The Bridge Program - A Bridge to new life
“Shame keeps addiction hidden. It’s what stops people asking for help, it’s what stops them becoming the person they know they can be and it’s what leads them to become socially isolated.”
The Salvation Army Bridge Program, an internationally acclaimed recovery program, has helped more than 50,000 people to cross the bridge to a new life since it began in 1964.
We believe we offer the best recovery model, helping you to not only overcome your dependency on drugs/ alcohol/ gambling, but to achieve the quality of life you’ve always wanted. We offer 550 residential beds in NSW, ACT and Qld, with around 200 staff members involved in our clinical, nursing, domestic, catering, and administration teams.
There are a few facts you might like to know about the Bridge Program. Firstly, it’s a long-term, residential program - you live in our centre/s for eight to 10 months. (We do also offer non-residential support.) It’s abstinence-based - the aim is to achieve abstinence from drugs, alcohol and gambling. And it’s a spiritual program - we look not only at the physical side of addiction, but also the underlying spiritual and emotional aspects.
Contact the centre nearest to you for advice or to arrange an assessment, or read on for some more detailed information about what to expect from the program.
There are a number of key features of the program which we believe will help you achieve greater success in overcoming your drug/ alcohol/ gambling problems, and in your everyday life after the program.
- Long-term, residential - the Bridge Program is a long term, residential treatment program lasting eight to ten months. The length of the program is important because it gives you time in a healthy, drug-free environment to learn to live without drugs/alcohol/gambling.
- 12-Step recovery model - as part of your recovery, you will be required to work through the “12-Steps”. This involves admitting your powerlessness, coming to believe there’s a Power greater than you who can help you, and making a commitment to hand your will and your life over to the care of that Power. This is consistent with The Salvation Amy’s belief that through God all things are possible.
- Group work - Group work provides a forum for you to explore your personal issues, at the same time helping you build effective communication skills with other people. This allows you, while focussing on your own recovery, to also learn about other people and take time to attend to their needs as well as your own.
- Abstinence based - the Bridge Program aims to help you achieve abstinence; that’s our goal. For example, an alcoholic doesn’t become a social drinker and an addict doesn’t become a ‘recreational’ user. The reason we advocate abstinence from drugs, alcohol and gambling is that there is a strong tendency for people to swap addictions.
- Spiritual framework - The Salvation Army, as a Christian organisation, believes that a spiritual base is essential to the program. We recognise that humans are emotional, mental and spiritual beings and want to help you reach your full potential. The 12-Steps itself is a spiritual recovery model because an important part of recovery is admitting a sense of powerlessness over our addictive behaviour. If we say we’re powerless, then we need to be empowered from somewhere to be able to rise above it.
- Vocational education and training - we also offer vocational education and training opportunities while you’re in program, so you can be better placed to find a job at the end of the program. We’ll help you build on your existing skills, or help you recognise and develop skills you may not know you have!
- Gender specific programs - We offer gender specific programs.
- Family-focussed - During and after the program, intervention and support for family and significant others is encouraged and offered. Where breakdown has occurred, we aim to help you rebuild damaged relationships if possible. We also realise your family may need help to understand the new person who’s coming into their family circle again! We offer support in this regard.
There are two essential criteria for entering the Bridge Program:
- A willingness to admit you are powerless over your problem
- A willingness commit to a new life
If you are a concerned friend or family member, the hardest thing to realise is that you can’t do this for the person you care about. But you can encourage them and pray for them.
We aim to:
- provide a safe, drug-free environment to help establish a healthier lifestyle
- focus on the problems that underlie addiction
- provide a holistic treatment service that will help achieve physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing via medical treatment, one-to-one and group support, and pastoral support
- impart living skills to not only overcome your addiction but to lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
The eight to ten month program is broken up into three phases.
This phase allows you to have a look at us and seriously consider what will be expected of you if you undertake the program. You’ll receive comprehensive medical assessment over a period of around three weeks. During this time you’ll go through detoxification, if required, in a Salvation Army detox unit or another agency’s detox unit. You’ll also begin one-to-one and group support sessions, educational programs and attendance at 12-Step meetings.
During this phase, which can last for six to eight months, you’ll be involved in more in depth one-to-one and group support sessions with education presentations, discussions, 12-Step meetings, Chapel services and recreational and social activities. This is a stabilising time when we provide or help you to access vocational education and training in a range of areas to help you get a job when you finish the program.
Finally, it’s time to get ready to make the transition back to the wider community. That’s what this phase is all about. It includes working on your interpersonal relationships via one-to-one support, couple and family counselling.
We will help you to develop an exit plan which includes assistance with job seeking, accessing education and training, and finding appropriate accommodation.
You’re encouraged to keep attending 12-Step meetings, counselling, chapel services and other groups during this phase and after treatment.
We will continue to support you.
If you live near a centre you can begin attending your 12-Step home group before you leave us, which makes for a smooth transition. You can also continue accessing extended care services such as chapel, one-to-one and telephone support, and groups for individuals/couples/families. (Services vary from centre to centre.) 12-Step meetings are also held at some Recovery Services centres.
If you don’t live near one of our centres, we will try to match you with other services in your local area.
Expenses are met by The Salvation Army and a percentage of your Centrelink benefit.
Please note that a number of Salvation Army programs are supported by funding from Federal and State governments.
Contact the Recovery Services Centre nearest you for more advice or to arrange an assessment to enter the program.