Salute to Recovery | Specialized Veteran Addiction Treatment

Salute To Recovery: Rehab Programs for Veterans 

Salute to recovery provides a path to recover from substance use addiction & mental disorder. Know the eligibility requirements and treatments offered.


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Substance use disorders among veterans represent a major public health concern with an estimated one in fifteen veterans struggling with addiction. Beyond just addiction, the scope of suffering and death due to substance use in the veteran population leaves much to be addressed. Deaths from suicide as a result of alcohol and drug abuse are higher in veterans compared to non-veterans. Since 2003, there were 45% more suicide attempts by veterans suffering from substance use disorders (SUDs) and 20% of high-risk behavior deaths were directly linked to substance overdoses.1, 2

Since veterans are at a higher risk of suffering from a range of medical and psychological issues, such as PTSD and depression, the risk factors for the development of an SUD are even higher among these struggling individuals. A study conducted on the behalf of the U.S. Government shows that almost 13.5% of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, which can significantly increase their risk of developing a SUD.3, 4

Luckily, there are ways for struggling veterans to get the help they need. Salute to Recovery is one of the specialized programs created for veterans struggling with SUDs. This program is designed to help treatment-seeking veterans treat their SUD through evidence-based approaches.4

What Is the Salute To Recovery Program?

The Salute to Recovery program was established to help veterans struggling with substance abuse issues. At treatment centers available through Salute to Recovery, licensed clinicians create individualized care plans to address each veteran’s unique needs. This comprehensive approach includes identifying the root causes of their SUD while addressing any underlying mental health conditions the veterans may face.5

The veteran-focused treatment program offers an array of evidence-based approaches to supporting veterans facing substance abuse problems. These modalities may utilize individual and group therapy, music therapy, trauma groups, relapse prevention support, and emotion regulation training.5

The potential effectiveness of treatment methods available throughout the Salute to Recovery program lies in their ability to successfully address the stress and isolation many veterans feel after exiting the military. By spending time in a supportive environment that understands their background, some of the struggling veterans may be able to confront their issues openly and cope with the demands of civilian life more effectively.5, 6

Who Is Eligible For Salute To Recovery Programs?

Salute To Recovery programs may provide meaningful and productive ways to help America’s veterans, first responders and their families. In order to specifically identify individuals who will be eligible for these services, there are certain criteria that must be met.5

First and foremost, those who have honorably served in the United States military, including retired service members and veterans, are eligible. First responders such as firefighters, police officers, law enforcement officers, dispatchers, and more also qualify for enrollment in these programs if they meet specific standards of eligibility. Ultimately, Salute To Recovery is committed to offering valuable programs to as many of our civil servants as possible so that they can access the support they need.5

The courage and strength of individuals in military service and emergency response places a difficult burden on them. Unfortunately, the stressors of the job often lead to substance abuse as a way of self-medication. Those same people who have dedicated their lives to serving our country and communities deserve all the resources necessary for them to conquer their substance abuse, rather than allowing it to rule their lives. Rehabilitation and treatment options are available to provide specialized care tailored to the unique needs of those who have served in times of war or public emergencies.6, 7

What Do We Learn During The Salute To Recovery Program?

With Salute to Recovery, treatment-seeking veterans may learn how to create a solid foundation of recovery and build resiliency in order to live a life without addiction. Participants may also receive education on topics like stress management, relapse prevention, and healthy communication skills. During the program there are various activities, educational lectures, and guided conversations, all designed to help equip veterans with the tools they need to maintain lasting sobriety after completing the rehab process.4

The focus points of the program include:4, 5

  • First Responder And Military Culture: The unique culture of the first responder and military communities puts its members at a particularly high risk for substance addiction. There is a core emphasis in the culture on ‘enduring any hardship’ and facing adversity head on. This requirement to ‘tough it out’ often works against seeking help or advice, resulting in feelings such as stigma, guilt and shame, potentially further pushing individuals towards substance abuse as their only outlet.
  • Family And Relationships: Addiction can cause an array of issues in familial dynamics, ranging from communication breakdowns to outright distrust between family members. Treatment-seeking veterans and their family or partner can learn how to communicate, resolve conflicts and set boundaries with one another.
  • The Hypervigilant Rollercoaster: For veterans struggling to readjust to civilian life, constant anxiety and internal struggles often drive them into a relentless cycle of hypervigilance. This agitated state can cause them to rapidly oscillate between alertness and relaxation, which leaves them mentally exhausted, further fueling the need for chemicals that may help facilitate some sort of escape. The Salute to Recovery program works to educate the veterans on this topic and help them break the cycle.
  • Character And Values: Incorporated into the program are carefully crafted activities specifically designed to help participants develop or rediscover character and values that will promote long-term sobriety. These activities may also empower treatment-seeking veterans to assess themselves, identify their strengths, and develop a personalized plan of action.
  • Impact of Stress: Salute to Recovery also offers educational opportunities and resources to help educate veterans on the health effects associated with addictions. This includes teaching participants about the impact of stress associated with traumatic events, as well as how to identify signs of that stress and cope with its symptoms.
  • Post-traumatic Responses: This program provides support and understanding during a sensitive time, equipping veterans with the knowledge they need to recognise and better manage their response to trauma. It covers a range of topics, such as grief counseling, strategies for dealing with survivor guilt and techniques used to achieve post-traumatic growth.

What Are the Treatments Offered?

The Salute to Recovery program offers an additional level of specialized care not typically found in mainstream addiction recovery centers, allowing struggling veterans the opportunity to heal from the unique circumstances they face due to their service. The program typically consists of a variety of different elements that are combined and used according to the struggling individual’s needs. Some of the most common elements include:5

Medical Detox 

The first step in any recovery process is usually monitored medical detoxification. Medical detox helps ease withdrawal symptoms and makes sure struggling individuals remain comfortable while their bodies adjust to life without drugs or alcohol. It’s important to note that this process should only be done under supervision of professionals who can provide personalized care and support.5

Trauma Groups 

Trauma groups are one of the most potentially powerful tools provided by the Salute to Recovery program. In these groups, veterans can share their experiences and gain insight into how trauma may be affecting their lives and their ability to cope with addiction. They also provide a safe space for veterans to explore their feelings about their service experience, build relationships with other members of the group, and learn new ways of facing life’s challenges without depending on drugs or alcohol.5, 6

12-step Programs 

Twelve-step programs may also be part of the Salute to Recovery program. These programs provide support and guidance for those seeking long-term recovery from addiction by creating an environment where members can share stories and advice about overcoming their struggles with addiction. They also provide accountability within the group as members hold each other accountable for staying sober and working towards achieving long-term sobriety goals set forth by the group leader/facilitator.7, 8

Relapse Prevention 

Salute to Recovery may provide relapse prevention classes that teach participants how to recognize signs that they may be at risk of relapse and how they can prevent it from occurring. These classes focus on improving interpersonal skills, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, coping mechanisms, and overall self-esteem in order for participants to effectively manage triggers that could lead them back down the path of addiction.5, 8

Anger Management 

Veterans may struggle with anger management due to their service-related trauma, often as a result of a dual diagnosis of PTSD and SUD. This can lead to explosive outbursts that place them at risk of self-harm or harm to others. The Salute to Recovery program offers anger management services that teach veterans healthy coping strategies so they can better control their emotions and resolve conflicts in constructive ways. These strategies may include relaxation techniques, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and more.5

Addressing Grief and Loss 

Some struggling veterans may feel overwhelmed by grief and loss after being discharged from service due to a variety of reasons, ranging from health issues to deployment trauma. The Salute to Recovery program provides therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which helps individuals process their feelings of grief and loss in healthy ways so they can move forward with their lives without feeling weighed down by these emotions.5, 8

Family and Couples Counseling 

The effects of addiction can have a ripple effect on family members and loved ones, which is why family counseling is an important part of the Salute to Recovery program. Family counseling may help loved ones begin their healing process by providing them with tools they need to find closure and restore relationships that may have been damaged due to addiction-related issues.5, 8

Additionally, couples counseling is available for those who are in relationships with veterans suffering from addiction. This type of counseling helps couples identify potential underlying issues that may be contributing to addictive behavior so that they can work together towards a healthier relationship dynamic.5, 8

Music Therapy 

Music therapy is another component of the Salute to Recovery program. Music has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, including reducing stress levels and helping struggling individuals manage difficult emotions. Music also helps create a sense of community among participants as they work together towards achieving sobriety. Music therapy sessions may allow participants to express themselves through music while connecting with others who have had similar experiences.5

How Do You Find Rehab Facilities Near You That Offer The Salute To Recovery Program?

If you or your loved one are considering getting help through the Salute to Recovery program, you can easily reach out and apply for treatment in a number of different ways. One way to find a treatment center that offers the Salute to Recovery program is to use a rehab locator by SAMHSA. This locator is an anonymous way to take a look at the available options.8

Treatment-seeking veterans can also contact American Addiction Centers (AAC). As a state-wide network of rehabilitation centers, AAC can help treatment-seeking individuals locate an appropriate facility that offers the Salute to Recovery program and matches the struggling individual’s requirements and help the struggling individual with the admission process.5

For additional information, you or your loved one may feel free to reach out to a 24/7 helpline where a member of a trained admissions team from AAC can help you access the help you need and answer any questions you may have. From local detox centers to residential facilities, navigators at AAC can help treatment-seeking individuals find the appropriate option. 

The navigator can also help struggling individuals understand the insurance requirements for addiction treatment and help them verify their coverage with the provider. Some struggling veterans may be covered by the TriWest policy, while others may be covered by TRICARE. Coverage may vary from one individual to another, which is why it’s important to check it in advance.



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