“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]
Bed and Breakfasts
- Wildberry Lodge (Just down the road! Leicester, NC)
- Inn on Main (Weaverville, NC)
- Reynolds Mansion Inn (North Asheville, NC)
- Listing: 50 Different B&Bs in the Asheville Area
- Compassionate Expressions Mountain Inn and Sanctuary (Down the road in Sandy Mush in protected wildlife habitat. Treat yourself! Sandy Mush, NC)
- 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]
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)
- 12 Bones (BBQ, Presidential Favorite, River Arts District)
- Asheville Pizza Company (The best pizza in AVL, multiple locations)
- Asheville Sandwich Company (Fries in your sandwich. YES. West Asheville)
- Biscuithead (Breakfast & Brunch, West Asheville. They have a jam and butter bar. Take that in.)
- Bonfire (BBQ, West Asheville)
- Buxton Hall (BBQ and more, Downtown)
- Early Girl (Farm Fresh Breakfast & Brunch, Downtown)
- Farmburger (Burgers or every kind, Downtown)
- King Daddy’s Chicken & Waffles (A Southern Favorite, West Asheville)
- Rocky’s Hot Chicken (Best Hot Fried Chicken EVER!, West Asheville)
- Sunny Point Cafe (Breakfast & Brunch, West Asheville, go if off peak hours)
- The Wayside (Americana, Biltmore Village)
- Blue Dream Curry House (Thai/Indian, Downtown)
- Chai Pani (Indian “Street Food,” A+, Downtown)
- Gan Shan Station (Korean BBQ, just east of Downtown)
- Kathmandu Cafe (Nepalese, mmm, Downtown)
- Suwana’s Thai Orchid (Authentic Thai, Downtown)
- Chupacabra Latin Cafe (Funky Mexican/Fusion, North Asheville)
- El Que Pasa (Cali-Tex-Mex, West Asheville)
- Limones (Upscale Latin Fusion)
- White Duck Taco (Funky Mexican/Fusion, River Arts District)
- Zia Taqueria (More Traditional Mexican- try the Al Pastor- West Asheville)
- The Barleycorn (English-style with a twist, West Asheville)
- Bouchon (French Bistro, Downtown)
- The Bull and Beggar (English-style, also with a twist, Downtown)
- The Twisted Laurel (Greek & Italian)
- Vinnie’s Italian (The hands down best Italian, Jay’s personal fav, North Asheville)
- 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”]
- The Blue Ridge Parkway
- The Land of Waterfalls (Transylvania County)
- DuPont State Forest (shooting location of the first “Hunger Games” film)
- Max Patch
- In season: Zen Tubing
- In season: White Water Rafting (Nantahala Outdoor Center)
- The Biltmore Estate
- WNC Nature Center
- The Grove Park Inn and Spa
- Downtown Asheville (on your own)
- LaZoom! Comedy Bus Tour (Really, the best way to learn about why we’re quirky and proud of it).
- Music (there’s tons, this is a current directory)
- Theatre (ditto to the above!)
- Haunted Asheville!
- In season: Montford Park Players: Shakespeare around sunset
- In season: Drum Circle, Pritchard Park
- January: Asheville Fringe Arts Festival – Lake Lure Polar Plunge
- February: Asheville Mardi Gras Parade – (also great time to check out our museums and other indoor attractions, too!)
- March: Southern Conference Basketball Tournament – Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro – Biltmore Blooms
- April: French Broad River Festival – Appalachian Trailfest – Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
- May: Lake Eden Arts Festival (Spring) – Block House Steeplechase – Mountain Sports Festival
- June: Asheville Farm Tour – Bluff Mountain Festival – Brevard Music Center Festival
- July: Cherokee Powwow – Grandfather Mountain Highland Games – Coondog Day Festival – Folkmoot
- August: Vilage Art and Craft Fair – Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Fest – Riverfest – Organic Fest
- September: NC Apple Festival – LAAFF Festival – Mountain State Fair – Greek Festival
- October: Hard Lox Jewish Festival – Eliada Corn Maze – Wooly Worm Festival – Lake Eden Arts Festival (Fall)
- November: River District Artists Studio Stroll – Asheville Holiday Parade – National Gingerbread House Competition
- December: Christmas at Biltmore – Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk – Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
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