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Clients Learn Life Lessons

December 12, 2008
by Gary Enos
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As difficult as it can be to build a recovery, rebuilding a life can challenge the person with addiction even more. If that person lacks basic money management skills, the road to self-sufficiency becomes almost impassable. The Seabrook House treatment organization's MatriArk Family Center for pregnant women and mothers has begun a program to teach its clients money management and other work and life skills. Project BOAST (Behavioral Office-based Achievement & Success Training) is being funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation effort promoting health initiatives in New Jersey. The lessons are not being taught in a passive fashion. The women in the program, some of whom have never written a check, open a fictional checking account and pay bills. They receive "bank statements" and are charged fees when they miss a payment or bounce a check. Sometimes their errors lead to awareness that they need to hone their skills before they leave treatment. "It's one thing to tell a woman what she has to do to support herself and her children; it's quite another to show her how to be financially responsible by having her practice these skills in an environment where the consequences are not as severe as in real life," explains MaryLouise E. Kerwin, PhD, project director and professor at Rowan University.

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Gary A. Enos has been the editor of Addiction Professional since its inception. He...