Blue Willow LLC

Client Responsibilities

Honesty, Open-Mindedness & Willingness: The Indispensable Essentials of Recovery

Blue Willow provides an intensive, comprehensive and customized outpatient recovery program that addresses the whole person with addiction and provides the blueprint for living and loving life while in recovery. Before entering recovery, many clients ask, "How does the recovery process begin," and, "How does it work?" Honesty with yourself, being Open-minded to new ideas, and a Willingness to try them are the three principles at the foundation of recovery.


People with substance abuse issues commonly deny that their drug and/or alcohol use is an issue. Rigorous, inward honesty about ourselves and drug abuse is essential to achieve sober living. Honesty is the treatment for denial, which leads to the healing experience of acceptance: Acceptance that there is a problem, acceptance that we need help, and acceptance of the truth.


Open-mindedness encourages listening, a kind of listening that the demands of feeding an addiction might have closed off. Substance abuse creates a cycle of self-defeating thoughts and behavior. Some people suffering from addiction lose faith in themselves and their support system; others lose faith in a Higher Power or feel abandoned and disillusioned with their prior system of belief. Regardless of whether spirituality is a part of one’s recovery, it is essential to give up some old ideas and preconceptions to begin the journey towards a better life.


Willingness is knowing what needs to be done and doing it. It is participation, action, and commitment to recovery. Recovery is hard work, and one must be prepared to do that work even when it’s difficult. Willingness can take the form of openness to the will of a Higher Power or acceptance of the guidance offered by sponsors and care providers.

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Living Without Drugs and Alcohol

Blue Willow believes that to be truly clean and in recovery, one must refrain and abstain from all mood-altering drug and substance use. This includes alcohol and cannabis and other obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as gambling and sex addiction.

It can be easy to rationalize trading in one high for another, especially when alcohol and cannabis are considered socially acceptable and less lethal to some people. It is under-reported and rarely discussed, however that alcohol can "lubricate the wheels” and can be a major potential trigger for a serious drug relapse.

Complete abstinence from all addictive substances is the goal, but it is not necessarily the starting point for many new Blue Willow clients. Blue Willow understands that for many people, not all substances can be eliminated all at once and thus the step by step process is best. We will work with you towards achieving complete abstinence and combine a step by step approach with a harm reduction model at the beginning of a client’s program.

Blue Willow understands there needs to be a balance between your career, personal life and sobriety, however, at the end of the day, abstinence means being totally clean from alcohol and all addictive substances and behaviors.

Reading and Education

Knowledge is power and the Blue Willow team believes that being educated on addiction and substance abuse issues is an integral part of recovery. Blue Willow believes it is important to understand some of the science and neurobiology behind addiction because this puts the client in a better position to pursue and maintain successful long-term recovery. Blue Willow also welcomes family and loved ones to participate in the educational portion of the program. Dr. Lalonde will review addiction literature with the client from several resources from prominent national organizations including the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Blue Willow clients will also be assigned various texts and readings again in order to gain a better understanding of their substance use disorder and treatment. Here is a sample of some of the resources that will be assigned. Clients will review readings with Dr. Lalonde on a weekly basis:

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
  • SMART Recovery 3rd Edition Handbook, William Abbott, Jim Braastad, John Frahm, Randy Lindel, Richard Phillips, Henry Steinberger, Rosemary Hardin, 2013.
  • The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine, Shannon Miller, sixth edition, 2019.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous, fourth edition of the Big Book, 2001.
  • Narcotics Anonymous, sixth edition, 2008.
  • Narcotics Anonymous, It Works: How and Why, 1993.
  • Narcotics Anonymous, Step Working Guides, 1998.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 1981.
  • Codependent No More, Melody Beattie, 1992.
  • How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, 2008.
  • Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice. June 2012. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia).
  • Conquering Shame and Codependency, Darlene Lancer, 2014.
  • The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck, 1978.
  • Addiction and Grace, Gerald May, 1988.

Random Drug Screening

Dr. Lalonde will be responsible for carrying out random urine drug screens (UDS). This will be done throughout a client’s recovery program and likely to be done more frequently at the beginning of the recovery program.

Our goal is to promote recovery without judgment, and trust is important to Dr. Lalonde and the entire Blue Willow team. Even so, we need to account for a client’s “pissed off” addiction center, which is why random UDSs are important. Urine drug screens allow providers involved in your recovery care to have a better understanding of which substances are in a client’s system, which in turn puts the Blue Willow team in a better position to manage recovery and make adjustments to a client’s care plan.

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