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Passages To Recovery

Wilderness Program

Passages To Recovery Program Information

Gender: Coeducational/gender specific
Ages: 18 and up
Grades: 6 to 12
Estimated Enrollment: 8 per group
Length of Stay:
Program was founded in: 2000
Accreditations: Affiliations:

Passages To Recovery Contact Information

30 South Main Street
P.O. Box 379
Loa, UT 84747
Phone: (866) 625-8809
Fax: (435) 836-2258
School Contact: Brandi Bradbury
Alternative Contact: Dori Them
Therapy Provided?: Yes

Program Description:

Passages To Recovery offers an innovative dual-diagnostic approach to the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse and dependency.  We are a primary care recovery program set in the Utah wilderness, specializing in helping young adults.  Our program has a flexible length of stay and is designed to be completed in 49 days.


who we are
Passages To Recovery is a recognized leader in the effort to treat young men by merging the 12 Step process with outdoor rite-of-passage experiences. By focusing on time-tested techniques and philosophies – while also embracing innovative methodologies that are applicable to our efforts – Passages remains a dynamic, highly responsive, and effective option for young men who are struggling to overcome their addictions and regain control over their lives.

Our clinical team is comprised of licensed master's level therapists who have been trained in motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and human patterning. Their clinical emphases and strengths complement the counseling and teaching efforts of our residential staff and field guides, creating a unified effort to bring clarity to our students' understanding of recovery and well-being. Our clinicians' expertise in addressing the underlying mental health problems that often co-occur with substance abuse and chemical dependency issues are the foundation upon which Passages To Recovery's success is based.

Our clinical team works with referring professionals throughout the nation, and many interventionists regard our program as exemplary and ideally suited to their clients. Many of our students are referred from extended care programs whose clients are seeking to re-commit to a sober lifestyle, and who need the powerful and life-changing outdoor rites of passage experience to heighten their motivation and clarity of purpose. Educational consultants and clinical professionals find our team to be highly supportive and superbly communicative, which results in the development of accurate needs assessments for effective placements.

Our senior field guides are all Wilderness First Responder certified, as required by Aspen's Outdoor Best Practices, and our staff-to-student ratio is an effective 1:3. Because of this high level of personalized attention, Passages To Recovery has an immaculate safety record. Our groups are small enough to support strong rapport between staff and clientele, thus making the expedition powerfully positive for all involved. The majority of our field guides are experts with personal recovery and are licensed substance abuse counselors in the State of Utah. Our students consistently report admiring and trusting our field staff, attributing many of the insights they've gained to conversations with them or examples they've set.

During the 40-day outdoor portion of the Passages To Recovery experience, our students and field staff members receive round-the-clock support from the members of our field, medical and logistics departments. New students who are preparing for the field and experienced students who are processing the lessons they learned in the wilderness are supervised and supported by our Valley Site staff, which includes members who have degrees in art, nutrition and outdoor recreation – several of whom are also Licensed Substance Abuse Counselors in the State of Utah.

Throughout the duration of a student’s stay at Passages to Recovery, he will receive the highest quality of care and supervision from a dynamic, experienced, and dedicated team of treatment professionals.

introduction to the 12 step model
(A Note to the Prospective Student)

When you decide to go into treatment, it can be a frightening time – and you probably have a lot of questions about what happens in treatment. Chief among these questions may be “How can a 12 Step program me?” This note is designed to answer that question.

A Framework for Success

Here at Passages to Recovery, we are not interested in labeling people as "addicts" or "alcoholics" – instead, we remain focused on helping you achieve your goals. The 12 Step Model does not force you to do anything. It merely offers suggestions and provides a framework that you can use to examine your thoughts and actions.

When you come to Passages to Recovery, we will ask you to take a look at your life so you can figure out what has been causing your problems. Once you establish what is throwing your life off course, you can begin looking for solutions. A big step toward achieving this goal is realizing what aspects of your life you can control, and which parts are beyond your influence.

Support & Encouragement

The great thing about the 12 Step Model is that you don't have to solve your problems alone. At Passages to Recovery we have small groups of young adults who are likely to have many things in common with you. Because they’ve overcome many of the same doubts and fears that you’re currently experiencing, the students that have nearly completed their treatment here will be able to help answer your questions and make you feel more comfortable.

The students and staff in your group will help you take a closer look at what changes you want to make. Now and then it takes putting pen to paper to organize your thoughts. At Passages to Recovery we will ask you to write down thoughts, feelings and ideas so you can begin to map out your recovery process. We hope that you begin to develop some trusting relationships with staff and students in your group. We know that it will be helpful to share your ideas with others so you can get as much information as possible about how to best achieve your goals.

Building a Better Life

If you found what you read so far to be acceptable, then you will most likely do well at Passages to Recovery. That's because you have just learned about the first five steps in the 12 Step program. Although it may seem like a long time, students say that the days at Passages to Recovery go by quickly. Many students get through the first five steps at Passages to Recovery and say they want more time to continue working the steps. However some of the remaining steps will probably need to be finished outside of Passages to Recovery.

As a final note we would like to let you know that the 12 Steps work for many issues in addition to addictions. For instance, there is so much hope in organizations such as Debtors Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, and other programs that are focused on substance abuse issues. We feel that if anyone, regardless of their problems, integrates the 12 Step Model on a daily basis, they will be able to make huge changes in their life for the better.
why wilderness
Living in wilderness, free of a roof and walls, provides a person with both a sense of space and a feeling of exposure. Both of these psychological responses provide access to areas within a person that have become a source of disease due to suppression or repression. This inherently powerful aspect of the wilderness becomes a foundation for a uniquely spiritual, life-altering experience.

Taking Responsibility

Chemically dependent persons often use substances to avoid emotional discomfort that results from daily stressors. In addition to using drugs in an attempt to manage their feelings, they also employ addictive behaviors to manipulate those around them in order to protect their relationship with the drug. This may lead a person to perceive they have things "under control" when in reality their life is becoming unmanageable. In the wilderness, the consequences of a person's choices and actions become readily apparent – resulting in the inescapable conclusion that all people are responsible for the results of their actions.

As this experience sinks in, a confidence develops, leading to competency, self-advocacy and a greater deliberateness of thought and action. In other words, healing begins.

‘The Great Equalizer’

When this process occurs within the social context of a small interdependent group, the potential for developing true intimacy with others is extraordinary. This experience can alter a person's understanding of the potential of human relatedness, and can form the basis of an optimistic and socially responsible adulthood.

Living in small nomadic groups within a wilderness setting requires you to cooperate to solve challenges presented by the environment. Overcoming these challenges offers you a chance to practice assertive communication, to express your needs and your feelings and to value what others have to say. You build self-confidence by being resourceful and using primitive living skills to solve problems. Friendships formed in wilderness are not based on drug use or maladaptive behaviors. Wilderness is a great equalizer.

Healing & Meaning

Generations of humans have ventured into the wilderness to search for healing and meaning in their lives. In returning to the natural world, you regain a sense of humility and awe. The environment seems to have a way of making a person "right sized."

Most people who are struggling with an addiction are usually engaged in emotionally and physically unhealthy behaviors. In the wilderness setting, we see how we generate most of the misery and upset in our lives by constantly seeking some form of diversion, some way to manipulate our experience to alter our thoughts and feelings. The natural world has an innate ability to heal people and this has profound effects on a person's mood and physical health.

A Powerful Experience

Simply being in the wilderness is both therapeutic and inspirational. It is in identifying with nature, the power and the beauty both beyond and within simultaneously, that a person develops the capacity to withstand his own experience.

Basic activities and routines like hiking, regulating sleep, and following a balanced nutritious diet plan help chemically dependent people begin their recovery process. The simplicity of life in the wilderness brings rich meaning to acts that can be taken for granted in our "modern world." The spiritual journey, our clinical interventions, and more than 1,200 square miles of land in our course area combine to shape a powerful treatment experience.

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