Core Components for Successful Sober Living
#1. Recovery and Transformation – A Step Beyond
Successful sober living depends on many essential “moving parts,” and sometimes, we discover these as we go! First off, we are thoroughly committed to all aspects of recovery as it’s widely understood. Recovery in our culture generally means something like “the long term cessation of addictive substances and their related habits, including returning the individual to their previous or better level of functioning.” Something like that! Wholeheartedly, Firebird believes that is the most important of all tools for the long journey to the rest of our Member’s fruitful lives… but that’s not all.
Using the term "Transformation" represents what we hold as core values: a commitment to not only prevail in the hard-won struggles toward recovery, but to further ensure enduring success by rigorously promoting nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, self-knowledge, and a sense of investment in our community and the world. Returning to where a person was before the addiction process visibly manifested is- in our view- a step backwards. The step forwards embraces the man who has grown to accept himself, shamelessly, who he has become, and is becoming through the process of deep transformation. It may involve resolving trauma, long unspoken conflicts, and formerly inadmissible truths. Without this work and guidance during it, only the substance part of this equation is removed. That- as evidenced by epidemic national relapse rates- is simply not acceptable anymore.
#2. Wise Counsel and Therapeutic Support – Great, and Necessary
As many know, in 12 Step programs an essential element is to have a trustworthy Sponsor, a person who has years of “clean time” and has worked the steps in such a way that they can guide you through the rungs- not that any one step is easier or harder. However, experience does indicate that the 4th and 5th Steps (among others) dig up a lot, including but not limited to past traumas, familial troubles, or other complex psychosocial matters.
While Sponsors (or their equivalent for non-12 Step programs) are required at Firebird, and their vital role is treasured, they are not equipped by themselves to manage the gusher of feelings and experiences that can be unleashed in this process. As such, we require that Members utilize some form of therapeutic support, whether it is weekly substance abuse counseling, individual therapy, working an intensive outpatient program, or at minimum group psychotherapy.
Naturally, due to the variability of cost, insurance coverage (makes you wanna scream, right?), the availability of services will depend on your access to benefits. We have compiled a list of highly recommended outpatient providers and their coverage. Importantly, we will not require anything that places a service out of reach; there are many providers and organizations that are committed to low- and no-cost care. This page
lists a broad range of multidisciplinary supports, including psychiatrists and specialists, that we professionally recommend or are well-regarded in the Asheville area. We are very happy to coordinate arrangements to initiate care. We don't however engage with insurance companies directly, but will see who's eligible in our area as a support to you.
#3. Elective and Mandatory Activities – Not really “Either/Or,” but “Both/And”
Some folks view some tasks and functions as interesting, or something they could do… if they had the time. Or the willpower. Some folks don’t see the utility of making a bed if they’re already doing a GREAT job elsewhere. Then there are the times that there’s a “should” coming up, but without an obvious incentive, maybe that could be skipped in favor of the other thing… c’mon, this isn’t just about people working a program of recovery- it’s every one of us. We’ve all been there. Right?
We believe that the offerings we've put together are one critical aspect to a successful sober life ahead, because the data says so. The more routine, the more in-house/community oriented activities we sustain over longer periods of time that are participated in over a significant duration of a Member's stay, the better their chances of maintaining long-term recovery after graduation (though nothing can ever guarantee that). Besides adhering to Member Agreements, there are elements of our schedule and our way of life that are required. The most immediate incentive is the spirit of cooperation and knowing that you're doing the right thing for yourself and others- no matter how "big" or "small" the subject is- attending 90 meetings in 90 days or keeping clothes off the floor. The most immediate consequence is failing to live up to the agreements that everyone here holds each other too and takes seriously. We don't need much with carrots and sticks- the bonds of Brotherhood and the promise of Transformation make achieving the simple and great worth the effort.