NorthStar Transitions is a young adult extended care substance abuse treatment and sober living program for men and women 18-35 years old serving the Boulder and Denver Colorado communities. What differentiates NorthStar from other extended care substance abuse treatment and sober living programs is the highly individualized approach NorthStar Transitions takes to alcohol and drug rehabilitation. While most drug treatment and sober living programs will focus exclusively on group activities, group therapy and the twelve steps, we mold our program to fit the needs of each individual client, creating an individualized pathway to recovery that works for them.
While the twelve steps are certainly a useful tool in our toolbox, they are not our only tool. NorthStar utilizes an evidence-based approach to substance abuse treatment with our main tools being Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Through utilizing Motivational Interviewing, we invite our clients to begin thinking about what they want their recovery to look like and, in conjunction with them, we invite them down the path of recovery. This innovative, invitational approach to recovery is much more effective for many clients than the traditional twelve step only approach to sober living.
Because we are a sober living program serving adults, we allow our clients a great deal of freedom while they are in our program. Rather than implement arbitrary rules and curfews that drive client activities under ground, we give our clients the freedom to make mistakes while they are enrolled in our program, much as they will when they are done with substance abuse treatment. We use these mistakes as an opportunity to talk to our clients in real-time about making better decisions going forward. Because we do not have sanctions and arbitrary rules, our clients feel safe talking openly and honestly with us about the challenges they are facing and we are better able to treat our clients as a result.
Research has demonstrated time and time again that longer episodes of drug and alcohol treatment lead to better outcomes. The notion that treating the chronic condition of drug and alcohol dependence with 28 days of drug rehab has been refuted in countless studies. The NorthStar approach to sober living, utilizing this evidence, gives clients an intensive and individualized 9 month course of alcohol and drug treatment that will give clients the best possible opportunity at achieving long-term recovery from substance dependence. While clients are not committed to remaining at NorthStar for the entire 9 month continuum, it is highly recommended to achieve the best possible outcome.
NorthStar TransitionsBoulder sober living program has two distinct and separate tracks: The abstinence-based Life Skills Counseling Program track and the New Vision track. Clients enrolled in the abstinence-based Life Skills Counseling sober living program track live in NorthStar’s Boulder sober living homes for a minimum of 90 days where they share the home with roommates who are also enrolled in the Life Skills Counseling program. While living in the NorthStar Boulder sober living home, clients meet with a life skills coach who comes up with a custom, individually tailored transition plan for each client during their time at the sober living home.
The life skills coach then meets with the client in the community 3 hours per day 2 days per week implementing the goals and objectives outlined on the transition plan. Additionally, clients participate in group therapy up to 20 hours per week.
Examples of goals outlined in the Boulder sober living transition plan are: sober living skills, relapse prevention skills, building a new positive peer support network, vocational and academic goals, fitness goals, personal hygiene, organizational skills, financial skills, compliance with court orders or probation etc. In addition to daily one-on-one meetings with the life skills coach, clients are provided with one hour per week of individual therapy, access to group activities such as snowboarding, hiking, AA meetings, Crossfit etc. and weekly comprehensive drug and alcohol testing. Client families are provided with 1 hour per week of family therapy as well. Clients are expected to have a job or be in school while enrolled in the Boulder sober living Life Skills Counseling program and are expected to continue at work or in school for the duration of their time at NorthStar.
After the initial 90 days of alcohol and drug rehab at NorthStar clients will move to Phase 2 where they live in their own housing, which NorthStar helps them to secure. While in Phase 2 clients continue to meet with their life skills coach 2 days per week, receive weekly individual therapy sessions and continue to be monitored for drugs and alcohol. Clients have full access to group activities while in Phase 2. Client families continue to be provided with weekly family therapy and coaching while clients are in Phase 2. Clients typically remain enrolled in phase 2 for 3-6 months.
Finally, clients move into Phase 3 where they remain for another 3-6 months. In Phase 3 clients have a minimum of 6 months sober under their belt, they have formed a solid network of peer supports in the community, they are established in their vocational and academic pursuits and are in need of minimal continued support and accountability. In Phase 3 clients are meeting with a life skills coach only once per week for goal planning and accountability. Clients in phase 3 continue to be monitored for drugs and alcohol and continue seeing their individual therapist weekly. At the completion of the NorthStar program, clients should be stable in their recovery, well established at work, school and in the community and be prepared to thrive on their own as young adults starting out in their lives.