MONTANA is an Acronym:
Men Of New Thought And New Awareness
To sustain long-term recovery and find fulfillment in life, a man must change how he perceives himself and the world around him. The process begins with an awareness that there is a problem and that life isn’t working out too well. The MONTANA Model helps men move from awareness that there is a problem to a place of inner peace, joy and fulfillment. It is a life long process rather than a quick treatment fix. The MONTANA Model is an integrated framework that one adapts to rebuild his life from the ashes of addiction.
Recovery Requires a Change in Thinking
Inherent in the name – Men Of New Thought And New Awareness – is the essence of the model. It is essential that one become aware of not only one’s addiction, but have an awareness of one’s patterns of behavior and the thoughts that produce the behavior. Successful recovery requires a change in thinking that can only occur through a new awareness of the primary problem. The same man will drink again. The same thinking pattern behind the addiction will lead one to relapse following treatment, so the primary goal of treatment must be to help the addict gain insight, and thus awareness, of his condition and the tools necessary to help him change his thought process.
From Ego-based to Authentic
To accomplish a change in thinking, the MONTANA Model integrates twelve-step principles with evidence-based practices, allopathic and naturopathic medicine with mindfulness and meditative practices. The process we use helps men evolve from their societal learned ego-based selves to their authentic spiritual Selves. To help achieve results in as short a timeframe as possible, a multi-disciplinary team approach of professionals works together to help diagnose and effective treat the addict.
The MONTANA model examines life in five areas:
4. Social and Family
Addiction is a disease. It has nothing to do with mental weakness. Research in the medical field has proven the disease nature of addiction, primarily in the brain. Addiction affects the body in many harmful ways, which also results in organ failure and other associated diseases. Most addicts do not exercise, nor do they eat nutritious meals. The long-term effects of physical neglect and physical impairment must be addressed during treatment.
This is accomplished through medical disciplines as well as physical exercise and sound nutrition. Medical attention in the field of psychiatry and physical medicine are important first steps. Physical and psychiatric examinations must address symptoms presented upon admission. Naturopathic medicine may be used todetermine where the body is functioning below optimum levels. A practical fitness program must be initiated and nutritional education and healthy eating habits must be included in order to return the body to a healthy level of functioning.
A complete psychological assessment helps uncover potential mental illness. From depression to a mood and/or personality disorder, an effective treatment model must have the input of a clinical psychologist who can help the team not only identify pathology, but suggest possible evidence-based interventions to be included in the treatment plan.
A primary substance abuse counselor, as well as a specialist to treat co-morbid conditions, works with the individual to decide upon treatment goals during the client’s scheduled stay. This process also includes discharge planning so that the individual sees a continuum of care for one to two years.
The 12-Step program is a spiritual program. Spiritual in that the 12-Step process is change oriented. Spirituality is sometimes misunderstood as something mysterious and available to only a few. The truth is that spirituality is the change in in one’s psyche that allows them to recover. The steps, and the principles contained therein, provide a life-long guide to a rewarding and fulfilling life. The spiritual principles of the 12-Step approach are infallible. When one truly applies these principles in their life, they get better. From the base of recovery provided in the 12-Step approach, one is able to choose a religious practice that enhances their spiritual development. But spirituality is not religion and vice versa.
Social and Family
Addiction is a disease that affects the family and friends of the addict. Relationships become strained and often severed as the addict and his loved ones attempt to survive one another. Family members and friends change their behavior to fit around the lifestyle of the addict. Resentments grow as the addict’s loved ones argue and fight over what should be done to stop the addiction. The sad fact is that nothing can be done to help the addict except to help the addict’s loved ones. Firm boundaries and a united approach are essential, else the addict triangulates and manipulates his loved ones into enabling the addiction. Despite everyone’s disdain for the addict’s behavior, they actually enable it via weak or no boundaries and not standing united against the disease. An effective treatment model must include help for the family.
Building a social network of sober friends is key in maintaining sobriety. Having the support of friends directly impact recovery. Not everyone maintains sobriety following treatment and some require multiple treatments. One of the key reasons for relapse is a return to one’s home environment without a sober social network. A treatment plan must include a social aspect to it if the addict is to enjoy sobriety. The power of a social network is immeasurable and the treatment milieu is a good place to start learning how to make friends and how to be a friend.
Depending on where one is when treatment commences, it is important that one have a vision of a life of sobriety and that includes what one does for a living. Hope is enhanced by having realistic dreams of his future. This part of treatment planning may include testing and/or counseling to help the addict assess their strengths and weakness as they consider pursuing their education and/or continuing in their current career or moving into another field.
Financial and Legal
Many addicts have money and legal problems. They normally do not seek help until forced to. The treatment plan must include these areas and provide a realistic way to work through legal matters as well as help restore financial hope. Treatment is not intended to resolve legal matters, but should address them so that the stress of a legal matter is mitigated during treatment. Through the full continuum of care, one should be moving toward resolution of his legal and financial problems.
What, then, makes the MONTANA model different from other treatment models?
The MONTANA model approaches these five areas of life from a male perspective. Our society has gender roles that each of us learn from birth. We grow up in the same society, yet we experience life from the expectation of the gender imposed roles. Therefore, men and women require different approaches to the same problem. The MONTANA model approaches these areas through:
• Tough love and clear boundaries;
• Identification and demystification of male roles;
• Experiential work including native ceremonies;
• Psychotherapy that address problems from a male perspective;
• Outdoor adventure and recreation;
• Mindfulness and meditation;
• A healthy approach to sexuality.
With a multidisciplinary team working together to create a treatment plan that covers the five key areas of life, the addict, if willing, improves his chances for lasting recovery. He becomes aware of what the problem is, learns how to correct it and discovers his authenticity in the process. His new way of thinking, a healthy way of thinking, helps him see the world, and himself, in a way that helps him be more comfortable in his own skin without the need for self-medication.
The MONTANA Model then becomes a framework for life wherein the addict and his family can build a life of fulfillment and joy.
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