Arizona Habilitative Programs
By Alan Hicks, MSW, LISAC, BHP
Habilitative Definition – Breaking out of old paradigms, behaviors, states of being to the point of establishing new beginnings rather than returning to the original patterns of behavior. This is not rehabilitation or recovery. It is changing to an improved state of being to enable people to change their future. In the correctional system this is termed recidivism, measured as a return rate to incarceration, or re-offender. The habilitative programs change thought processes, attitudes, habits and actions.
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Offenders Program
Alcohol/Drug Screening and Education classes
Marijuana Misdemeanor Screening and Classes
The ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center provides a holistic; Red Road to Recovery-based approach to addictions. Our treatment approach is based on the belief that addictions control all aspects of a person’s life. That we have created an empty void in our life and need to return back to our traditions and ceremonies. We offer comprehensive, integrated services targeting excellence in decision-making, interpersonal relations, and personal coping skills as the means to the restoration of personal direction.
Suffering from any addiction means leaving a comfort zone (or what is familiar), to creating a place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, and wellness. Each of these life steps is addressed in our program approach that has come to be known as Circle of Life. At ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center you learn to connect your life steps to your community. Our treatment program guides you to be sober and drug-free and have wellness. It means changing your thoughts to change your life, and to go from merely (or barely) surviving to truly thriving from dysfunctional behaviors to those that heal the wounded soul. It is reconnecting with the Spirit, to move from survival to experience living.
At ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center you are free to examine your present circle of life and to allow the very real prospect of sobriety, recovery, and community healing as integral components to reaching true, enduring wellness. Sobriety, recovery, and community healing are intertwined paths you walk to enter your own healing of the wound spirit. All the life steps work simultaneously at the ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center is to recreate ‘just for you’ a new Circle of Life. This gives you the chance to begin the journey of ‘Walking the walk’ of the spiritual road (Red Road).
The Red Road is the path we walk on when we want a direct relationship with the Great Spirit. This requires humbleness and humiliation for the Creator. This requires us to have our beliefs tested. To walk this path is really an honor. The returns for doing so are exciting, not only for ourselves but for the effect that will be felt for three generations. This means your children will see the benefits as well as your grandchildren. Do I want to walk this sacred red road?
“He [Wakan Tanka] walks with us along the pathways of Life, and He can do for us what we could never do on our own.” –Fools Crow, LAKOTA
With the Creator as part our lives, we are everything. Without the Creator, we are nothing. When the Creator is in our life, suddenly the impossible becomes possible. The extraordinary becomes ordinary. Things we thought could never happen start to happen. Talents we never know we had, start to blossom. Resources appear. Help arrives to give us guidance and direction. We become happy. We have peace of mind and confidence.
History of the Organization
ONAC was founded in 1997, has hosted and provided a space for healing services, ceremonies, workshops, sharing, and meditation. In 2008, the ONAC of ISTA took the vision to global proportions. ONAC of ISTA’s endeavors focus on planetary transformation by working at the individual (Micro) family (Mezzo) and community level (Macro).
ONAC of ISTA is a 501c3 non-profit Church and educational organization that provides a safe and health environment for cultural exchange and healing bridging the gap between elders and the children. We provide a multicultural environment offering self-awareness, healing, and preserving sacred sites bringing back the celebration of life.
ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center utilizes a combination of philosophies and spiritual practices to insure that each participates is respected and honored. We recognize that each person brings with them their own spiritual orientation as well as cultural values and beliefs. These philosophies come from both Native and non-Native teachings and combined, provides a safe environment for the continued development of recovery tools which can be applied in the wilderness as well as in the home and community. The minimum impact or low no trace philosophy is taught throughout the wilderness experience to prevent harm to the environment and to protect mother earth.
ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center values its commitment to providing a unique opportunity for participants to continue to develop a firm foundation for recovery in a natural environment. We encourage respect for self, others, and all creation. When in connecting to the Spirit of the land, we honor each individual’s process of connecting with his or her heritage. Whenever possible we seek to utilize the natural resources interconnection of the Mother Earth.
ONAC of ISTA will always maintain and continue building the type of environment necessary of natural recovery, wellness and spirituality with traditional community and culture values. We realize as native people that we do not need treatment but wellness. The ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center offers not treatment but wellness with balance and harmony and to begin the path to the Creator and reconnection back to Grandmother Earth and her Spirit.
ONAC of ISTA is dedicated to developing and sponsoring efforts that provides a safe, healthy, multigenerational, multicultural environment where healing, new dimensions of spiritual existence, and revival of indigenous traditions, and celebrations of life are inspired. Furthermore, ONAC of ISTA seeks to preserve sacred indigenous sites and communal ways of life.
During your stay at ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center you will be living closely with a number of people from a variety of backgrounds, ages, educational levels and experiences. We ask you to exercise patience and tolerance with each other and to be aware of your own behavior as it creates an atmosphere maximizing wellness and recovery opportunities.
Also it is important to remember that issues will come up for you and you will be looking at those things which holds you back and the barriers between you and the Creator. It will be the Creator who will put before you those things you need to look and to let go of that which holds you back and put them in a safe place so you can walk this path the rest of your life. This is a day-to-day commitment on your part between you and the Creator and your connection with the Grandmother.
During your stay at the ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center, you are expected to be honest and actively participate in your own personal responsibility for one’s own recovery is essential. Wellness begins the moment you walk through our door and continues twenty-four hours a day, for the entire length of your stay. Your wellness is accomplished by your participation in the following:
As part of the recovery process at the ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center, is to write your life story as it relates to alcohol and other drugs use (legal or illegal). During the time of healing you will share your written story with their peers in a group session between the third and fourth week in treatment. We encourage you to examine the significant events in your lives from dual perspectives. First, from the view point of how childhood circumstance and family behavior influenced their beginning use and abuse of mind-altering chemicals. Secondly, from the viewpoint of how your current use and abuse of chemicals have negatively impact your life circumstances and personal behavior.
It is our hope that the thought process involved in recalling and writing your life story will promote increased self-awareness and insight into the behaviors that need to be changed in order to remain free from alcohol and other drugs. Your story will be utilized throughout your treatment. You are not expected to go back and look at every detail only to look at the lessons of the past which you can use in the ‘here and now’ to be use in your visions of new life’s path or journey.
Daily Journals are an expected part of your recovery. The daily journals are part of the wellness process and must be written in daily. The daily journals are your identification and summation of the day’s theme, goal, successes and stresses. Through daily journals, the participant learns how to identify life’s daily events and how they impact upon the succeeding day(s).
Group sessions are part of the wellness and recovery process and must be attend to gain the most benefits. This includes lectures, outside speakers, and recreational activities. Sessions begin on posted scheduled. You are expected to be on time. During group activities, there is no smoking, except during the time when the scared ceremonies where the Sacred Chanunpa (Sacred Pipe) might be used. Activities may include any combination of breath movement and sound and may include individuals, couples or groups.
It is our belief at ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center that the behavior displayed in the recovery environment is also the behavior that causes problems in life and blocks recovery. We, as individuals, are not always aware of our own strengths and weakness and fail to see ourselves as others see us. As part of the therapeutic process, the peers will evaluate peers. A peer evaluation provides valuable information for personal growth to each individual and to all participates.
Therapeutic Activities: process of recovery issues to be addressed both individual and in-group, per you and your treatment team members. This could also be the time when you might be working on your prayer ties.
Therapy Activities and Therapeutic Environment
Therapy activities and therapeutic environment are critical to addiction, relapse; and individuals receive direction and support from a trained therapist. The treatment team members functions simultaneously as teacher and coach, mentors, fostering a positive, encouraging relationship to reinforce positive behavior change. The treatment team members are staff who are trained to conduct treatment sessions in a way that promotes self-esteem, dignity, self-worth and conference in each participant. A positive relationship between participants and treatment team members is a critical element for retention.
Daily Therapeutic Activities
There is a schedule of daily activities in the program that contributes to the therapeutic environment. The therapeutic environment promotes the ability of each participant to meet the goals and objectives jointly agreed upon in the development of his or her own Individual Service Plan. The Daily Therapeutic Activities is free of unnecessary interruptions and distractions and may be performed indoors or outdoors depending on the weather and energetic of the group.
Individual sessions are provided at a minimum of 2-3 times per week to address specific problematic areas and to individualize the treatment episode. The individual sessions are in addition to the group sessions. Times and days for individual sessions are varied in an effort to meet the needs of the participants intensive schedule for the continuing of care services and treatment. At times several treatment team members might provide individual teachings as appropriate to the individualized and group learning process. The program includes education and family sessions for family members affected by the addiction.
Native American and Wisdom Keepers Teachings
ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center incorporates Native American teachings and believes as they are drawn from the exposure of several treatment team members own life and heritage experiences. However, the ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center for Healing does not teach cultural beliefs and traditions of any specific tribal member’s beliefs or practices.
However, referrals to known leaders of their tribe can be considered. Many of the expressive art and leisure activity groups may involve culturally based traditions and concepts. During art and leisure activity group we may offer Native American based experiences such as paper weaving, Medicine Wheel, sacred purification ceremonies, drumming on a community drum, rattle, story telling, talking circle, pottery, animal totems and pictograph drawings.
The participants are encouraged to draw from their own personal experiences and express their emotions, thoughts and feelings through the art and music. The culturally based activities are beneficial for all human life as they cross cultural boundaries. Occasional off-site outing will be incorporated, allowing for outdoor field activities and alternative program delivery locations, visiting such places as city, county, state and federal parks as well as sacred sites and locations.
Though our facility is designed for optimal therapeutic effect and comfort, much of our recovery work is conducted in the serene, inspiring specific spiritual significant sites of the red rocks of Sedona Arizona. The climate is ideal for taking advantage of this stunning backdrop during all seasons of the year. Recovery requires us to step outside our zone of familiarity, into one of wonder and discovery. This is just that sort of place, allowing the visualization of a new Circle of Life’s Journey for healing. The utilization of individual and group vision quests will be an integral part of the program.
The Four Levels of Life Teaching
Within a safe place we will identify our strengths and abilities and develop a plan to solve our common problems. Support, healing, wellness, self-esteem and cultural pride will accomplish this within the group. Our goal is to maintain a healthy balance in theses four areas of Life: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. Life is a journey that we must take. In order to travel this journey we need to see where we have been, how we got to be whom we are and where we can be, in order to be able to see where we are going. We must identify within ourselves our current path in order to move forward with a goal of a path of healing for ourselves.
Wisdom of the Four Directions
Each of the four Great Spirits or spirit keepers has a specific intelligence, and together they are known as the wisdom of the four directions. The Great Spirit is the Source of Wisdom and intelligence. All created things, spirit and matter, are images of the Great Sprit and possess an intelligence of Source, which can be shared. We summoned, the wisdom and power of the four directions that can be shared with human beings. We are spiritual beings in human bodies learning to human and rediscover our spirituality. We need to find the balance between Human ‘doing’ and human ‘being.’
Traditional Talking Circle
The traditional ‘Talking Circle’ is a very old way of bringing Native People, of all ages, together in a quiet, respectful manner of the purpose of teaching, listening, hearing, and sharing. When approached in the proper way, the circle can be a very powerful means of teaching or bringing some degree of healing to the body, the mind, the heart, and the spirit.
Within this sacred circle we are encouraged to speak not from the mind but from the heart; we are free to share our innermost feelings if we choose. Regardless of whether one brings a traditional teaching or a personal problem to the circle, all persons are valued, respected, and listened to.
The Talking Circle is utilized as a way to begin each day to set the tone and the theme of the day and in closing as the end of each day as a means of debriefing and recapping our experiences. Smudging and prayer as included in the Talking Circle for those participants who choose to participate. The Greeting of the Morning Sun Ceremony is also done each morning and a Sundown Ceremony at the end of the day.
Purifying Sacred Ceremony
The Inipi or Asi (sweat lodge) is an important part of indigenous Culture from all over the world. This Purification Rite allows our people to express themselves from the effective level through prayer or monologue to others in the Purification Ceremony. The rite of the purification ceremony utilizes all the powers of the universe: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air and honoring the four directions and seven powers.
The purpose of an Inipi or Asi is to cleanse, purify, clear old non-serving energy, and to be reborn out of the dark circle of the lodge. The lodge represents the warm moist heart of the womb of the mother that we are renewed into the light of the spiritual world.
Adventured Based Counseling (ABC)
At ONAC of ISTA’s Retreat and Habilitative Center, adventured based wilderness counseling therapy involves clinical professionals that have been specially trained and experienced in guiding others to expose, understand, and address emotional and behavioral issues through interaction with mother earth.
Adventured based therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health and behavioral problems such as attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse issues, depression, anxiety, anger management, conflict resolution, relationship problems and communications.
This is truly a hands-on, experiential process in which one learns about emotions, behaviors, and life choices by participating in activities with nature itself and then discussing those feelings, behaviors and patterns.
Adventured based counseling assist how we might overcome fear and develop confidence in any situation. As we process it both in group and in individual counseling, the positive and profound metaphors for the rest of our lives become not only apparent, but overwhelmingly obvious and transforming. It is about developing the confidence to face and manage effectively life?s other intimidating and challenging situations.
Most importantly, how we approach situations in life strongly tend to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. Struggling with a stubborn, stepping out of your comfort zone is the perfect training ground to foster change in oneself. By doing so we learn that changing our interaction with our world results ‘just like the change we see in each participant response’ in a positive alteration of how our world responds to us. Adventured Based Wilderness Counseling assisted therapy is a powerful tool to help us create a new Life Circle.
Meditation is a valuable tool for the addict. Quieting your mind and comfortably being with feelings in meditation leads to a much deeper, more organic, personal understanding of those feelings especially those sitting at the root of addiction.
Meditation offers an alternative to running away from our problems and to self-medicating them. It is said that it easily to run away from our problems rather than to face them. However, eventually the do catch up to use.
Meditation urges us to know the nature and meaning of our feelings as opposed to simply medicating them. Meditation allows us to change our habitual ways of thinking, provides critically important insight into the nature of our thoughts and allows us to change the way we view our challenges and choices. This change is what helps us find and stay with our new Circle of life.
Other forms of therapeutic energy work may include Reiki, Yoga, Massage, Hands-on Anointing, Pranic Healing, Breathwork, Tantric Ritual through Breath, Movement and Sound.
Safety is the most important concern in any program and especially with experiential activity. Not only should every professional observe participants, so should every participant have a ‘peer to peer’ observation for any possible dangers, and plan a means to avoid injuries.
Bibliotherapy will be used when appropriate, to share and identify in personal growth and healthy self-development. Initiatives might be utilized so each member will actively seek to learn, discover, and experiment to development healthy patterns and life skills building.
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adventure Based Counseling Philosophy, and Red Road philosophy including other combinations of Philosophies will be used to insure each member is respected, honored, and provided a safe environment for the continuing development of recovery tools which each member can apply in their daily living.
Adventure Based Counseling Philosophy: ‘Challenged by Choice’ is used to encourage and challenge each group member, and does not allow for peer pressure. It assists the participants to identify their boundaries, evaluate safety, and challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones when it would improve the quality of their lives; providing feelings of success, and developing techniques applicable to their individual life style.
Adventure Based Counseling Philosophy: ‘Full Value Contact’ will be reinforced to increase self-confidence, develop leadership skills, discover power of group cooperation, and learn how to view obstacles, as opportunities for growth.
Each member will be able to be honest and develop kindness towards self and other members of the group. This allows each member to participate in the group process, group discussions, and to identify spirituality components as it relates to every day life.
Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used as the principle strategy, as well as other techniques will be used as part of the foundation. A wide range of strategies and techniques will be used along with clinical intervention using concepts that focus on the Member’s conscious thinking process, motivation, and reasons for certain behaviors.
Length of Stay
The program length is flexible according to individual needs ranging typically from 30 to 90 days. Most of our therapeutic activity occurs in the serene, inspiring environment of the red rocks of Sedona or a combination of indoor and outdoor activities and is specifically designed for comfort and a true sense of security, understanding, and an environment conducive to personal revitalization.
Natural Therapeutic Environment
Nestled in the high desert of Arizona, we take full advantage of our unique riparian environment, Native American sites and influences, and panoramic mountain views set in one of the world’s most serene, stunning, and inspiring backdrops the Red Rocks of Sedona.
Though our daily therapeutic ventures occur in some of the world’s most awe-inspiring and serene outdoor backdrops, the Red Rocks of Sedona and peaceful Oak Creek we believe your indoor living environment should be equally as inviting and conducive to personal restoration, with its stunning array of red sandstone formations, the Red Rocks of Sedona, appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits
**Key Note: Creator gave many ways to connect with one another from many cultures and we can use it to help heal others and ourselves, so honoring the importance of sharing is meaningful. No one can take your spirituality from you. However, you can renew and remain intact with your spirituality with that of the Creator and the Grandmother, by reconnecting with the Spirit of the Grandmother.