Part 1 of A Mother’s Journey
To whom it may concern,
I write to you today from the unenviable position of having two sons suffering from substance use disorder. Our story starts as many other parents does I’m sure, with pain, fear and desperation over this awful disease afflicting our children. Our family had been living this nightmare for going on ten years with our oldest, when we discovered our youngest son too was addicted.
I hit the research hard, books, people, the internet. We were not going to approach this the same way. It was then that I first read about Back 2 Basics and I was immediately drawn to it, truthfully because it was a year long program. I studied their website, read everything, all the reviews on site and from independent sources. I learned about the outdoor component of their program and how that worked and the benefit to the young men. It sounded like any amazing, wonderful, life changing program, something that would break up the monotony of learning to be sober. We have learned that while that is true, it is so much more than that. So we sent our younger son. He was reluctant to say the least, mad and hateful, we breathed a sigh of relief after dropping him off and getting back in the car. Our younger daughter said she was happy she wouldn’t see him for a year. We didn’t speak to him for about a month, but in addition to regular updates from his therapist, we received a weekly letter and pictures from the outdoor counselors. Every Saturday the men prepare and pack up their own packs and the vans to head out on Sunday for a three or four day trip in the outdoors. They are responsible for what they might need and will pay the consequences that nature might exact for forgotten essentials. Through these weekly letters and pictures we truly learned how empowering the outdoor therapy is.
None of these guys want to be addicts, they all come to B2B feeling lost, depressed, worthless. And they have to do a great deal of hard, soul wrenching, digging deep and confessing of sins in order to come out the other side. So it would seem like the trips are a reprieve from that on first notice, but in truth they are every bit an important part of the therapy. When the guys are successful, and complete a long and very challenging hike, they are masters of their universe! They no longer feel as lost, depressed or worthless. The pictures we would see every week would attest to the healing power of the beauty of nature too. When we started speaking to our son, the calls were full of tales from the trips, the trials and tribulations that happen in nature as well as the breathtaking sunsets or sunrises, and beautiful vistas. Our boy, a man usually of very few words, was filling us up with his accomplishments in the wild: hiking ten miles, setting up a tent, making a fire, taking shelter from sudden bad weather…It was nothing but a metamorphosis; he was excited about life and proud of himself and full of confidence. And although the trips stopped after 6 months when he entered the next phase of treatment, that has stayed with him. He is now 15 months sober, living, working and giving back in Flagstaff.
A Grateful Mother,
M McNamara, Texas