Recovering from drugs and alcohol: Trails Phases program

20106704022 5c7c2f2623 z 282x300Drugs and alcohol can tear apart a teen’s hopes of future success and happiness. Knowing how to help your teen work through their addiction can feel like an overwhelming task. Many therapeutic programs claim to help teens work through their addiction to drugs and alcohol, but only a few actually help. Seven Challenges is an evidence-based program listed in the SAMHSA National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. It’s a proprietary approach that addresses all levels of alcohol and drug use- from experimentation to flow blown addiction.

Seven Steps

Trails Carolina utilizes some of the same principles as Seven Challenges in their Phases program. Here are seven steps that students at Trails take to overcome their substance abuse:
The Call to Adventure. The Call to Adventure is the imbalance in a teen’s life, whether that is the underlying issue causing substance abuse or the substance abuse itself, that caused the adventure to begin in the first place. During this step, teens open up and begin to speak honestly about drugs and alcohol. They begin to take a look at themselves as people and start asking tough questions.

Image source: Flickr user- Robin Wirt

Crossing the Threshold. When teens cross the threshold, they choose accept what their recovery process presents. They reflect on what they enjoyed so much about drugs and alcohol and the underlying issues causing them to use substances in the first place. During this phase, teens explore how to dig deeper into their emotions, and how to avoid future decisions and behaviors. Challenges and Choices. The choices teens make in response to challenges will expose a teen’s inner progress and growth. In this step, teens look at their use of drugs and alcohol and consider the harmful consequences of it. They take a hard look at their contributions to their family and society and think about how their choice to use or not use substances affects every aspect of their life.
Revelation. This step provides teens with a deeper understanding of themselves, where their recovery process will take them, and the actions they must change in order to change their lives for the better. During this step teens explore their own responsibility and the responsibility of others for their issues. Teens also begin to think about where they’re headed and where they want to go, as well as how to make it happen.
Transformation. In this step of the process, which includes steps 5 and 6, teens begin a personal transformation process that is beneficial to themselves and everyone they know. In this step, teens decide to make changes for the better and create a plan to prevent relapse into drugs and alcohol from occurring.
Mastering. As the last step in the journey towards healing, teens learn to master the art of daily interactions outside of Trails Carolina. In this step, teens give back to their community and maintain progress.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for young people ages 10-17, utilizes a therapeutic wilderness experience to help teens struggling with emotional and behavioral issues, such as abusing drugs and alcohol, anxiety and depression.
For more information about how Trails Carolina can help, please call 800-975-7303.

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Avatar of Jeremy Whitworth

Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.