Taking a Different Road to Recovery – AFR’s Unique Approach to Rehabilitation
With an individualized, multiple-modality program, A Forever Recovery has a different view of treatment for substance abuse
If you take a look around the grounds and in the hallways of A Forever Recovery, you will find a very diverse group of people. Each patient is a unique individual, with a different background and a different story to tell. The journey that brought them to our door seeking help in overcoming addiction was their own, and no two patients got to their breaking point in the same way. Likewise, their journey through the recovery process will also be very different from the next person. These differences are what our rehabilitation program is based on, taking into account the distinctive characteristics of every patient that we treat.
The AFR model of substance abuse treatment came to be after founder Per Wickstrom, who had struggled with his own addiction issues for many years with several unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation, realized what was missing from the programs that he had tried. He sat down with several addiction treatment specialists to develop a program that encompassed several different options instead of the single-modality “cookie cutter” rehabilitation strategies that he had seen. The patients at AFR, with the guidance of their case manager and counselor, discuss the options available to them and decide on the direction that their path to recovery from addiction will take. The idea is that, since each patient will respond differently to different methods of treatment, they are able to find what works best for them. Additionally, since our program is based on results rather than any time frame, our patients are free to change direction if it feels like something isn’t working.
A Forever Recovery has a core program known as Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT), which was developed in 1985 by Dr. Gregory Little and Dr. Kenneth Robinson as a long-term cognitive behavioral treatment. Initially focusing on changing the criminal thought processes of convicted felons, we have adapted the MRT approach to concentrate on addressing the causes of a patient’s addiction. AFR is the first inpatient residential treatment center to utilize an intensive MRT program, which encourages our patients to take a more active approach in their own recovery, to discover what it is they are fighting or hiding from.
In addition to the MRT program, we also offer several different pathways, or “tracks”, to spiritual discovery or reconnection. When it comes to spirituality, we do not speak of any particular religion or belief system, and we do not expect any patient to adhere to any spirituality that they are not comfortable with. From the Christian Faith-Based Track, to the Holistic Track, which features Eastern Philosophies and meditation practices, and even to the Indigenous Track, which utilizes various spiritual aspects of traditional Native American beliefs, we have a spiritual program that will fit any person’s needs.
The Christian Faith–Based Track includes guided Bible studies, opportunities to participate in off-site religious services, and the Celebrate Recovery® program. Celebrate Recovery® is an alternative to traditional 12-Step programs, using eight Recovery Principles that are derived directly from the Sermon on the Mount. Marie Hartman, a counselor at AFR, also facilitates the Christian-Faith Based Spiritual Track in the evenings. “It provides a space to be open,” she explains about the Celebrate Recovery® program. “We are changing lives by providing the opportunity. The Holy Spirit within us does the work, we just provide listening ears and we get to share some of how Christ has impacted our lives. It’s wonderful to see them grow and blossom, to be able to open up and praise and worship the Lord together. Celebrate Recovery® offers that.”
Another spiritual track that is extremely popular with the patients at AFR is the Indigenous Track. This track option is based on a book titled “The Red Road to Wellbriety”, which outlines a path to recovery based in Native American teachings that has been designed and adapted by White Bison, Inc. of Colorado Springs, CO. It focuses on helping the patient find their way to Mino Mikana, or “The Good Path”. John Tsabetsaye is the facilitator for the Indigenous Track. “Providing patients with alternative solutions is one of the most important things that we offer here,” John explains. “Giving them a diverse approach to their recovery helps them identify some of the things they might not have while focusing on just one modality. No matter where we come from, no matter how we approach our recovery, recovery is possible.”
In addition to the spiritual tracks that we offer, we also have many supplemental courses that build on the foundation of MRT, reinforcing the core concepts through practical applications. Not surprisingly, one of our best and most popular of these discussion-based groups is Music Therapy, where patients discover the different ways that music can be interpreted, and how it can relate to their lives, with a focus on their recovery. Case Manager Kat Maestas is also the facilitator for the Music Therapy groups. “It’s a lot different,” she explains, comparing Music Therapy with other discussion-based groups. “There’s an attachment there, there’s always somebody that can relate. It’s exciting to finally start to see some things click with people. They’re starting to pay more attention to what it is that they are bringing into their lives through music.”
While there are many more different tracks and courses that are offered at A Forever Recovery, there are simply too many program options to discuss here. Our program was developed as a result of our dedication to providing the best in substance abuse treatment that we possibly can, in consideration for every patient that we see at our rehabilitation center. With the freedom of choice that our patients have, they find a sense of confidence in themselves and in their personalized program, and an understanding of the level of personal responsibility that they hold in their recovery. Addiction knows no boundaries in respect to age, race, religious beliefs, or any other traits of an individual. Our program options show that regardless of who you are or where you come form, recovery is possible.