Integrated Clinical/Experiential Approach More Effective at Meeting the Needs of Chemically Dependant Young Adults

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Four Circles Recovery Center is uniquely geared to transform the lives of young adults ages 18-24 who struggle with substance abuse and related issues. Program integrates traditional 12-step program with hands-on wilderness adventure for outcomes that stand up to real-world pressures

We want the recovery process to be active, because when they’re back out in the real world they aren’t going to stay clean by magic. It takes deliberate thought and action: that’s what the program is all about

More than any other sector of the population, young people aged 18 to 25 are dangerously at risk for substance abuse and dependence according to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Heavy alcohol use was reported by more than 15 percent of those 18 to 25. Another recent study shows that six percent of college students meet criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence and 31 percent meet the clinical criteria for alcohol abuse. (Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 63:3 263-270, May 2002).

The statistics paint a gloomy picture for America’s young adults, many of whom find themselves trapped in a downward spiral of addiction that is destined to shortchange their futures. It’s a sobering reality that Four Circles Recovery Center Executive Director Jack Kline, MS, LPC, NCC is determined to do something about. Having experienced the process of recovery first hand, he brings his personal story, counseling background and years of experience to bear in a new kind of treatment environment.

“Because the cause of chemical dependency is so varied, the treatment methodology also needs to be varied,” explains Kline. “We want to keep our program relevant to the population we serve. We are dealing with getting these young people started in their lives, helping them find their identity and develop the skills to lead a healthy, drug-free life.”

The Four Circles program incorporates emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual components to build a strong foundation for recovery. Unlike drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and traditional residential treatment, this unique approach includes individualized treatment planning, individual and group therapy, AA/NA meetings and life skills training as well as art therapy, martial arts practice and meditation. In addition, participants’ loved ones receive counseling and education on how to begin their own healing process and develop the skills necessary to support their recovering child or spouse.

According to Kline, Four Circles’ experiential program reaches young adults in a way that clinical settings alone do not. “This age group has unique developmental issues they are working through. The program challenges and engages them in a hands-on way. We don’t just discuss abstract issues.”

The 21-day wilderness experience tests participants’ progress as they confront harsh realities of life without thermostats and televisions. By stepping out of their comfort zones, participants face limiting beliefs and long-standing emotional patterns in a real and active way. Experiencing the natural world gives participants a sense of belonging as they form authentic, intimate relationships based on shared pain, shared joy and the transformational journey of recovery. How they react to the stressors of the natural world and interact with peers helps staff determine whether or not participants are ready to carry their recovery into the real world.

“We want the recovery process to be active, because when they’re back out in the real world they aren’t going to stay clean by magic. It takes deliberate thought and action: that’s what the program is all about,” says Kline.

For more information about Four Circles Recovery Center, located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, call (877) 893-2221 or visit


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