Copper Canyon Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Guides Teenage Girls Through the Process of Recovery Using a Comprehensive 12-Step Program

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Copper Canyon Academy has added to its already robust 12-Step program by introducing Co-Dependents Anonymous, Al-Anon and other 12-Step meetings to its students.

Twelve Step meetings help teens realize they aren’t alone in their struggles. They can always go to a meeting and release any pent-up emotions by talking it out with the support of others, rather than turning to their addictive behavior to cope.

Many adults use the 12 Steps to overcome addictive behaviors because of the program’s longevity and widespread success. At Copper Canyon Academy, one of the nation’s premiere therapeutic boarding schools for girls, teenagers are also embracing the 12 Steps as part of their journey toward recovery.

Led by certified alcohol and drug counselor and program director, Josh White, MA, LPC, CGP, RCYCP, the 12-Step program at Copper Canyon Academy is constantly growing and evolving. While roughly two-thirds of the students at Copper Canyon have a diagnosis of substance abuse, others struggle with other addictive behaviors.

In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, the academy recently began offering Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) meetings, Al-Anon meetings (for friends and family of problem drinkers), and a catch-all meeting for various other forms of addictive behavior such as overeating, Internet addiction, and sex and love addiction.

On average, the students at Copper Canyon are able to attend four on-campus 12-Step meetings and two off-campus meetings every week. They also have the option to meet with White or their therapist for a “Step study,” where they learn about each Step, work on assignments and discuss what each Step means to them.

“Twelve Step meetings help teens realize they aren’t alone in their struggles,” said White. “They can always go to a meeting and release any pent-up emotions by talking it out with the support of others, rather than turning to their addictive behavior to cope.”

The 12-Step program is one of the largest and most accessible support systems in the world, and it creates a clear path for anyone struggling with addictive behaviors to lead a healthier, happier life. In addition to having meetings available in nearly every community, there are a growing number of 12-Step groups designed specifically for teens.

“At 12-Step meetings, teens hear others share their story, which provides that universal experience all humans crave of feeling connected to one another,” explained White. “Especially for teens, who yearn for peer acceptance, often feel alone and are in the midst of defining their own identity, fellowship with others who have the same problems and are dealing with them in healthy ways can be a powerful antidote.”

Teenagers are sometimes skeptical of the 12-Step program at first, whether they’re intimidated by the emphasis on spirituality or they simply think recovery is “uncool.” But with guidance from staff, the students at Copper Canyon begin to genuinely enjoy the meetings and the fellowship the 12-Step program offers.

The 12-Step program at Copper Canyon Academy has received an overwhelmingly positive response from parents and students. From students’ first day at Copper Canyon, the staff begins planning for their future. Through relapse prevention planning, aftercare planning and home visits, students work on finding a 12-Step group and sponsor at home so that they have a support network waiting for them when they leave.

By attending meetings and getting familiar with the language and culture of the 12-Step program during their time at the academy, Copper Canyon students are able to make a smooth transition home or to their next placement.

“We want our students to get excited about the 12 Steps,” said White. “Once they’re comfortable with the format and see the many benefits, they’re more likely to continue working their recovery program after they leave.”


Copper Canyon Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 14 to 17. Nestled in a scenic Central Arizona valley, Copper Canyon Academy features a wide range of educational and therapeutic initiatives that are designed to meet the specific needs of students who are struggling to achieve their potential. Copper Canyon’s structured environment combines a rigorous academic curriculum with innovative opportunities such as animal-assisted therapy and an extensive leadership development program.

Copper Canyon Academy is a program of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of therapeutic education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s services range from short-term intervention programs to residential treatment, and include a variety of therapeutic settings such as boarding schools, outdoor behavioral health programs and special needs summer camps, allowing professionals and families the opportunity to choose the best setting to meet a student’s unique academic and emotional needs.

Aspen Education Group is a member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. For over two decades, CRC Health has been achieving successful outcomes for individuals and families.

For more information, please call (866) 515-5202 or visit Copper Canyon Academy.

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Paul Taylor
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