The SAY IT Program is designed for optimal cognitive fit for people in the early years of recovery from addiction.


We know that chronic substance use has negative impacts on cognitive function, particularly executive function. This can make it hard for newly recovering individuals to focus, stay organized, follow complex instructions, and gain insight into complex challenges.

The SAY IT Program implements these clinical suggestions published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2016 for effectively serving individuals who are regaining cognitive function.

Build life skills. The SAY IT Program teaches Students how to prepare for the difficult conversations that occur every day. Being able to persevere through an uncomfortable conversation and work with the other side to find solutions is a life skill that will benefit Students in every aspect of life.

Allow ample time to complete tasks. Students work through the SAY IT Program at their own pace. They can watch and review videos as many times as they choose. They set their own advocacy goal and follow guides to building their own strategies. These can be as simple or complex as the Student wants.

Check and recheck their work. Students can revisit any of their work in the SAY IT Program and can update it as many times as they choose. This gives Students a chance to process their learning on their own timetable and revise their advocacy strategy to incorporate new learning and insights.

Use memory and organization aids. Students can click on the SAY IT Program’s “Take Notes” function to jot down reminders or document information. They can collect resources in their Notes, such as links to important online information. Important documents can be scanned or photographed and attached to Notes, helping Students keep their records organized. Notes can be downloaded, printed, and shared.

Think and weigh pros and cons before taking action. The SAY IT Program guides Students through frameworks for thinking through their options. They learn how to analyze an issue from the other side’s perspective and how to turn opposition into collaboration. When Students move an issue from the emotional realm to the analytical realm, they engage their prefrontal cortex and reduce emotional discomfort, leading to better strategy and execution.

Develop routines for daily living. An often overlooked daily task is tracking down the information and working through the sticking points that can deter even the most determined person from completing a goal. The SAY IT Program offers a handpicked menu of online resources and links that help Students track down the information they need to work on their goals. If Students gets stuck in the program, the SAY IT Program encourages them to troubleshoot their own sticking points by accessing an “I’m Stuck” menu. And of course, there is a Leader who will be available to assist the Student upon request through the “I’m Stuck” page.

Ask for help when needed. The SAY IT Program videos and strategy guides emphasize the important ┬árole of Allies. Students add Allies’ contact information to their own profile and can contact them directly through the SAY IT Program Allies page. Building a diverse network of Allies helps Students avoid over reliance on helping professionals and increase their natural supports in the community.


Next: Self-Determination Theory is the foundation for the curriculum

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