The company and the day-to-day structures are working towards a 50/50 model, that is to say that the staff group and the resident group share equal weight in the decision making process within clearly defined processes. So we run a 50/50 model at assessment, peer reviews, relapse, and so on. In other words if both parties agree, then it happens, if either does not, it does not happen. This process is structured to work within a cooperative mindset involving and utilising the differing skills of both residents and staff. You will naturally notice that this opens the company to vulnerability: a good model for residents indeed!
By allowing real decisions, real power and therefore real responsibilities to those in recovery, residents are expected to get real with their recovery.
A crucible is a vessel capable of holding hot metals and is used for melting and mixing. Studio House does not promote a particular ideology or process but rather accepts individuals within their existing understandings. The meetings are designed to cross fertilise, enrich, broaden and add-depth to an individual’s own processes of how recovery works. By stepping into the melting pot of differing views and contradictory stances, they are exercised to validate their own experiences and core values. You cannot remove that which you are. So rather than leaving a person in confusion, this process journeys through confusion to reveal the solidity of core values within one.
Peer engagement draws on a number of theory bases including Dialectic methodologies, Humanistic concepts and Holistic ideologies. Basic assumption sets promote the individual as holding the keys to their own life processes and that they will need to engage in relationship with others to unlock elements of this potential. Such engagement with others is based on an equal validity of perspective and experience. As such the efficiencies of engagement are explored and developed through processes engaged in the variety of experiences on offer.
Otherwise known as holding responsibility and sharing/ giving away authority. When am I truly in charge? When should I put the advice of others before my own? These dual concepts entwine through our systems.
Where does the knowledge of recovery arise, is it in you or outside of you?
Can we achieve more together than we could alone?
These questions are explored, tested and challenged by others throughout the programme and an individual moves from Dependence living into both Independence and Inter-dependence living.
Authentic experience is the bedrock of the process a resident engages with at Studio House. How to get wholly involved and committed as opposed to partially participating with a ‘foot in the back-door’, or working out the genuine experience from the false and learning to discriminate between the two is the difference between the recovery process and addictive cycling. Realness of experience requires an integrity to in the mental, emotional and physical aspects of an individual. What we feel and think is what we speak about and what we do. Residents work to discover their own sense of understanding this practice.
We are human ‘Beings’ and human ‘Doers’. Understanding ourselves as aspects of stillness and motion, otherwise termed ‘Being’ in the eye-of-the-storm of ‘Doing’. Understanding the principle of a calm-point in the midst of the ‘troubles in my life’. Exploring emotional, mental and physical ‘detachment’, ‘engagement’ and ‘absorption’ and how they colour experiences.
Life at Studio House is an inseparable reflection of an individual’s own recovery process and vice versa. To look at how one engages in each aspect of life in the project is to bridge the learning of life with the learning of recovery. How to bring about the linking up of the mendacities of life such as cleaning, relating to others, filling in forms, paying bills, changing lightbulbs, etc to the recovery process is a key learning experience.
Or ‘Whole’istic is to see the complete first, then consider its parts rather than looking for all the bits to build up a whole. It is intuitive rather than rational. Life does not always go the way we want or expect. Studio House processes teach that the human condition contains both rational order and irrational chaos. To live with recovery means learning how to live successfully with both.
Every individual carries their unique perspective and experience. Some take drug, some alcohol, some both, some are street-drinkers, some successful business persons, some have mental health issues, some come with offending behaviour, and so on. When taken to the extreme, all these differences highlight a lack of commonality.
What do people really have in common with each other? What does a street drinker have in common with a high-flyer cocaine addict? Moving beyond this, what does an addict have in common with the average person.
The commonality of addiction asserts that there are universal features carried by all individuals which manifest accordingly when three key factors conjoin.
The nature of the individual.
The addictive substance.
The surrounding environmental factors.
These elements of addiction cross the spectrum of persons, substances and environments in different ways. So how do they combine in ways that become either benign, neutral or destructive to an individual? What are the commonalities and are they useful to living the recovery process?
We practice, at the start and end of sessions, a two minute ‘grounding’ exercise. Otherwise described as a voyage of discovery, it is a simple stress-relieving practice that can be adopted quickly and simply in most situations. It is given as a throwaway; residents practice it whilst with us, if they find it helpful, they can take it with them, if not, they can leave it behind.