Back2Basic’s Outdoor Adventure Therapy is a residential substance abuse treatment community for young men between the ages of 18 and 30 based in Flagstaff, Arizona. Clients enrolled in this unique program spend half the week participating in treatment activities in Flagstaff and the other half on outdoor adventures—such as backpacking, river rafting and surfing—designed to build life skills and self-esteem. Upon completion of six months of treatment, B2B clients may apply for “Beyond the Basics”; its affiliated sober living residence that supports men in achieving professional and educational goals.
B2B was founded by Roy J. DuPrez who holds a Masters of Education in Counseling. Having spent 15 years in treatment during early adolescence and young adulthood, DuPrez learned that most programs for young people lack the exposure to activities and specific life skills training tailored for building young men’s self-esteem. In 2010, he opened B2B, endeavoring to give young people in need of recovery a strong foundation of confidence, autonomy and independence.
Accommodations and Food
B2B occupies three residential homes in a leafy suburban neighborhood in Southwest Flagstaff, just one mile outside of downtown. Each residence accommodates six clients in three double-occupancy bedrooms. The homes are craftsman in style and feature modern décor with newly renovated kitchens and landscaped exteriors.
A cornerstone of treatment at B2B is its Culinary Program. Residents work with the program’s director to learn menu planning, shopping/budgeting skills and food preparation. They also learn kitchen techniques and work in teams to prepare the house meals. DuPrez believes that mindful food preparation is a life skill often overlooked in treatment. Through the Culinary Program, residents learn the self-sufficiency and team-building skills that their addiction-driven lifestyles have prevented them from developing.
Treatment and Staff
B2B is a six-month program, but the facility lets each resident commit one month at a time. Most clients not only complete the six months, but also choose to apply for the Beyond the Basics sober living program to extend their immersion in the recovery fellowship.
While at the Flagstaff facility four days each week, residents participate in traditional treatment—attending group and individual therapy daily. In addition to evidence-based practices such as DBT and CBT, treatment at B2B incorporates the 12-step framework. Residents are transported to community AA/NA meetings each treatment day and assemble for daily meetings while on outdoor expeditions as well.
While in Flagstaff, lights are out at 11 pm and residents must wake up by 7 am. They have rotating house chores and on outdoor trips, the chores—such as meal planning and preparation, finding water and fire wood and cleaning the site—are assigned to maintain consistency in discipline training.
Therapists at B2B are all Master’s-level with private practices in the Flagstaff area. Each staff member has been hand-picked by DuPrez for their effectiveness in treating young men in recovery. Instead of designated group therapy topics, the treatment team meets daily and reviews the events and needs of current residents and then decides on a plan responsive to the group’s current needs.
The treatment team at B2B is made of therapists with addiction counseling credentials including Masters of Social Work (MSWs), LCSWs, LISACs and a psychologist. A psychiatrist is on call and the facility is a short distance from Flagstaff Medical Center. A staff member is on-site overnight to deal with any emergencies. The clinicians at B2B are equipped to treat dual diagnosis, but potential clients with serious mental health conditions are not an ideal fit for this program.
When residents are on outdoor expeditions, they are divided into two groups, each supervised by two staff members with relevant training—such as EMTs and outdoor guides. Upon transitioning from expeditions to in-city treatment (and vice versa), the staff has a ‘debriefing’ meeting so that both teams can be apprised of the current needs and developments within the group.
In addition to the Culinary Program, B2B offers a Writing Program to help residents learn how to process emotions and cultivate healthy self-expression. Residents are not allowed phones or computers while in enrolled, but they are encouraged to journal and write letters to friends, family and loved ones. They can phone home and use the house computer under supervision.
While in town, members have access to the Flagstaff Athletic Club. After two months of treatment, a resident’s family is invited to visit and attend workshops. During the fifth month of treatment, the family is invited again—this time to attend a workshop that emphasizes how loved ones can help clients reintegrate back into the family and life following completion of treatment.
Service work is an important component of treatment at B2B, so residents regularly invest time into a significant project in the community—such as on-going volunteer work at the local food bank or a wilderness cleanup.
Clients who step down to the sober living program—Beyond the Basics—live in two neighboring homes with 10 to 12 clients accommodated at a time. While enrolled, clients continue attending group and individual counseling, though their focus is now to obtain employment and achieve educational goals. The staff works closely with each resident on building his resume and interview skills and the facility has close relationships with many local employers, vocational training programs, colleges and universities.
Back2Basics is an immersive and unique treatment experience that provides addiction treatment to adolescent boys and young men with a combination of evidence-based therapies and a thorough immersion into the 12-step framework. Through its weekly outdoor adventures, residents are taught life skills and accountability and are given the chance to build self-esteem through performing tasks that challenge their physical and mental limitations.
Whether through the Culinary Program, community service, outdoor expeditions, writing classes or in daily therapy and 12-step meetings, B2B endeavors to help young men “get outside of themselves” and heal their addiction by successfully engaging in the world around them.
The clinical team at B2B endorses the belief that “discharge begins at admittance,” and as such it works closely with each resident and his family to lay a foundation for success beyond the program. Clients work closely with staff to set long-term goals and to identify the best therapeutic methods and practices for his next steps.
Back2Basics Outdoor Adventure Therapy
1600 W. University Ave, Ste. 109
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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Photos courtesy of Back2Basics Outdoor Adventure Therapy (resized and cropped)