For teenagers, one of the most significant casualties of substance abuse is the ability to have good old-fashioned fun. As part of the recovery process, they have to retrain their brains to find pleasure in "normally pleasurable things." To give students practice, we devote a significant amount of time each week to organized, purposeful recreation.
Because we're in the heart of Asheville, we can easily plug students into a broad range of activities. And because we're a small program, we can easily adjust our scheduled offerings in response to the interests of our population at any given time. Among other things, our students have regularly done the following:
play on local club teams (soccer, football, and lacrosse);
take music lessons and perform at local venues;
board and ride at neighborhood skate parks;
and backpack in surrounding forests.
And although we keep students plenty busy, we also build unstructured time into each day, so they can—alone or with peers—learn to follow their own inspiration, and create their own fun, in a supportive, safe environment. During their downtime, they have access to musical instruments, board games, basketball, volleyball, books, and art supplies; but they are also welcome to simply hang out and enjoy each other's company.