The Phoenix Outdoor: Teen & Adolescent Drug Addiction Treatment Program

We remain open and are continuing to accept new admissions.

SUWS of the Carolinas remains committed to providing clinically superior services within a safe and supportive environment while taking all appropriate precautions to protect the well-being of our students and staff.


For admissions information, or to learn more about the heightened preventive measures we have put in place, please click the link at the top of this page or call us at (828) 489-3198.

Phoenix Outdoor is a program designed to help treat teens between the ages of 14-17 struggling with substance abuse issues as well as co-occurring psychological and behavioral issues.

Common Issues Treated

Common Issues Treated

Our highly trained and qualified staff can help bring about positive growth in teens that are dealing with problems including the following:

  • Drug Addiction & Substance Abuse
  • Defiant behavior
  • Family conflict
  • Depression
  • Negative peer relationships
  • School failure
  • Anxiety
  • Entitlement issues
  • Low self-esteem
  • Attention deficit
  • Anger issues
12 Step-Based Recovery

12 Step-Based Recovery for Teen Substance Abuse

At SUWS, our students are introduced to 12-Step addiction recovery programming because it is time-tested, established, and provides a widely available source of peer support. Our Phoenix Outdoor program embraces 12-Step philosophy, particularly that of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), to support our students on their paths toward successful recovery.

When students leave Phoenix Outdoor, their future success will depend largely on their connection with supportive peers who value recovery. They will most likely find these peers in an AA setting, especially young people’s AA, when they arrive back home. Through their introduction to AA at SUWS, which has evolved to address chemical addictions of all kinds, they will feel more comfortable reaching out to 12-Step fellowship in their community. In addition, the 12-Step path complements our other therapeutic treatment modalities of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as our focus on healthy relationships.

Program Curriculum

Program Curriculum

When considering the 12-steps, steps 1 through 3 emphasize SELF-ACCEPTANCE and the decision to take action for self.  This occurs for a Phoenix student through acceptance of being in an unfamiliar environment, personal contemplation and reflection in a tranquil environment, and journaling.  Students are accepted into the Phoenix culture by other members of the group and staff that help minimize feelings of loss that may be experienced upon arrival. Steps 4 through 9 in the 12-step tradition relate to COURAGE. One faces the causes and conditions that triggered the drug abuse and recognizes resulting negative behaviors.  For the Phoenix student, he learns “hard” wilderness skills such as making fire, building traps and hiking. He deals with the difficult emotions that arise during these tasks (e.g. frustration, anger, sadness), comes to terms with his past, makes amends, takes ownership of his behaviors, and character development begins. He becomes a member of his community and group. Steps 10 through 12 incorporate WISDOM.  Here one starts to incorporate habits developed and prepares for how they will be carried to outside lives. The 12-step principle of Giving Back is a focus. The Phoenix student is becoming a leader of his group, is mentoring new members of the community, and is facilitating evening meetings and daily activities with field instructors. He continues to build character and focuses on service to others.

Why Choose Us

Why Choose our Wilderness Programming

Phoenix students celebrate milestones of sobriety through ceremony including their graduation from the teen drug treatment program. At this point the groundwork has been laid by building familiarity with the principles of the 12-step model, its language and traditions. Students will carry these skills to support their own self- efficacy and to sustain recovery.

We invite you to learn more about the Phoenix Outdoor drug & alcohol addiction treatment program for teens by exploring our site and uncovering what makes us unique:

I went into this program scared out of my mind. At SUWS, I learned the tools I needed to work through my issues and I'm forever grateful.

– Anonymous Patient
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Cognia
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Forest Service Department of Agriculture
  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council
  • Safe Zone
  • Sky's The Limit Fund
  • The Jason Foundation

Looking to apply for one of our open positions?

Apply Here