Bringing Real Change to the Face of Addiction
MCL: What makes BRC unique as a drug and alcohol treatment facility?
Marsha Stone: There are so many things that make BRC a unique facility. If I had to choose the two main aspects that make BRC unique, it would be our culture and the long-term continuum of care.
We were founded in 2006 as a true Recovery Center—the first of its kind. Rather than a traditional medical/clinical treatment approach, we wanted to create an environment that would immerse someone in the process of a recovery and produce the type of spiritual awakening necessary, in our experience, for lasting recovery to take root.
BRC uses the social model of recovery, where experiential knowledge and mutual support are valued. Our residents are taught and expected to begin helping each other very early in their stay. This process of one addict helping another is the foundation of recovery, and our community of residents is really the backbone of the program.
Our focus on these social and interpersonal aspects of recovery helps our residents achieve long-term success. We try to foster reliance upon peers over reliance upon counselors because when our residents complete their stay in treatment, we want them to have a sustainable foundation of peers on which to rely.
The long-term continuum of care is another unique aspect of BRC that is key to our success. We recognize that addiction is a chronic illness that requires a chronic care approach. The 90-day stay in residence is really just the beginning of a lifelong process.
Our residents move from inpatient treatment to our sober living facilities. We have three levels of care for sober living that help residents transition back to independent living.
In addition to sober living, which can last up to one year into a person’s recovery, we also offer the Segue Program, a comprehensive personalized aftercare program. Our residents get assigned a recovery coach who provides case management, accountability, monitoring, recovery coaching, and family engagement. This year long program helps a resident stay on track outside the confines of treatment and is a huge part of our success.
MCL: Your reputation for effective treatment of the “most treatment resistant” caught my eye. Can you tell us briefly about this particular aspect of BRC?
Marsha: BRC has always been effective at treating the “chronic relapser” or “treatment resistant” client. These populations are most difficult to treat, but the unique culture at BRC really provides an environment that shifts the paradigm for this type.
We find that these clients are treatment savvy—they know what to say to pretend like they are having an experience with the recovery process while resisting it. The community-driven aspect of our program allows the peers within a person’s community to hold them accountable and make sure their actions match their words.
Residents who have been to numerous treatment centers frequently comment that they have never experienced anything like BRC. They are so used to fooling their counselors and “playing the game,” that when they have their inconsistencies pointed out by their peers, it often brings about change where no amount of pressure from the staff could.
MCL: BRC has an impressive alumni program and a blog on the website by alumni that is just heartwarming. How does a recovering addict joyfully embrace being part of a community that began at a point of so much pain and chaos?
Marsha: I think that our alumni tend to be more open about their recovery because they’ve had such a powerful experience with the recovery process. Stigma is still a big issue, but we find that when someone’s life is truly transformed by the recovery process, they feel almost obligated to share with other people in an effort to carry the message of recovery to those who are still suffering. We encourage our residents to use their own experience to help others, and I think that when you have a group of people who are open about their recovery and using it for a purpose, it takes away some of the shame and stigma.
Additionally, we have an entire department called our Family and Alumni Department, where, from day one of treatment, families and future alumni are plugged in with specialized staff who are part of the team leading the way and providing resources and hope for a better future for all.
MCL: Are there different programs that specifically target different ages or genders?
Marsha: Yes. BRC has always been a gender-specific program, as we believe that a gender specific environment that minimizes distractions and allows men and women to focus on their recovery. Our programs provide gender specific content and allow us to focus on specific issues affecting these populations.
Traditionally, BRC has treated men and women of all ages. Over the last few years, we realized how many young adults (ages 18-26) were coming into our care. Seeing the specific needs of this population, we started a young adult program called Spearhead Lodge in 2016 that specifically caters to young men ages 18-26.
We have found this program to be extremely successful with its focused approach to treating young men as a specialized group and catering to their specific needs and learning styles that are quite different and more energy focused than those individuals of either a different gender or a different life stage.
MCL: What would be the first steps a concerned family member should take in exploring help?
Marsha: The first step would be to contact professionals who understand addiction. Our admissions team is trained to consult with families and make recommendations based on their needs. We have a strong referral base, so if someone is not a fit for our program, we can help him or her connect with resources that would be the best fit. In most cases, some sort of formal treatment is necessary if someone is truly suffering from alcoholism or addiction. There are now so many great resources available.