talk with another recovering alcoholic?
  • Do you sponsor anyone?
  • Are you doing any 12th step work?
  • Are you working the steps? How?
  • How often do you socialize with other 12 step members?
  • How often do you read program literature?
  • Do you consider yourself a member of the 12 step group? Why?

These questions will tell how involved the person is in the 12 step group. Why does this matter? 12 step involvementpredicts lower rates of 12 step drop out, higher rates of abstinence, lower rates of depression, better relationships, improved coping skills, improved self-esteem, decreased anxiety, improved psychosocial functioning, etc.

You may be asking what all of this has to do with requiring clients to attend certain meetings. The answer is that every 12 step meeting doesn’t have a strong sense of community offer opportunities for involvement. It has been said by 12 step members that there are meetings and there are groups. At meetings, people show up just before the meeting begins and leave right after the meeting ends.Groups, on the other hand, tend to have members showing up early to socialize and help set up for the meeting, anniversaries are celebrated, service commitments are available, the topic for the meeting stays close to program literature, there is lots of laughter, newcomers are greeted and welcomed, sponsors are available to any newcomer who expresses interest, there is a group conscience or steering committee, members tend to socialize after the meeting, etc. Groups may be big or small, they may be an AA, NA, CA or HA meeting, they may target a specific gender, profession, age group, racial minority or sexual minority. The characteristic that they all have in common is a strong sense of community that is committed to helping members achieve and maintain recovery. The meetings that we require our clients attend are meetings that we know to begroups.

It’s worth mentioning that all of our clients are welcome to suggest additions to this list of meetings.

What should I bring to residential treatment?

There is a list here.

How much does treatment at Dawn Farm cost?

Fees can be found here.

Why do different people have different waits to get into treatment?

There are a few factors that determine the length of time that people wait to get in.

One factor is gender. We have a certain number of male and female beds. Generally there are more men seeking treatment than there are women seeking treatment, so the wait is generally longer for men. We do our best to retain
flexibility in available beds.

Another factor is the referral and funding source for the client. In 1999 we found that over 80% of our clients were referred and funded by the same source. We realized that we needed to diversify our revenue sources if we were to survive and maintain our independence. The result is that today our largest referral source only provides 20% of our referrals, our funding is much more stable and we are in a position where we are able to say “no” to any funding source that might try to impose restrictions or requirements
that we find unacceptable. Maintaining this diversity of revenue and referral streams often means giving priority to one referral source and slowing down the admissions from another referral source.

We also routinely admit people without any funding for their treatment. We are able to dedicate 10% to 15% of our beds to these unfunded clients. Unfortunately, the demand far exceeds the supply and we often have waits of 1 to 3 months. This list is first-come, first-served, and we fill beds as soon as they become available. Unfortunately, the continuing reduction of public funding for indigent clients has made this list even longer.

Why is residential treatment at Dawn Farm so inexpensive?

After investigating treatment options and discovering that Dawn Farm may be as little as 1/10 the cost of other programs, some people ask how do we manage to be so much less expensive. There are a few reasons:

  • Our facilities are modest. Bedrooms are camp style with bunk beds.
  • Residents run the facilities as a functioning home. We have no custodial or kitchen staff. Residents care for the facility and do their own meal planning and cooking.
  • We put effort into staying affordable.
  • The community supports Dawn Farm with a significant amount of charitable gifts!

Man with a Mission

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How Dawn Farm Has Helped

Not just the lives of our clients–but also their loved ones, neighbors, friends, employers, co-workers and many others. The greatest benefit to involvement with Dawn Farm is the privilege of participating in and witnessing these transformations.

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