The Power of Connection

LeeAnne Long Connect365 Coordinator

Sierra Tucson’s Connect365 makes all the difference in early recovery
By LeeAnne Long, Connect365 Coordinator

Nestled in the foothills of the magnificent Santa Catalina Mountains, Sierra Tucson exudes spirituality and enlightenment and is surrounded by a magical aura different from any other residential treatment center.

Each resident that enters Sierra Tucson embarks on a journey of self-discovery. This journey brings forth the ability to see the world differently as their clouded, pain-filled eyes start to clear up and brighten.

As residents move past the lobby, staff members may see what appears to be a glimmer of a smile on their face with a hint of hesitation and perhaps a little fear behind it. But the smile is genuine and feels good, even if they don’t understand it. A new universe is unfolding before them; they now have hope and no longer feel alone. This is where change begins.

The stunning, scenic beauty and spirituality of Sierra Tucson are not its only attributes. This renowned treatment center has many unique and groundbreaking programs and services to offer each resident.

One of these services is Connect365, Sierra Tucson’s signature continuing care platform that is offered to residents for one full year following treatment completion at no additional cost. Every resident is provided with a personal Recovery Coach, as well as an interactive recovery management system that can be accessed via mobile device. Participants are scheduled for Connect365 workshops and one-on-one individual coaching sessions during the first week of their stay, so they can immediately build a rapport with their Recovery Coach.

Connect365 promotes accountability and the importance of following a continuing care plan. Participants commit to calling their Recovery Coach each week to check in, stating their feelings/mood and reporting how they are doing with their plan. Coaches kindly give peer support and remind them to keep moving forward by applying the skills they learned at Sierra Tucson to their daily life. Connect365 helps to bridge the gap between residential treatment and the outside world. This is where change continues.

A technologically advanced phone app designed specifically for Sierra Tucson helps former residents, now clients, stay accountable to themselves and their coaches. Coaches will assign their clients tasks that coincide with their continuing care plan. Each time a client completes a task, he or she logs into the system from a mobile device and records it, which then syncs with the Coach’s desktop. The task bars change from red to green once a client has completed an assignment or attends an appointment/meeting on his or her itinerary, allowing the Recovery Coach to check on compliance.

Sierra Tucson strongly recommends building a healthy support network in the outside world, and the Connect365 phone app was designed to accommodate the client’s support team. Connect365 participants sign up support members to log into the app with their own username and password to help with accountability. A support team is never too big. Clients are encouraged to sign up as many people as they wish, including family members, friends, sponsors, professionals, and providers.

Connect365 participants and their support members can access sleep, exercise, and nutritional information from the phone app. There are also links to additional resources for mood disorders, eating disorders, chronic pain, trauma, and addictions at their fingertips. Sierra Tucson Alumni information is available as an added bonus to the app.

If clients are unable to call, they can check in with their Recovery Coach by sending a secure message uniquely built into the phone app. Coaches have the ability to message them back immediately for reassurance. This provides an additional and effective means of communication.

A Recovery Coach may be called on to help with discharge planning if a previously created continuing care plan needs adjusting. The Recovery Coach will give the client the name and number of the Acadia Healthcare Treatment Placement Specialist (TPS) in his or her local community so as to gather additional resources and compose a new plan if needed. This wisely designed safety net between Recovery Coach, TPS, and client can prevent unnecessary panic or isolation that often leads to relapse. Bottom line: The participant can always turn to his or her Recovery Coach in times of distress.

Without a doubt, the Sierra Tucson’s Connect365 has helped change many lives since its inception in November 2015. Clients call their Recovery Coach and simply state, “I need your help. I don’t know what to do.” A client may call several times in one day, reaching out to his or her Recovery Coach to stay focused and grounded. One client said, “I feel safer just hearing your voice, and now I know I can get through this because you are with me.”

A secure message may be sent to the Coach that reads, “I’m not doing well. Can we talk?” Or, an SOS such as “I quit my IOP today!” flags the Coach that an immediate phone call is in order. On a more positive note, messages like “Thank you for everything, you help me a lot” or “I want to thank you for all your support; it makes me feel like someone cares,” are also received by Coaches, further reiterating the significance of this service.

Once a participant completes her or her year in Connect365, the Recovery Coach smoothly transitions the client to the Sierra Tucson Alumni Relations team, where he or she is received with open arms and a welcoming phone call of acknowledgement. Now, the client is provided with a lifetime of alumni services.

In closing, here is a quote that a graduating participant sent to his Recovery Coach, which touched the hearts of Sierra Tucson staff members for the lifesaving work they do:

“Thank you for everything. The gift I got from Sierra Tucson is something that will always be cherished. Sobriety is priceless. Recovery and moving from an unmanageable life to leading a meaningful life is something for which I will always be grateful. Thank you for everything; my regards to the whole team; farewell and Happy New Year.”