Recover Strong

Our foundational program is a client-centered, strengths-based treatment approach for addiction recovery and other mental health issues. Recover Strong utilizes the neuroscience of physical movement with intense physical exercise to achieve neuroregeneration in a community setting. The effect of this process in the brain will support an improved capacity to handle stress, a reduction in symptoms of anxiety or depression, as well as improved cognition, social engagement, self-image, and self-esteem. As the foundational program in our treatment model, we have witnessed improved retention rates, which have a significant impact on addiction recovery success rates, group attendance, and community engagement, as well as minimal after hours patient vs. patient conflicts that require intervention. As a result, it's clear this program makes the community culture—increasingly more supportive. 

The Recover Strong program provides clients with a unique life changing experience which highlights—as well as showcases—their resiliency and inherent personal power for addiction recovery or mental health issues. Our substance use treatment program blends these proven mental health therapies and intense physical movement in a fun and challenging environment. Why does this process produce such incredible results?


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Movement...

is part of our evolutionary roots. A strong, capable and healthy physical body was necessary for survival in our early evolutionary time period. We actually evolved while we moved and exerted tremendous physical energy. Our brains are intricately linked to our physical bodies and it is this fact that allows this process to produce such incredible results. As John Medina states in his book Brain Rules;

 "All of the evidence points in one direction: Physical activity is cognitive candy. Civilization, while giving us such seemingly forward advances as   modern medicine and spatulas, also has had a nasty side effect. It gives us more opportunities to sit on our butts. Whether learning or working, we gradually quit exercising the way our ancestors did. Recall that our evolutionary ancestors were used to walking up to 12 miles per day. This means that our brains were supported for most of our evolutionary history by Olympic-caliber bodies. We were not sitting in a classroom for eight hours at a stretch. We were not sitting in a cubicle for eight hours at a stretch. If we sat around the Serengeti for eight hours—heck, for eight minutes—we were usually somebody’s lunch. We haven’t had millions of years to adapt to our sedentary lifestyle. That lifestyle has hurt both our physical and mental health. There is no question we are living in an epidemic of fatness, a point I will not belabor here. The benefits of exercise seem nearly endless because its impact is system wide, affecting most physiological systems. Exercise makes your muscles and bones stronger, improving your strength and balance. It helps regulate your appetite, reduces your risk for more than a dozen types of cancer, improves the immune system, changes your blood lipid profile, and buffers against the toxic effects of stress. By enriching your cardiovascular system, exercise decreases your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other disorders. When combined with the intellectual benefits exercise appears to offer, we have in our hands as close to a magic bullet for improving human health as exists in modern medicine.

― from "Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded): 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School p.31.

Designed to work...

recover strong designed to work

Historically, and experientially the nature of the addiction experience can be summarized as chronic failure. Failure to stop using, failure to become all those things that we desire so the people we love and care so deeply for will be proud of us, failure to achieve our inner desires, failure to be different than we are, failure to do what we say we will do, failure to measure up to a particular standard either set by ourselves or by those around us, failure to dream for our life, and failure to hold onto hope or a vision for a better life. Over time our hope is lost and what has replaced it is impending doom and a belief that we are not capable of change and for some that we are not worthy of a different way of life.

This belief is given life and made stronger each time we chronicle our experience and look at our efforts to either control, manage or stop altogether our destructive relationship with whatever chemical we are dependent on. Compounding this issue is what is happening chemically in the brain when a person with addiction is no longer actively using. Often, it appears that this individual is not motivated, experiences depression and anxiety, has an extremely sensitive stress response that creates a high potential for relapse and the addict is left with a general feeling of emptiness. When a person enters treatment this difficult and painful experience is further exacerbated by the very process of treatment. The suffering person is asked to endure long groups and is often  required to sit for long periods of time, asked to process painful and difficult experiences, and retain psycho-education material while using an overactive, highly stressed brain and a nervous system which is not capable of these tasks. The brain of a newly sober person requires stimulation and engagement not containment and restriction. The newly sober brain is confused, has difficulty firing, is often overactive and is constantly attempting to get itself back to the state it was in before the chemicals were removed. This situation is extremely uncomfortable, very stressful, and very difficult to endure. When a person is not able to “follow the rules” and adhere to “expectations” there are a host of responses that only contribute to the difficult process. What is required is the development of new pathways and improved connections within the brain itself. That is where the neuroscience of movement and intense physical exercises becomes paramount.

The Neurological Malfunction...

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Recover Strong views addiction as a neurological malfunction rather than any moral failure. Substance use is a chemical process in the brain. The brain has basically been tricked into a pattern of functioning where the brain views the substance as necessary for survival. This creates a pattern of over learning and attention to the substance that outweighs other patterns of thinking. To most of the world, especially those people such as loved ones and family members, the addict looks like they constantly make bad choices intentionally. The addict also appears uncaring to these people. The Recover Strong and Granite Mountain perspective considers this a situation where the addict fails to inhibit behavior that has become reflexive. The prefrontal cortex of an addict is not able to override actions despite knowing better. Motivation or lack of motivation is also related to brain chemistry and brain signals which depend on healthy and reliable pathways. Which is why attempting to improve motivation without considering the neuro-chemical process often leads to failure and the patient feeling like a disappointment and a failure. This is the entry point for the Recover Strong program.

The neuro-chemical process of exercise produces countless benefits for neuroregeneration, nervous system regulation, social engagement, improved self image along with improving cognitive capacity and problem solving skills. Recover Strong is considered a tool, much like medication is a tool to support the recovery process for the addict. The process of exercise is extremely beneficial because it works from both what is considered “the top down” and “bottoms up” approach. The “top down” approach relates to evidenced-based therapies like Cognitive Behavior Therapy which focus on thoughts, and beliefs, and begin in the area of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. The “bottoms up” approach relates to the limbic system and the brain stem. This area is the focus of anti-depressants. Intense physical exercise produces an effect in both areas of the brain simultaneously. Another extremely beneficial result are the growth factors that are produced during exercise which as Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey says, “are like miracle-gro for the brain”.

Growth factors are critical in helping the brain develop and fire new connections that are not related to addictive patterns. Recover Strong maximizes this biological process by incorporating cognitive strengthening exercises during the class, includes evidenced-based therapies when the brain is optimally primed for learning and developing new synapses and pathways, specific scheduling of treatment processes that align with the neuro-chemical effects of physical exercise. Some people may be asking if they need to be an athlete to benefit from this treatment model?

NO! This process does not require you to be an athlete. In fact, this process is accessible to all ages, body types and demographics. It actually works extremely well for the person who has neglected their physical body and is considered “out of shape”. This process requires only willingness to try something new and for a person to step outside their comfort zone and follow the guidance of experienced, compassionate, knowledgeable experts as they discover their inherent power and resiliency.

 

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Recover Strong utilizes the neuroscience of physical movement with intense physical exercise to achieve neuroregeneration in a community setting. The effect of this process in the brain will support an improved capacity to handle stress, a reduction in symptoms of anxiety or depression, as well as improved cognition, social engagement, self-image, and self-esteem.

Jason Turner spent years in the military before an alcohol addiction took over. Now he's sober and using CrossFit to help others get back on their feet, encouraging others to give it their all. And he's doing it as a Tillman Scholar. Preston Phillips introduces us.