The In Balance Living program is designed with a three phase system allowing for gradual freedom, development, responsibility and success.
Phase one is the phase that lays the foundation for our residents to begin building a framework and support system to transition successfully to independent adulthood. While Phase 1 still maintains the standards and accountability of primary treatment, it is interwoven with the ideal that the resident is responsible to begin establishing himself in the work force, college or high school while still benefiting from the guidance and observation of his peer culture and In Balance Living staff. It is during Phase 1 a resident begins to practice a basic set of life skills such as grocery shopping and money management. The resident will also be re-integrated back into technology in a healthy and safe way. They have likely previously been removed from cell phones, FaceBook, computers and video games. They will be given these privileges from the outset and taught how to incorporate them into their lives in a balanced way. Our staff teaches these and many other life skills in a collaborative effort. Residents in this phase also attend ninety 12-step meetings in ninety days and work the first 4 steps of their chosen 12-step program- an integral part of the In Balance Living program. Included in the 90 meetings in 90 days is participation in our Intensive Outpatient program which acts to further aid in relapse prevention skills, social support and a well-rounded recovery life. The Intensive Outpatient program entails them attending two groups per week for a total of 21 sessions and is included in the monthly tuition rate. Please feel free to visit our Intensive Outpatient Program's website; www.inbalancecontinuum.com/outpatient. During this phase the resident also meets with an individual therapist one hour a week and participates in a minimum of one monthly family session, or more if indicated, usually via phone. During this phase, approved family home visits are a maximum of 5 days long, including travel days. A resident must wait 6 weeks upon arrival at In Balance Living for his first approved home visit in order to give him the best opportunity to fully settle and become assimilated to his new living situation here. This phase is a minimum of 90 days.
Having established a degree of accountability within the initial development of phase one, residents at In Balance are then moved to phase 2 where they are given additional trust and freedoms that parallels new responsibility. Some of the freedoms reintroduced to the resident include, but are not limited to: balancing a social life with a busy school and work schedule, dating and owning and maintaining an automobile if that is part of the plan.
On this phase residents can expect to gain increased life-skills to prepare them for independence, to be held to a higher standard of leadership in the community and through the 12-step model they are working, begin addressing and rectifying mistakes made during their active addiction. Phase 2 permits home visits for up to 7 days, has an extended curfew for residents and fewer limitations which allows for more opportunity to practice responsibility, accountability, life-skills and demonstrate his personal growth. Up to this point, most residents have been able to put a majority of their focus into getting acclimated to their recovery. We will now shift the focus to creating, balancing and thriving within a full and balanced life. They will begin to learn to effectively balance work, school, dating, maintaining friend and family relationships and fun- all while keeping recovery as a priority.
This is the most important Phase and often what our residents have spent their most recent time in treatment striving for- Independence with a safety net. We recognize leaving a structured environment all together is most likely the scariest step for the resident and family as the reins are fully being handed over to them for the first time in sobriety. Everything we do as a program from day one is geared towards preparation for this step. At Phase Three, residents are asked to manage their own lives, create their own schedules, exercise independent living, but still be accountable to staff for their actions. In this manner, we can watch, support, intervene and redirect residents when they may struggle with their independence and direct them back on the course of recovery, balance and responsibility. They are allowed the utmost freedom, with the protective net, observation and support of the staff to catch them should they struggle and need help. It is imperative that the launch from a treatment setting to full independence is successful and therefore we are committed to assisting with every step of it- even beyond a resident’s graduation. There are up to six follow-up sessions with a resident’s assigned therapist after a resident graduates that are included in the cost of tuition. The assigned therapist will continue to be available to the family and resident for as long as necessary.
As people in recovery make the transition into college and working life, it is vital to maintain and enhance his personal insight into his recovery and other personal issues. Outside stressors are abundant; as a recovering person, it is a wise to have someone to help understand and deal with them. This is where continued therapy is essential. Our therapists have experience with addiction, mental health and co-occurring disorders, family work, and several other issues that may be presented. Therapy here is less focused on a young person’s past and the entire family system and more focused on building a resident’s life and all that entails. We will conduct once a month family therapy sessions. If there is some sort of crisis going on this may be temporarily increased. We also send bi-weekly email updates to the family members. If there is an urgent matter that requires immediate attention, our therapists and program director are always on call and able to be reached. We do encourage all parents to meet with their own therapists at home and to attend Al-Anon or Family Anonymous Meetings.
In addition to individual therapy, residents participate in a weekly community meeting where residents and staff share their concerns and appreciations for other residents. Most staff members attend this meeting, including the program director, program manager and all therapists. This is a time in which the entire community comes together and builds unity around challenges that may be occurring with individuals or within the community. If a resident is having any difficulties, typically someone in the community has experienced what he is going through and can give him helpful feedback. Additionally, a resident will have interactions with therapists in the Intensive Outpatient program. Residents attend In Balance intensive outpatient groups twice a week throughout the duration of phase 1 that focus on relapse prevention, substance abuse education, and group and experiential therapy to promote a healthy and well-rounded recovery. In addition to therapy, each resident works closely with staff that have over 50 years combined experience in recovery and with the 12-step model, some of them being graduates of the Transitional Living Program themselves! Residents are required to attend ninety 12-step meetings in first ninety days during their phase one of the program and maintain a working relationship with a sponsor of their choosing. All of this is focused on the resident achieving and maintaining mental health and wellness; allowing them to continue in their quest for sober living. A primary is also assigned to each resident and is a Life Coach designated to meet with the resident weekly to track his 12-step work, his physical health and activity, to review his bank account and spending and to review his overall mental health. The Primary then reports this information to the clinical team once a week. So, in any given week, a resident will meet with his therapist, the Intensive Outpatient therapist, his sponsor, the program director and his primary. This ensures the residents are constantly supported and that we have a collaborative perspective as to how they are doing. This provides very individual attention.
The Twelve Steps
An integral part of life at In Balance Living is the practice and application of the 12-step process towards the challenges and difficulties faced by each resident. The 12-step programs are a tried and true method boasting over three million recoveries for those that are willing and able to practice these regularly as a 'design for living.' We have seen time and again the power that is found in a young person discovering others who, like himself, had felt defeated by but who has found a community of like minded persons who share the same problems, and more importantly, the same solution. A common myth is that the 12-step program is based on a religious premise. This is not true nor is it a requirement to subscribe to any religion or belief in God in order to work a 12-step program. The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous states "We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. It’s main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem." The 12-step program is a program by which its members stand to learn how to live a principled life and gain tools in order to do that. We have found that no matter what the extent of someone’s using was they will gain an abundance of tools for living from the program. It also is a program that exists not only throughout the country but throughout the world. This is what helps to make a young person’s recovery transferable once leaving a treatment setting. It provides them with healthy social outlets and friends wherever they go after treatment. Many college campuses now have 12-step meetings and this is a wonderful way for young people to find other sober people in college.
"Working the 12-steps has made me grateful for all my past decisions….had it not been for those choices, I‘d have never discovered the beauty of what can be found in the 12-step process."
- Former In Balance Living resident
An essential component of independent living and ongoing success in adult life are the every day practical skills of managing a daily life routine. In Balance Living teaches a variety of life skills to residents to ensure the greatest chance of success for living independently. We understand from the young men we work with that while in the grips of their disease and detached from normal living, they had often neglected their responsibilities and were absent from opportunities that ordinarily would serve as the building blocks to mature into adulthood. At In Balance, the goal is to provide those opportunities, to impart healthy disciplines in a helpful and supportive atmosphere. The curriculum for Life Skills ranges from managing personal banking and finance, creating budgets and learning how to live within their means, planning grocery shopping on a budget for a healthy balanced diet, physical exercise with trainers, hygiene, basic plumbing and auto maintenance, ethics building activities, how to change your oil or fix a flat tire, how to invest and build your credit, etc.
"Life skills group made some of the struggles and challenges of living on my own far easier after my stay at TL. I was sort of afraid as to how things would go when I got out on my own, but with the help offered things have gone smoothly."
- Former In Balance Living resident
In Balance Living offers the opportunity to develop life skills necessary for independent, sober living. Group life skill sessions are held weekly to address specific needs and offer experience with a subject the community is having difficulty with or a subject the residents express interest in learning more about. Our life skills sessions cover everything from how to enter a bank and open a checking account, how to balance and manage your finances, to how to shop for food at the local grocery store and prepare a meal in their own kitchens. Our residents are given an opportunity to practice the game of life in a forgiving and understanding atmosphere that is preparing them to utilize the same skills necessary for success when they are playing the game on their own. Often times the challenge they are faced with is how to live and use basic life skills outside of a rigid structured environment that manages their time and their decisions. Transitional Living is often their first experience at participating in the work force or attending school sober. Our Life Skills program is designed to benefit our young people by preparing them for living with independence. We are committed to building a foundation for them to create whatever successful life they desire. These valuable lessons cover a wide range of real life scenarios that our young people experience while here at Transitional Living.
One of the remarkable aspects of In Balance Living is the long lasting bonds that are formed within the walls of the program Our approach to building a community based on mutual trust, emotional safety, and spiritual principles has fostered an atmosphere that teaches young men how to maintain and preserve lasting friendships in a supportive and empowering way that surely will span decades.
Utilizing our three leveled stem, our newer residents are mentored in to the program from older and more seasoned members of the community. It is through their demonstration of patience and trust that a new footing of life becomes possible, that the new members might in time take their turn to model and uphold living in integrity.
On the occasion where past residents have fallen short and fallen into relapse, the efforts to reclaim and give aid to their fellow peer in the program have often been spearheaded by the residents themselves who truly know what it means to give of themselves and be on the key to salvation for each other.
Many of our past residents have ultimately gone on to be housemates, travel the globe together, or remain in touch along their individual paths. Once per year our alumni travel back to share tales and laughter on our alumni ski weekends.
The bonds of our common challenge of living a sober life with the addition of a common experience and the benefits of sharing a way out are the building blocks for the unique and spiritual brotherhood that we work with every day at TL.
"The kinds of friends I had and the types of people I was hanging around with in my using had no respect for me or my parents. I don't think they cared about my well being at all....it was all about what they could get from me or me from them. When I first came to In Balance, I was still pretty afraid of what people thought of me, and still was trying to be something I was not. What changed was I had roommates that I used to stay up with at night, talking about who we were, and what we could become. I trusted them and after some time began to confide in staff also. The people I have met at In Balance I am in touch with to this day, and are guys I care as much about as I do my family"
- Former In Balance Living resident
Health, Fitness and Nutrition:
In Balance Living recognizes that a strong recovery includes wellness of body and spirit. Accordingly, residents have access to a 24-hour workout facility that meets the needs of all fitness levels. The monthly membership costs are already included in the monthly tuition. Amenities include, but are not limited to, a weight room, cardio room, tennis courts, swimming pools, hot tub, sauna, basketball courts, racquet ball, volleyball, and a variety of classes. Additionally, Tucson offers many opportunities for other activities including rock climbing, hiking, bicycling, and various intramural leagues.
Complementing the emphasis on physical fitness there is a strong focus on nutrition as we believe it is vital to a well-rounded recovery. Residents are guided in their meal planning and grocery shopping as well as educated on nutrition weekly by our life coaches and our healthy eating staff.
"I always liked to snow board growing up in Oregon, but I couldn't do that regularly here in Tucson. So, many of the guys at TL and the staff did Jujitsu and they all loved it- I didn't think I would. I went with them one day and had the best time! I thought physical activity had to be basketball or the gym and I was wrong. I loved the camaraderie, I loved the action and I went from loathing working out to doing it 3 times a week. That wouldn't have happened if I wasn't encouraged to try new things at TL."
- Former In Balance Living resident
Education and Job Opportunities:
In Balance Living strongly encourages each resident to find the path that best suits their passion to meet their goals for their future whether it is college or the work force. These goals are usually discussed between the resident and family. During a resident’s stay at In Balance Living, he may choose to attend the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, or another school that fits his educational needs as either a full or part-time resident. We are here to assist with any part of the process involved with enrolling in school. This includes such things as registering for classes, choosing classes, and arranging for tutoring. If a resident decides he does not want to go the educational route, he will be encouraged to participate in some kind of vocational training that will enable him to get a job once he completes the training. There are several options in Tucson, and we are happy to help residents as they go through the process. Pima Community College offers non-credit classes for any special interests residents may have including photography, culinary arts, and others. If a resident has high school credits he needs to finish, we are able to assist him with that as well. The residents that fit into this category meet with a certified teacher 9 hours per week that will organize their transcripts, determine what credits remain in order to obtain a high school diploma and order the classes they need to complete. The teacher will then provide individual tutoring and assistance to the resident on the classes he is working on. The high school option is an additional monthly fee. (See TL high school costs.) If the work force is the chosen direction, we help create resumes and perform mock interviews with the residents so they are as best prepared for the adult world as possible.
In Balance Living is centrally located and is near the University of Arizona, Pima Community College and a variety of local businesses, providing for a convenient commute for residents who choose to attend college or obtain employment.
Volunteer and Service Opportunities:
In Balance Living believes strongly that one essential component to maintaining a healthy recovery and viewpoint is being of service to others within our community, the greater Tucson community and the 12-step fellowship community. It is through our own efforts of self sacrifice and the willingness to reach out to those around us that we achieve a sense of direction and purpose. It is the essential aspect of altruism in recovery.
The activities and service work we do at In Balance Living is diverse and hands on. We work with animal rescue operations in the area, we work along side refugees from other continents to help them assimilate to life in the United States, we assist the University of Arizona in its Agricultural school by working on it’s farm. The most celebratory volunteer effort is our holiday Christmas drive for less fortunate Tucson families in need. Last year, the residents, their families, staff and outside community were able to raise $18,000.00 for families in need over the holidays.
Positive Peer Culture
In Balance Transitional Living is based on Larry K. Brendtro’s Positive Peer Culture.
PPC is defined as; "PPC is a peer-helping model designed to improve social competence and cultivate strengths in youth. "Care and concern" for others (or “social interest") is the defining element of PPC. Rather than demanding obedience to authority or peers, PPC demands responsibility, empowering youth to discover their greatness. Caring is made fashionable and any hurting behavior totally unacceptable. PPC assumes that as group members learn to trust, respect, and take responsibility for the actions of others, norms can be established. These norms not only extinguish antisocial conduct, but more importantly reinforce pro-social attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Positive values and behavioral change are achieved through the peer-helping process. Helping others increases self-worth. As one becomes more committed to caring for others, he abandons hurtful behaviors."
Our goal is to give the young men a social, fun college-age experience. Many compare our brotherhood to a Sober Fraternity. A group of young men, actively looking for fun things to do in town, who always have each other’s backs.