Overcoming struggles with addiction isn’t ever an easy feat—and naturally, the best processes for addressing it are often pretty unconventional too. For Roy DuPrez, the founder and CEO of Back2Basics Outdoor Adventure Recovery in Flagstaff, it’s this mindset that has not only saved him on his own journey with sobriety, but also allowed him to empower others as well.
Back2Basics Outdoor Adventure Recovery relies on hands-on therapy approaches and immersive, outdoor programs to support those who are working to overcome their own obstacles regarding addiction. The nationally-acclaimed program—which works with young adult men, aged 18 to 30—combines experiential outdoor adventures and retreats with a thoughtful addiction treatment program that aims to guide young men to a healthier, more well-rounded lifestyle.
“At Back2Basics, we focus more on a comprehensive experience. We facilitate two programs into one. Our outdoor expeditions and life skill training work in tandem with our traditional therapy modalities,” says DuPrez. “Different people need different things to inspire them, and our goals are to give participants more exposure to opportunities that can inspire and help the individual build the tools to maintain a long-term, successful sober lifestyle.”
With Back2Basics being based in Flagstaff, the program allows for those enrolled to feel fully immersed in the tranquil, secluded nature of Northern Arizona’s lush woods.
Fabulous Arizona had the opportunity to connect with Back2Basics founder and CEO, Roy DuPrez, to ask him about his own journey with sobriety, the power of alternative therapy approaches and what the future holds for the company.
How would you define or explain wilderness/outdoor rehabilitation to people who might not be familiar with it?
Back2Basics Outdoor Adventure Recovery executes outdoor rehabilitation as an immersion into the wilderness to provide experiences away from the triggers and distractions that can contribute to active addiction. When you immerse anyone in a pristine and inspirational natural environment, you have an opportunity to take in what’s possible, away from the stresses of active addiction. The outdoors provides our clients with the chance to step away, while also enhancing the necessary traditional clinical setting and work on recovery in tandem for a more comprehensive experience—better ensuring a successful outcome.
I understand that a lot of your own experiences with addiction (as well as with recovery through hiking) inspired you to launch your own recovery center in Back2Basics. How fulfilling is your work now knowing that you’re able to provide an outlet for others who have found themselves in similarly difficult situations?
I feel so lucky that I am motivated to participate in newer experiences and live a fuller life as a result—all possible through being in active recovery. I am fortunate that I get to help and try to engage others to move forward with their lives, while also addressing a life previously compromised by active addiction. It’s been such a gift to see Back2Basics alumni develop in different directions over the years—becoming licensed therapists themselves, starting career paths, contributing to their own families and just doing things that “normal” well-adjusted people do is the best part of my job. I am so grateful to see people respond positively to our treatment model at Back2Basics.
And when you were navigating those struggles with addiction, what exactly inspired you to turn to hiking or immersing yourself in the outdoors to cope with it?
I am a product of my environment and hiking and accessing the outdoors makes it easier when you live in a beautiful mountain town like Flagstaff. Various outdoor expeditions are the low-hanging fruit in this town as far as things to do, and it was something I was interested in before I got sober. Sobriety didn’t inspire my appreciation but it made it easier to consistently engage with it more frequently and in a meaningful way. I will be honest, if I lived in a big city I might have never found a love for the outdoors, but I was immersed in a town with an amazing outdoor dynamic so wilderness adventures just seemed like a no-brainer that I was drawn towards. Dealing with my own alcoholism compromised me physically and the new expeditions that I was pushing for gave me something to build on throughout my now 20 years of sobriety. Over time, I could feel myself going farther and farther each expedition. The outdoors helped me learn to organize my time, while also giving me the improved physical capacity and the internal drive to achieve my goals in all areas of my life.
What sets Back2Basics apart from other rehabilitation or treatment centers of this kind?
At Back2Basics, we focus more on a comprehensive experience. We facilitate two programs into one. Our outdoor expeditions and life skill training work in tandem with our traditional therapy modalities. Different people need different things to inspire them, and our goals are to give participants more exposure to opportunities that can inspire and help the individual build the tools to maintain a long-term, successful sober lifestyle. Some participants may not always be motivated intense hiking trips initially but may respond really well to our food and nutrition programs. We don’t want to pigeonhole someone into a treatment plan they won’t respond to at all, but we facilitate our patients to connect with their treatment experience in many different ways. Our goal is to show people that there is more than one way to inspire and ours lives on a positive path and motivation for long-term recovery.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about this type of treatment center?
Many patients and their families think that treatment centers are holding stations where you keep someone for a certain amount of time and they will just “get better.” The truth is it requires a lot of dedication from staff and families involved. The individual seeking recovery hopefully is motivated enough to do the hard work needed to break old habits, keep a schedule and work to find the things that will help them be genuinely invested in recovery or whatever it takes to continue to help heal. Our model includes family workshops to help bridge an often severed relationship as a result of active addiction. Families participate weekly with their loved ones and are able visit for our family workshop weekends. Treatment is a family affair.
Looking ahead, how would you like to see Back2Basics evolve or grow as a company and community?
To be quite honest with you, I don’t want to grow. The most important goal at Back2Basics is to be effective with the population we work with and continue to have successful outcomes. We see about 40 patients per year for six months to one-year stays, and I think we are doing a good job. We are in a good place as far as seasoned and experienced staff, and we are not going to grow just to improve our bottom line. For me personally, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to offering individuals critical attention from a deadly circumstance.
For more information on Back2Basics, visit www.back2basics-soberliving.com.