I interned at substance abuse treatment facility from April 2020 to April 2021. In early November 2020, I started playing around with ways to map or gather lists of assets for substance abuse recovery in Louisiana. The idea was to create a pool of knowledge of recovery resources for stakeholders to continue to pour into and draw from rather than have silos of knowledge. My first driving question was this:
What actually happens around/after discharge for clients exiting inpatient treatment?
I was interested in where they would (or could) go, what types and lengths of programs would be available, and how different identities/experiences intersected with substance use disorder to influence access to resources. For instance, if there was a sober living home near where they were going with the appropriate degree of structure for the client, if there was an extended treatment facility in the area, and if they could be admitted/accepted into programs while having certain needs such as weaning off medication-assisted treatment (MAT), using psychotropics for comorbid mental health conditions, or having their children live with them. My questions grew. They are still growing.
I have realized that, true to my chosen concentration of community practice, I am interested in shedding light on recovery resources for the individual person and also their family and mezzo and macro systems impacting and impacted by substance use, the stigma, the criminalization, etc. It is all influenced by experience engaging with clients and learning their fears, desires, triggers, assets, barriers, vision, and values; reading and research; and my own growing praxis rooted in how to abstain from, interrupt, and address harm and foster positive peace. I continue to wrestle with ideas of what contributes to success and what is harmful in the sphere of substance use and recovery.
I now call the resource project DARRLA –Drug & Alcohol Recovery Resources for Louisiana. It was born as a spreadsheet turned Google map of a couple dozen items in one city. Then, with information from the agency discharge planner, my field supervisor, and Googling it up, it became a Google sheet that has expanded to over 130 statewide resources (and a few applicable federal programs) with contact information (address, phone number(s), contact person(s), fax, website) and a few dozen criteria as of April 16, 2021. Besides adding more assets/programs and expanding the criteria – for instance, adding adult literacy programs and workforce services – I’m in the process of trying to translate DARRLA into an intuitive, searchable web entity that’s useful to anyone interested in recovery. If anyone has skills or expertise on that last part, I’d love a hand. Maybe we can barter knowledge for knowledge, service for service.