Let’s talk about Peer-to-Peer Recovery (PTPR). I have two ways of viewing it. In my opinion, it can be a wonderful thing if combined with other professional services. There are many people who truly care about their peers. and want to be helpful PTPR commonly provides some structure and regular drug testing for the clients. Usually 12-step meetings are mandated. On the other hand, if a program consists of mostly peer-to-peer support with little professional assistance, then I would be cautious about this type of treatment! Let me explain why…
Peer-to-Peer Recovery is just that. It’s possible that a person with a month to a year of clean time could be in charge of facilitating a group session. That is certainly not a lot of sober time to have under one’s belt. Especially, for that person to be given the responsibility of running a group. Sure, it might give the person some motivation to stay clean. But, it could also give them an inflated ego and a “grandiose” attitude. Furthermore, that level of responsibility early in recovery may not be advisable. This is a critical time when many people relapse. A person running such groups should have a lot of experience on how to live sober.
In a peer-to-peer recovery community, it is typical that members live in a sober house and attend a day program. In addition, some people are mandated by the courts to attend these programs. So, their motivation to get clean and sober may be lacking. There is a lot of freedom in these situations. Therefore, one peer can easily bring down another by sneaking drugs and/or alcohol into the community.
Drug and alcohol rehabs typically employ professionals who are better trained to facilitate group therapy. The benefits of their training and experience are evident in the quality of topics for discussion. Also, their ability to maintain structure and purpose of the group is an advantage. In addition, they provide financial and family counseling. As a bonus, these professionals are sometimes in recovery themselves. A trained therapist can also help the addict with a transition plan once they leave treatment. This might include directing clients to 12-step meetings in their area, finding an Intensive Outpatient Program for continued (professional) care, as well as finding a licensed therapist. These are things a peer-to-peer recovery program just doesn’t have the budget for, which can result in poor monitoring of their clients.
In conclusion, a professionally run treatment center is better equipped to handle persons in early recovery and the challenges they face. This type of treatment will also address serious issues such as, PTSD, depression and anxiety. Some of the peer-to-peer recovery communities claim they are a great alternative for drug and alcohol treatment and that they are more affordable, but there can be serious downsides as well. So, before you or your loved one chooses PTPR be sure to ask a lot of questions about their program. Most importantly, don’t forget, you get what you pay for!