Welcoming Transformation: Your Recovery Guide

“Transformation literally means going beyond your form.”

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

All of this recovery and transformation stuff sounds good and all- there’s also a “brass tacks” angle everyone needs to know, from referring clinicians, Great Aunt Sally, and naturally, the incoming Member (who will probably be nervous, as well he should). This guide answers some of the most common questions, and can serve as a guide for visiting families. This covers everything from what the incoming Member should bring (mindset included), to where the folks can stay overnight, and naturally, the best places to dine and explore in Asheville, quickly becoming America’s favorite small city. Included is a bibliography, helpful as a reference for supporting loved ones in recovery, and some common “transitional” questions. This is also available as a PDF.

[pane title=”Incoming Members: What should I bring?” start=open]
Good question. First off, an open mind, a positive attitude, and an understanding that change is hard, but everyone around you has been through this before. Your fellow Members can relate! Other than that and a conscious choice to live in a fun yet consistent environment, here’s the basics:

  • All the usual hygiene products;
  • About one week’s worth of groceries;
  • A broad variety of clothes- both formal and casual (no triggering content please), outdoorsy, and sufficient clothes for at least 90 days or more. It’s wise to consider season change.
  • Phones and computers are fine, as long as you have removed unhealthy contacts. Naturally, there are some common sense restrictions on computer use.
  • Personal items: anything that’s meaningful to you… art, books, musical instruments, picture of Great Aunt Sally, etc.;
  • You may bring your own linens in you wish, but please let us know- there are multiple bed sizes, but plan for a full.

(The following are suggestions provided by a current Member; someone who does know what it’s like!)

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Everyone else here had a First Day too. They didn’t know entirely what to do, who to talk to. Asking for help is how we grow from what got us here to begin with (right?).
  • You are always welcome to join in any activity other Members are engaging in. Dive right in. They, in fact, want you to.
  • Remember: there is no perfect path to recovery. Everyone here has their own story, and those whom we hold up as great examples had to find their own way. You will too. Give it time.
  • Be prepared to do the things that suck- push through what’s uncomfortable and difficult to talk about. The other Members and Staff here have the openness and experience to have endured doing the things that suck and why it’s worth it.

[pane title=”Family: So he’s all moved in- what should we expect?”]
This is a great time for you to connect with your loved one, and to sum up the time he’s spent in treatment and the time he’s going to be spending away from home, again. Sometimes, expectations can be high all around. It’s important to focus on realistic outcomes.

  • Scenario 1: He won’t call or text, etc. This is likely because he is getting immersed in the FIREBIRD culture and beginning to take stock of what a serious recovery can look like. Don’t take it personally.
  • Scenario 2: He won’t stop calling or texting. This may be where your loved one is struggling to adapt to change. They may complain, create sets of needs that are unrealistic to meet, make demands, bargains, or find reasons why they don’t want to be in sober living, or not like it here (or anywhere else). This is because change is hard. Certainly if there is a specific problem, we’ll attend to it, but Scenario 2 is quite common. We don’t take it personally.
  • Keep in mind that the recovering addict needs to re-learn trust much in the same way you do. With whom they share their feelings and details of their inner lives may not be the same as it it once was.
  • Much of their time is actually focused on recovery- a lot of it casual discussion- so while it may not always look like it, that’s something you’ll have to learn to trust too.[/pane]

[pane title=”Members & Families: The Practical Matters”]

  • Personal finances: during the Member’s transitional phase from Orientation to pre-employment (or which ever track he’s chosen- school, etc) a weekly budget of $100 or less is recommended. Many people use debit cards that are connected to family accounts to manage this, Some find pre-paid charge cards ideal. Regardless, we do not manage client funds, and we do not recommend cash. All Members must be able to provide receipts for purchases at any time.
  • Vehicles: While these can be discussed on a case-by-case basis, we typically do not recommend a Member’s vehicle on-site until completion of Orientation Requirements. Vehicle contracts may be drawn up in order to create a safe transition back into driving, which for some is a major trigger. For others, it’s not at all.
  • Visits: These are welcomed at any time. A little notice is great, of course! Within the first 30 days visits are typically not encouraged, however, to allow the new Member time to adjust. Naturally, any special family event is an understandable exception.
  • After 30 days: You are welcomed to visit the area overnight, as long as you like, and the Member may overnight 1 night with you. They should still attend their meeting for that day, and it’d be good for you to go along (see further down for Hotel/B&B recommendations). They may also go home for special events, but for the least amount of time as needed, especially in the early days. They never leave the program; the program leaves with them. Wherever home is, Idaho or India, there’s a meeting there and the same routine and structure back at FIREBIRD can be applied there.
  • Mail: Regular letters and small parcels can be addressed to: 120 Selby Drive, Marshall NC 28753. For large size packages, certified mail (sent in care of the Executive Director) or anything you want to be assured is safely delivered, send to Firebird Transformations c/o Jay Joslin, PO Box 17362, Asheville NC 28816. Note that for obvious reasons, all packages must be inspected prior to opening. In Great Aunt Sally is sending cookies, we’ll have to taste one to make sure it’s OK.
  • Membership fees: These are due on or before the first of the month. Admission is prorated, but if a Member leaves without 30 days’ notice we are unable to prorate the last month’s fee. There are no refunds on these fees in most cases. Keep in mind that it presently costs $1,674 per Member to stay with us; our below cost fee is an exceptional value given the services we offer. The fee will increase to $1,750 for new Members only on 1 July 2016.
  • Outpatient Services: We will work to link you and your son with the best outpatient providers (IOP, Psychiatry, Therapy) we know of. Allow this, however, to be a good learning experience for him and allow him the opportunity to learn the ropes of finding providers through your existing insurance program.[/pane]


[pane title=”Accommodations”]

Bed and Breakfasts



  • Trip Advisor’s 10 Best: Explore your options. The Indigo is a frequent choice for proximity to downtown and mix between swank and reasonable pricing.
  • Sleep Inn (West Asheville, fairly close)
  • More to come[/pane]

[pane title=”Restaurants!”]
I thought you’d never ask! Do note that Asheville is renowned for its breweries and wines, and taking your loved one out to eat anywhere in Asheville it’ll almost impossible avoid the presence of alcohol around you. McDonald’s, maybe? But part of the journey is to accept that there are triggers everywhere, and you establish safety in those around you. From the guys themselves: “The less of a big deal you make about it, the less of a big deal it is.”
Also, don’t hesitate to try a food truck if you see one. They’re all amazing. Be adventurous! On to the list! Below are the local favs, sorted by cuisine:


  • Addissae (Ethiopian, AMAZING, Downtown)



Central American/Mexican


Middle Eastern/African/Tapas:

  • Addissae (Ethiopian, AMAZING and authentic)
  • Gypsy Queen Cuisine (Middle Eastern Fusion, West Asheville and Food Truck)
  • Jerusalem Garden (Lebanese/Jordanian, Brunch-Dinner, Downtown)
  • Rezas (Moroccan, just south of Downtown, fab).
  • Zambra (Tapas menu features from Spain, Portugal, Romany, and North Africa).


[pane title=”Families & Members: Area Activities & Fun To Be Had”]



Annual Festivals:


[pane title=”Bibliography”]

Useful books for Members and their families to read as they journey to recovery from addiction and the flight to transformation! More will be added in time.

Families & Friends:

  • “Stay Close” by Libby Cataldi
  • “Codependent No More” by Melodie Beatty
  • “Clean” by David Sheff
  • “The Enabler; When Helping Hurts The One You Love” by Angelyn Miller
  • “Facing Shame; Families In Recovery” by Merle Fossum
  • “Willpower’s Not Enough” by Arnold Washton


  • “Codependent No More” by Melodie Beatty
  • “Clean” by David Sheff
  • “In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Maté
  • “Rewired” by Erica Spiegelman
  • “Power Versus Force” by David Hawkins
  • “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl


“There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path.
Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.”
– Ralph Marston