Following its opening in 1993, Focus was modeled after “The Clubhouse Model” which is widely used throughout the United States and Canada, (initially for persons who are mentally challenged but now found useful in addictions treatment).
Focus measures success and associated recovery capital in Bermuda’s recovery community by using some of the principles of the Harm Reduction Model. Focus Drop-in Center uses a set of practical strategies that include safer use, reduction in use, to managed use and abstinence. Focus Counselling Services staff meet substance users “where they are”, addressing presenting issues along along with the substance use itself.
Accordingly, Focus accepts small incremental changes as part of the recovery process. Focus motivates its clients towards a drug free lifestyle, and therefore all of its activities are engineered with that goal in mind. Focus provides a safe place and safe space for all its clients to be off the street, and for them to begin the process of recovery by helping them regain self-confidence, learn new skills, build and maintain close interpersonal relationships and prepare to enter or return to the workforce.
Focus “Clubhouse” component provides a safe environment, access to counselling without an appointment, constructive friendships – being wanted and needed, education to the ill-effects of substance abuse, a support system, a nutritional program, associated agency referrals, assistance with resume writing, practical and academic life skills training, client and family members support meetings, money management, work programs and substance use screening.
Focus’ definition of a “Safe Environment” is a place where people in many different stages of addiction attend regularly because they know they will be welcome unconditionally.
Focus counsellors are non- judgmental and non-coercive providers of services, and a resource to people who use drugs and to the communities in which they live, to assist them in reducing further attendant harm. No drug use is allowed nor tolerated on the premises. Clients are aware they can slow down and take a break from their drug of choice at the Drop-in Center, and because of the many services and programs provided; these breaks in the cycle of their addictive behavior can often lead to treatment and a recovery orientated lifestyle.
Focus “safe environment” ensures that drug users and those with those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them. Focus staff affirms that the clients themselves are the primary agents of their recovery, and seek to empower clients to share information and support each other in strategies, which help to support their recovery.
Access to Counselling Without an Appointment
Drop-In Center clients have access to staff and/or volunteer counsellors on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Focus “Clubhouse” support system includes (but are not limited to); devotions: structured and facilitated daily morning spiritual fellowship, 6 days a week; group meetings, (lunchtime); daily structured and facilitated group discussions of addiction related topics, 5 days a week; and peer support: people who have successfully maintained abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and who frequent the Drop-In Center, sharing their story, one addict helping another.
Often people with Substance Use Disorder find themselves in situations, which require support, advocacy or the need of medical services. Whenever necessary, Focus counsellors accompany clients to appointments or to hospital to further lend them emotional support. Many clients who are in need of medical detoxification, come to the Drop-In Center because they know it is a safe environment and they can be assisted in securing referral to detoxification services.
Focus receives food donations from community partners, breakfast and lunch is served by staff to clients after morning and lunchtime groups.
Associated Agency Referrals
Clients are often in need of other services such as: medical detoxification, formal treatment, marriage counselling and/or other services not provided by Focus. For these services they are referred to the appropriate agency.
Summary of Objectives of the Drop-In Center
This process facilitates members to:
- Be off the street and in a safe environment.
- Gain access to counselling without an appointment.
- Begin the process of recovery through friendship, being wanted and needed.
- Receive education on the effects of mind altering chemicals.
- Obtain support for everyday challenges (e.g. addiction, work, social and family issues).
- Obtain nutrition i.e. breakfast and lunch.
- Obtain referral to other agencies for services we are unable to provide as necessary. e.g. Financial Assistance, detoxification etc.
- Receive Life skills training, e.g. job interviewing, resume development, basic computer skills, money management and community activities.
Monday through Sunday – 8:00am till 5:00pm
Morning Devotion – 9:00am till 9:30am
General Knowledge – Daily at 10:30am
Support Group – Daily at 12:00pm followed by lunch
Individual Sessions – Available on Demand