SUWS of the Carolinas is a therapeutic wilderness treatment center that focuses on short-term, high-impact clinical intervention and assessment for teens and adolescents, ages 10 to 17, who are struggling with a range alcohol abuse issues. At our wilderness treatment center, we provide four different treatment tracks (Approach, Phoenix Outdoor, Seasons, and SUWS), which are designed to meet the distinct needs of all of our students, including those who are battling alcohol abuse problems.
Phoenix Outdoor at SUWS of the Carolinas is designed to help adolescents who are struggling with alcohol addiction & abuse. It is the goal of Phoenix Outdoor to combine the power of the wilderness with multiple therapy approaches to help each student make meaningful and lasting positive changes in their lives.
An alcohol use disorder can cause a significant amount of impairment or distress in your son or daughter’s life. The cravings for alcohol are often so strong that a young person will continue to drink despite the development of physical, psychological, social, or interpersonal problems. At our leading wilderness center serving troubled teens, we have an exceptional staff that has had years of experience in treating adolescents who are struggling with alcohol abuse issues. We use a number of effective therapeutic methods to positively engage your child, helping him or her to recognize his or her inner strength and lay the foundation for a brighter future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member with the Treatment Process
Having a child who has an alcohol abuse problem can be a complicated issue to deal with, but it is imperative that you address the problem as soon as possible before things get worse. If you are unsure how to go about helping your son or daughter, there are a number of resources available, including your family physician who can point you in the right direction. Below are some tips that may help you get started:
- Learn everything you can you can about alcohol abuse and addiction. There are many resources available that can provide you will helpful information.
- Talk to your child about your concerns and encourage his to open up to you about any specific concerns or issues he or she may be facing. You should also speak to your child about the recovery process before taking him or her to a treatment center.
- Once your child is receiving treatment be sure to remain involved in the recovery process.
Below are some things that you do not want to do:
- Do not lecture, threaten, or bribe your child
- Do not lie or make excuses for your child’s behavior
- Try not to guilt your child
- Do not feel guilty or responsible for your child’s behavior
- Do not drink with your child
Why Consider Treatment at SUWS of the Carolinas
Right now you may be asking yourself, “does my son or daughter have an addiction to alcohol?”
A teen or adolescent who uses and abuses alcohol is most likely going to be struggling with a number of functional impairments in all major areas of his or her life. Alcohol addiction contributes to an overall decline in academic performance, which could be attributed to multiple days of skipping class or a general lack of involvement in school work. Repeated consumption of alcohol can damage practically every organ in a young person’s body, particularly the cardiovascular system as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems, which can lead to multiple health complications. Furthermore, continuous alcohol abuse can place your son or daughter at an increased risk for suicidal behavior, which may be associated with disinhibition and feelings of sadness that are often brought on by alcohol consumption.
Types of Treatment Offered at SUWS of the Carolinas
In the Phoenix Outdoor track at our treatment center, the wilderness is the forefront of treatment and the 12-step structure is infused into the daily activities of its students. The 12-step therapy approach puts many tools in a student’s toolbox along with motivational enhancement, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, neuro- feedback and supplemental activities such as equine assisted therapy, yoga, mindfulness and meditation practices.
Recovery Support provides a guide for translating daily wilderness skills at SUWS into a 12-step recovery process so that when they leave our treatment center, students have already been forming the habits of a 12-step lifestyle. By addressing the concepts embedded in the 12-steps through didactic instruction, time for reflection, opportunities to translate the steps into physical activity, and coaching of daily habits, a culture of support, positivity, and vulnerability are fostered among students in the Phoenix program. Ultimately, students are given the opportunity to practice the 12-steps and how they will be implemented outside of SUWS so they can envision how they can take the steps and run with them!
Throughout this treatment process, our staff provides guidance and helps students see a solution to their internal and external struggles through the framework of the 12-step therapy approach. We have found that students in the Phoenix Outdoor track are easily able to attach meaning to the activities and structure they encounter, which enables them to use those metaphors as powerful tools of introspection and guidance. Some of the therapeutic activities offered through the Phoenix Outdoor track, for the treatment of alcohol abuse, include:
Medication management: There is no medication available that is designed to treat alcohol abuse; however, if your child is struggling with a co-occurring disorder he or she may be prescribed medication to control the presence of any distressing symptoms. All medication use during treatment will be a combined decision between you and your child’s psychiatrist, with whom your child will meet on an as-needed basis. Our psychiatrist is available to meet with students at base camp every other week in the fall, winter, and spring, and every week in the summer. Additionally, we have a registered nurse on staff and all of our field staff are trained in medication administration.
Individual therapy: Each student in our Phoenix Outdoor track receives individual counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional on a regular basis. Through individual therapy your child can work through any emotional issues he or she may be struggling with and can continue to work on the skills needed to remain sober.
Group therapy: Group therapy in the Phoenix Outdoor track at our wilderness treatment center focuses on alcohol abuse topics and the 12-step model for recovery. Possible group topics may include relapse prevention, anger management, and social skills development.
Family therapy: Throughout the duration of a student’s stay at our treatment center, parents will participate in weekly calls with a therapist who will update them on their child’s progress and treatment status. Because we firmly believe that family members should also be making positive changes in their lives, we also provide a two-day family workshop for parents, which is designed to foster awareness of their own behaviors. We also offer a 10-week series of webinar classes where parents can learn more about wilderness therapy, alcohol abuse, and the recovery process.
Experiential therapy: In addition to traditional therapy methods, SUWS of the Carolinas offers a number of experiential therapies to provide our students with well-rounded recovery. Some of the therapies offered to our students include:
- 12-step meetings
- Therapeutic drumming
- Equine therapy
- Ropes courses
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
Upon completion of the Phoenix Outdoor track here at SUWS of the Carolinas, each student will participate in a three day graduation process, during which he or she will be reunited with family members for final closing sessions before returning home. During the graduation process parents will spend a night in the wilderness with their child, where they will begin to establish new behavior patterns. On the final day, a ceremony honoring the accomplishments of each graduate will be held prior to their departure.
As part of the ttherapy process at SUWS of the Carolinas, we provide each student and his or her family with transitional planning to help determine the most appropriate placement upon graduation from our program. SUWS therapists will coordinate aftercare planning with parents, referring professionals, and the family transition specialist as needed. Our therapists and other mental health professionals work diligently to make the transition to the next phase of treatment is as smooth as possible.
Phoenix Outdoor not only helps treat pressing psychological and behavioral issues, but also provides care for adolescents and teens who are struggling with substance abuse concerns, like alcohol abuse. Each one of our staff members is determined to help each student who comes to us overcome his or her presenting issues and achieve a happier, healthy life.