What is Harm Reduction?

Gradually reducing use of substances can be a successful path to health

You might be wondering if it’s the right time to quit. Stress, responsibilities, or fear of failure can stop you from trying to change.

However, you don’t have to change everything right now. The beauty of beginning a sobriety journey is that things happen naturally and slowly, and it’s done by taking small steps. That first step is just believing in yourself and your power to change. Having a program that breaks the huge and intimidating task of getting sober down into achievable steps and guides you through them makes what seems impossible completely possible.

Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always ups and downs. We have setbacks and missteps. But over time, we keep moving up and moving closer to our goal. As we look back, we can see how far we’ve come and how every one of those setbacks taught us something.

Affect built its program understanding that the process takes time. While many treatment programs require sobriety (and discharge you for slip ups), Affect takes a different approach.

Addiction treatment professionals call that approach “harm reduction,” and data shows that it can work better for many people.

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction is a set of practical ideas aimed at reducing the negative consequences of drinking or using drugs. The basic idea is that you get tools and information to make positive changes and start reducing how much you use. As you use less, you reduce the harm you do to yourself and the people around you.

Decades of research have shown that harm reduction strategies provide significant benefits, including preventing overdoses and transmission of diseases, reducing emergency department visits, and encouraging more people to seek help without a fear of judgment or stigma.

It’s a transformative approach to dealing with substance use disorders. It empowers people and provides choices to live healthier lives under their control that have purpose and meaning. Harm reduction improves physical and social wellbeing and helps people get the care they need.

The approach centers on the lived and living experience of people who use drugs and alcohol. It’s about meeting people where there are and on their own terms, setting achievable goals, and making incremental progress.

How Does Affect’s Program Use Harm Reduction?

When you reach out to us for help, we help you consider the changes you want to make – whether that is total abstinence, a reduction in usage, or a change in the conditions of when or how you use. Making progress towards a healthier life involves setting small, achievable goals and developing the confidence and tools to meet them. Our team helps you build your plan and stick to it, whatever that looks like.

As you get the support of your care team, Affect’s app also breaks down your journey into manageable steps, motivates you to complete them, and rewards you when you do.

Relapses and Real Recovery

Sobriety is not a requirement at Affect. Many people think that they need to be sober to get addiction treatment because many traditional drug rehab programs require it. Affect is different.

Affect believes that every day sober is a victory, but we also understand the path to recovery isn’t always straightforward. Our program rewards you for sobriety streaks and for testing negative for substances. If you slip, we start over again.

Over time, those streaks get longer and longer. You start feeling better and getting healthier. You find hope and healing with help from your team of advocates and consultants who are in recovery themselves and can relate to you.

No matter where you’re at in your recovery journey, your Affect counselor will help you make healthy choices leading to long-term success. Once you’re with us, we’re with you.