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Driver Safety Plan

So you’ve been convicted of an OWI Offense. Now what?

An OWI conviction is a serious offense that carries with it severe ramifications. Failure to comply with court orders, including an alcohol assessment and substance abuse counseling, can result in financial penalties, revocation of driving privileges, and possibly further incarceration. Beyond the judicial consequences, an OWI conviction may be a sign of underlying issues such as drug and alcohol addiction. Connections Counseling helps our clients overcome substance abuse issues and facilitate the fulfillment of their legal obligations that are the result of an OWI conviction, including a Driver Safety Plan and Individualized Treatment Plan. Driver Safety Plan and AODA Assessment An OWI conviction in Wisconsin typically requires offenders to complete an Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment (AODA) and a Driver Safety Plan. As a Wisconsin DOT approved Driver Safety Plan provider, Connections Counseling helps clients navigate this process and complete mandatory treatment. The Road To Recovery: Completing Your Individualized Treatment Plan Upon completing an assessment at a designated assessment facility (for Dane County residents, Journey Mental Health Center fills this role) you are provided two forms:
  • Individualized Treatment Plan
  • Order for Assessment and Driver Safety Plan Report
Bring these two forms with you during your intake appointment at Connections Counseling. During your intake appointment, we will gather information from you and assess the level of care and services required to reach a successful outcome. Your Individualized Treatment Plan In order for you to successfully complete the Driver Safety Plan, it’s critical for clients to be aware of what is being asked of them. At Connections Counseling, we make sure our clients are included in the decision making process by:
  • Completing the Individualized Treat Plan together
  • Encouraging clients to state the goals they wish to achieve from their program
  • Providing clients the opportunity to express their needs and wants as part of their treatment plan
Once completed, your primary therapist at Connections Counseling will mail your Individualized Treatment Plan back to the referring designated assessment facility. How Long Does Treatment Last? Because we approach treatment on an individual basis, the length of a treatment program varies depending on the person and their situation. A typical Driver Safety Plan requires anywhere from 1-12 months of treatment, in addition to reaching a period of sobriety from all substances. Services Available Services we offer to those completing a Driver Safety Plan include:
  • Individual sessions
  • Substance use support groups
  • Intensive Outpatient (IOP) group
  • Mental health groups (i.e. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Seeking Safety, meditation, etc.)
  • Psychoeducation surrounding addiction
Upon successfully completing their Driver Safety Plan, clients receive a copy of their completed Individualized Treatment Plan. Your primary therapist will then reach out to the referring facility to notify them of your successful completion. Connections Counseling is committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for clients where they can reflect on their relationship with substances. If you are interested in completing your Driver Safety Plan through Connections Counseling contact our staff at (608)-233-2100 or

MARI pre-arrest diversion graduates first individuals

Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative (MARI) celebrated the first successful program completion with five individuals at a ceremony Friday March 16, 2018.  The MARI program is focused on jump starting treatment for opiate offenders.  Participants and family members specifically identified the peer recovery coach component of this program as contributing to their personal success in completion.  Madison Police Chief Koval spoke regarding his strong support for programs that provide a pathway to treatment and recovery rather than incarceration. Program coordinator Joseph Balles commented on the close cooperation between community partners Madison Police Dept, Dane County Human Services, Madison Health Dept, Safe Communities, UW Family Medicine and Connections Counseling.  More at Madison Police Department blog here.

Recovering from Gambling Addiction

MADISON, Wis. - NCAA tournament play is underway, and even though sports gambling isn't legal, millions of Americans routinely bet money on college basketball games this time of year...   It can be extraordinarily difficult for people like Brian, a Madison-native, who's currently in treatment at Connections Counseling in town. Brian battled substance abuse and gambling addictions for 25 years. He is now more than a year sober, but says every day is still a struggle.  Full story from WISC TV3 here.

Opioid deferred prosecution program seeing success

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison police are seeing a good response to a new program that aims to treat, not punish, drug addicts who commit crimes. Police started the Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative (MARI) on September 1. It allows people who would otherwise be arrested for low-level drug-related crimes to avoid being charged, if they promise to get treatment for at least six months. Officer Dan Swanson says the department started the program with grant funding, in an effort to save lives. "We're seeing heroin overdoses and deaths from overdoses just skyrocket statistically. What we're doing currently isn't enough," Swanson told 27 News. So far this year, there have already been 200 heroin-related overdoses in Madison. Police say 20 of those people died, which is an increase of 350 percent over last year. In the first two months, officers have referred nearly 30 people to MARI. Almost half have started treatment through Connections Counseling in Madison. Full story and WKOW video here.

Connections hosts EMDR training April 2018

Connections Counseling will host EMDR training by The Personal Transformation Institute in April 6-8 and May 4-6, 2018 in Madison WI.  Participants have access to a member’s section of the web site where they can view all 6 days of training as well as EMDR demonstration videos for a full year after the training.  This series will offer:
  • A Seamless progress toward EMDRIA Certification
  • Advanced training toward becoming an Approved Consultant and even a PTI trainer.
  • Support through Email and Social Media
  • Access to training videos and documents
  • Training fee 1499.00/1399.00 early registration
  • Group discounts for 4 or more
  • Fee includes all 6 days of training and the required 10 hours of consultation.
This is both part 1 and part 2 of the basic training. Location is Connections Corner, 659 N Whitney Way, Madison WI 53705 (corner of Whitney Way and University Ave)  

StraightForward: The truth about addiction

The Truth About Addiction is a 2017 documentary by WisconsinEye featuring in-depth interviews with young Wisconsinites including several Connections mentors fighting to recover their lives and futures from addictions that, in most cases, involved opioids. WisconsinEye produced the documentary to be used in middle and high schools in Wisconsin, with related curriculum and discussion guides.

Recovery Foundation covered by News3

Channel3000 / Neil Heinen:  MADISON, Wis. - We continue our weeklong promotion of October events with your reminder that next Monday, Oct. 9, is the annual Recovery Foundation Voices for Recovery Luncheon. Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is hard. We do a lot of talking about drug and alcohol problems and we devote a lot of resources — if not enough — to treatment. But the actual, everyday work of recover requires personal commitment and lots of support. And that's the work the Recovery Foundation does. The Recovery Foundation provides financial assistance for outpatient Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse treatment, public outreach, education and advocacy.  Its work is research-based, supporter by passionate volunteers, and it works. With partner Connections Counseling, Recovery Foundation is co-sponsoring next week's luncheon, The Power of Mentorship, Together We Recover. It's a big deal. The crowd is diverse and influential in the field, and the stories are powerful and inspirational. You can register at

MARI arrest diversion program active

Wisconsin State Journal, 9 Oct 2017:  A program in Madison to keep heroin addicts out of jail, and instead find them help, has started to take on its first participants.
The initiative lets Madison police officers refer people committing crimes related to substance abuse to an addiction treatment clinic. The clinic then assesses the person’s needs and determines what type of care could work for them. Early last month, officers began steering participants to the program.
Known as the Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative, the program provides assistance in navigating a sometimes difficult process of getting into treatment. It is funded by a $700,000 federal grant and expected to last three years.  More...