Sunrise House Teaches Patients to ‘Enjoy Life’ Again with Humor, Music and Pets
Sunrise House Treatment Center, an American Addiction Centers (NYSE: AAC) facility and a leading provider of substance use treatment services in New Jersey, is continuing to innovate addiction treatment with the incorporation of several therapeutic methods. Through partnership with artists in Sussex County, and New Jersey, Sunrise House has implemented the “Enjoy Life” series, a treatment complement consisting of music, humor as well as pet therapy.
“The ‘Enjoy Life’ series was created to help our patients learn to enjoy their new life in recovery, free of drugs and/or alcohol,” said Sunrise House CEO Tim Palus. “Live music and humor can increase the level of dopamine in the brain. By engaging patients in these types of activities during treatment, we’re not only naturally activating dopamine, we’re giving them tools to carry with them throughout their recovery.”
The series is segmented into weekly activities: twice monthly, patients are treated to a live performance by local musicians, many of whom are in recovery themselves. One week each month, patients are visited by local comedians, and the final week of the month is an open mic night, which give patients a chance to express their creativity in an artistic manner.
“I was previously a professional musician and have seen the benefit of music and the arts in my own recovery,” said Matthew Smith, alumni coordinator at Sunrise House. “So far, the ‘Enjoy Life’ series has been cathartic for many patients. Many songs and songwriters resonate with them, patients are able to express their experiences creatively and they’re learning to have fun while being sober.”
Sunrise House has also begun pet therapy for patients, which has proven to be very successful. During the first session, nearly every patient at the facility sought to participate. Every other weekend, certified local pet handlers arrive with therapy dogs. This interaction allows patients the opportunity to experience the health benefits of pet therapy, such as increased dopamine, and for some, motivates them to complete treatment and return to their own pets.
“We are constantly developing and incorporating innovative treatment and treatment modalities to produce the best patient outcomes,” said Palus. “We take pride in adapting various methods to give each of our patients their best chance at long-term recovery.”