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).
Focus measures success and associated value in Bermuda’s treatment agency community, with the “Principles of Harm Reduction”. Focus “Clubhouse” component therefore, is based on a harm reduction set of practical strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence. Harm reduction strategies meet drug users “where they are at”, addressing conditions of use along with the 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 foremost in mind. Focus provides a safe place 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, holistic therapies, associated agency referrals, assistance with resume writing, practical and academic life skills training, client and family members support meetings, money management, work programs and urine testing. Following are descriptions of the aforementioned activities.
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 “Clubhouse”, and because of the many services and programs provided; these short breaks in the chaotic patterns of their addiction, can often ultimately lead to treatment and recovery.
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 drug users themselves are the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seek to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies, which meet their actual conditions of use.
Access to Counselling Without an Appointment
In the “Clubhouse” scenario, clients have access to staff and/or volunteer counsellors on a first-come-first-serve basis. Traditional counselling time constraints are relaxed because often clients come in desperate, needing immediate attention.
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); 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 “Clubhouse”, sharing their story, one addict helping another.
Often people in the throes of addiction find themselves in situations, which land them in court or in need of medical services. Whenever necessary, Focus counsellors accompany clients to court or to hospital to further lend them emotional support. Many clients who are in need of medical detoxification, come to the “Clubhouse” because they know the “Clubhouse”is a safe environment. Focus counsellors only “observe” clients going through detoxification. They do not provide or dispense any medication.
Focus actively solicits food donations from restaurants and hotels, and when available, counsellors serve hot lunch to clients during or after lunchtime group.
Holistic therapies include Acudetox (auricular acupuncture) and Reiki (therapeutic touch).
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 Clubhouse
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 Holistic Therapies
- Obtain referral to other agencies for assistance as necessary. E.g. marital counselling, detoxification etc.
- Receive Life skills training, e.g. job interviewing, and resume development, tutorial in English, reading, mathematics, basic computer skill, money management and community activities.
- Have access to our 24 hour drug information/abuse hotline.
Monday through Sunday – 8:00am till 5:00pm
Morning Devotion – 8:45am till 9:30am
General Knowledge – Daily at 10:00am
Support Group Sessions – Daily at 12:00pm followed by lunch
Individual Sessions – Available on Demand