Little Creek Story
I started LCL in 2007 because of an absolute need for a better extended care program. In the 1990s and early 2000s there were flop houses, sober houses and half way houses that didn’t offer quality care, “we were sending patients to flop houses and they were just relapsing all over the place”. A completely new wave of young adults had emerged from the opiate epidemic. How were we going to treat these people?
Treatment needed to evolve, and necessity was the mother of invention.
By 2004 it was pretty well known in our industry out West that extended care produced quite a different result in longer-term recovery. This trend slowly moved east. In 2007 we opened Little Creek. A movement in young adult recovery began to really gain momentum and the timing for our program was perfect. The conditions were right due to an epidemic of opiate, benzos and research drugs in the young adult population of America. The United States consumes 80 % of the world’s pain medication; we have an appetite for numbness.
Why only young adult men? For me, you can’t mix the sexes in extended care, its 3 months or more; it’s hard enough in Primary Care at 30 days. The young adult male population chose us, because of what we had to offer. A new program without containment throughout their whole stay of treatment.
This model fit the Little Creek dream, no more containment in treatment. Traditional treatment was in a building from admission to discharge, a horrible experience for the young adult person who was looking for a new experience. These guys were going to get out into the world while they were in treatment. A very new modality for the industry.
The void it filled was all encompassing for me. Twelve-Step based, adventure trek didn’t exist out here, and vocational and educational piece was not a real part of any program I was aware of east of the Mississippi. Our goal was create sober communities of young alumni outside of treatment, to mentor the emerging graduates.
We split our program days into three days a week of Adventure Trek and three days a week into Clinical Education.
In the adventure trek part of the program we utilize the seasons of the north east, summers are filled with river kayaking white water rafting, zip-lining, mountain biking fishing base ball games, basket ball volley ball and the list goes on. Winter its indoor rock climbing and skiing in Vermont, snow shoeing, or hiking, swimming at the YMCA or bowling. “The outings create a mental and physical push to strive for excellence, and it really is a great team and community builder”.
Music expressions, “The studio is a great place for residents to be creative and have the freedom to practice new things”. Sparking the creative process without the use of drugs or alcohol is a very important step in early recovery. Re-starting the imagination takes internal motivation, work, and coaching. One of the by-products of addiction is poor self-expression. There are also so many triggers associated with music and the world surrounding it. Playing music in a healthy environment is a new experience, and practicing self-expression while allowing thoughts to flow freely without fear can feel quite foreign at first.The process helps to provide feelings of accomplishment. There is great deal of satisfaction found in the experience of completing a task from beginning to end, and residents take pride in their successes. Music expressions and adventure trek bring the community together through their execution and exposure. So the two parts become a whole.
“When the community is well it dramatically increases the chances for recovery by helping the individual get well”.
My approach comes from the AA paradigm, which is a great example of a healing community.
We are a small family owned and operated treatment center that gives personal attention to each and every resident. Little Creek is very dedicated to family education from the day of entry to years after completion. We pride ourselves on our alumni and the sober community that we developed here in Northeast PA.
The Alumni have a firm commitment to a sober lifestyle and give back to our residents. Many of our parents have stuck together and attend family groups/meetings in their hometown areas, and still come up to our family groups on Sundays.