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      Recovering from drugs and alcohol: Trails Phases program

      Drugs 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.

      drugs and alcohol

      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.



      Graham Shannonhouse

      A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13 Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.

      All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse