What do Tai Chi, meditation, rafting down the Colorado River and hiking in the red rocks of Sedona all have in common? If you guessed the ultimate vacation package, guess again.
These activities are part of the program offered at a new 12-step recovery center, Back 2 Basics, recently opened in Flagstaff. This new sober-living community intends to take rehabilitation services a step further by providing a unique twist on conventional methods.
“We are not what would be considered the traditional treatment center,” said Roy DuPrez, director of operations for Back 2 Basics. “We are doing more concentrated hands-on activities like painting, trash pick- up, trips in the Grand Canyon, white-water rafting and serving meals at the food bank.” DuPrez says that by incorporating these types of practical activities into clients’ recovery, it allows them to gain inner satisfaction and know they are capable of doing something besides abusing drugs or alcohol.
The center is designed to treat younger adults who are 18 and older. By keeping their clientele within the same age range, Back 2 Basics addresses what DuPrez calls an obvious need for young-adult specific drug and alcohol abuse programs in Flagstaff.
“I see it as when you’re first getting sober, you feel like you’re terminally unique, like no one understands what it’s like to be in your shoes,” said DuPrez. “Well, that’s not necessarily the case once you start getting exposed to people who have similar backgrounds, similar stories, similar experiences.”
Melody Hicks, substance abuse coordinator at Northern Arizona University (NAU) is another proponent of expanding Flagstaff’s limited treatment choices. Hicks says that people often mistake NAU’s substance abuse program as in-patient rehabilitation, which it is not. “We [the NAU Substance Abuse program] really only see a small handful of at-risk youth,” said Hicks. “We then provide these students, who are look- ing for a more intensive recovery program, with all the options in town. So, if there is a new option that we can give to people, as far as I’m concerned that is a good thing.”
Back 2 Basics requires its residents to stay a minimum of six months. Adam McLean, director of marketing and admissions, explained the reasoning behind this time frame, “Back 2 Basics aims to be proactive, in that statistics go way up (for a successful recovery) once you’re past the 90-day mark. If the individual can stay in a supportive treatment environment for at least six to 18 months, he/she has a much better opportunity for long-term sobriety.”
The initial part of the Back 2 Basics pro- gram consists of a 10-week period where the recovering addicts will partake in a variety of out- door excursions, including hiking and camping trips in the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Flagstaff. “The outdoor component is set up to remove all worldly distractions and really get to the heart of their situation,” explained McLean.
After the preliminary 10 weeks, the participants spend the remainder of their time at Back 2 Basics in a residential “sober- living environment” where they are given a structured daily schedule. The schedule blends traditional therapy practices such as individual counseling and attendance of 12- Step meetings with some more innovative elements like Chinese healing arts and nutritious, whole food meal planning. Residents participate in daily exercise using facilities at the Flagstaff Athletic Club and incorporate community service projects by partnering with the Civic Service Institute at NAU.
Clients are encouraged to complete high school or their GED and to continue on with higher education opportunities through NAU and Coconino Community College. Along with furthering their academic careers, Back 2 Basics provides its clients with vocational training in the areas of carpentry, masonry, gardening, landscaping, green construction and sustainable living environments.
According to McLean, the vocational training comes into play once the addict gets out of treatment. Traditionally, a center will focus solely on a person getting clean, but once re- leased, the recovering addict is left to return to his or her old lifestyle with nothing to stand in the way of those destructive “triggers.” Back 2 Basics anticipates that by incorporating useful skills into residents’ lives, so that once they are out of the program and on their own, they will turn to the new-found skills and avoid destructive habits. Most importantly, they will be able to lead a happy, productive and sober life. FBN