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Outdoor Adventure Recovery Program Marking Ninth Year with Increased Accessibility

Back2Basics is an addiction recovery program that has created a recipe for success by mixing residential living, counseling and outdoor adventure. But, until recently, there were limits as to whom it could serve. Founder Roy DuPrez has learned a six-month buffet of treatment is necessary for addicts to acquire a taste for sobriety, but a steady diet of support can be expensive, and health insurance companies weren’t generally picking up the tab.

“Historically, our program has been a private-pay-only option for treatment. Most insurance companies weren’t willing to reimburse these models. But with the Affordable Care Act, insurance providers have been able to set up options in my industry and get more outside the box,” said DuPrez. “With accreditation and national recognition for the level and type of services we’re offering, we can access that demographic that previously couldn’t afford this type of support.”

DuPrez has been in the addiction recovery industry for 20 years, and exposed to different rehabilitation programs for even longer. “It was common for insurance companies to reimburse costs for 30-day programs, but there’s a small window of success afterward and if there is no discharge plan or follow up, young adults are likely to go back to the same lifestyle and patterns.”

So, DuPrez is working on intensive outpatient offerings to make help more accessible. Back2Basics focuses on treating young men, ages 18 to 30, and experience has taught him that an ongoing connection to the recovery community is critical, as those struggling with addiction are at risk for relapsing into familiar unhealthy habits.

“It is so important that addicts have access to resources, as no one should have to create change on their own,” said Natalie, a Back2Basics therapist. “The most challenging aspect of this work is when people leave treatment without the skills necessary to navigate sobriety.”

DuPrez says Back2Basics has served hundreds of families, averaging six to 10 clients in the beginning years. Now, the program treats about 22 clients per year. “We’ve been bigger at times, but just because you’re serving more people, you’re not necessarily helping more people.”

He calls Back2Basics a boutique program, designed to offer a smaller, almost family-like setting for an individualized experience, rather than a clinical environment. And he has got files of proof that his menu for treatment works. There appears to be no shortage of letters from families and individuals claiming Back2Basics saved a life, despite years of attempts at recovery.

At 44 years old, DuPrez understands the challenges of beating the disease of addiction. “I genuinely feel like a testimony of what’s possible.”

Growing up in Venice Beach, California, he says drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs was a common part of the culture. He hit a plateau while going to school at Northern Arizona University. “I just had this epiphany that I needed to make a choice. I could continue on this path that was clearly destructive, or I could get help.”

DuPrez had watched others around him go through 12-step programs and he had been involved in different social work activities that he developed with friends for at-risk youth. “They involved an experiential component, more of a hands-on learning experience,” he said, a combination that worked for him as well, and which he adopted into his business.

In an industry where the success rate is not high, Back2Basics emphasizes “the bridge” between finding sobriety and living with sobriety. “Rather than, ‘Now you’re sober, go out there and figure it out,’ we have to slow it down, create smaller steps and celebrate benchmarks of success. We’re not trying to summit Yosemite’s Half Dome, but we might hike eight to 12 miles and summit 3,000 feet. On a daily basis, we’re exposing these young adults to successes they never experienced before.”

The Back2Basics approach is to build up confidence. DuPrez says clients buy into recovery because it feels good. “They’re not feeling defeated because they’ve taken on too much too soon.”

“One of the harsh realities of this recovery thing is that not everybody makes it,” said Back2Basics alumnus and outdoor guide, Aaron. “Getting the clients into the outdoors in Northern Arizona can not only be spiritually healing but also help build confidence for those who have struggled with low self-esteem and a lack of accomplishment. Mother Nature runs the show out there and this can be a unique lesson in acceptance for our clients.”

“I’m so grateful we’ve been able to maintain and sustain the business in this industry,” said DuPrez. “I was really naïve when I opened Back2Basics, as far as not knowing what it takes to stay open. There was a lot of unanticipated growth – both as an individual and as a business – and I feel like we’re hitting our stride now. Our seasoned staff members have been with each other for years and it’s not such a guessing game anymore.”

Mirroring his Back2Basics philosophy, DuPrez’s successes continue to build his appetite for more, as he approaches the next decade with a hunger to introduce more people to healthy living. FBN

By Bonnie Stevens, FBN

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