We are just completing another of our Residential tobacco treatment programs. This is a 8 day program in which patients reside at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for 8 days and participate in education sessions, counseling, and medical visits to stop treat their tobacco dependence. We provide between 8-10 of these sessions per year.
The program has treated more than 1500 patients since it was first offered in 1994. I have been participating as part of the treatment team for the past 15 years. I would like to share a few brief reflections on this program, as I think it provides some unique perspectives on tobacco addiction and recovery.
First, it is always a privilege that these patients share with us their unique stories of tobacco addiction and their intense desire to be free from it. Sharing their stories with others in the program provides a bond that is an important part of the recovery.
There are strikingly common themes that we hear in these individual stories. One is that tobacco use can be an awfully difficult addiction from which to recover. Another is that the hope patients have to recover provides a foundation to help them succeed. A third common experience is that group support and a comprehensive plan for managing life without tobacco can transform that hope into a vision of success.
Through the course of the 8 days we see confidence grow, withdrawal symptoms and cravings decrease, energy increase, and rosy cheeks blossom. We see recovery begin to happen.
Many of our residential patients join the EX community, so you may hear from them soon.