I had the opportunity to visit Jaywalker Lodge March 6-8. Nestled in Carbondale Colorado, a haven for outdoor activities, Jay Walker strides to integrate their men into the community so as to sustain lasting recovery.

Upon entering the Lodge, I was immediately welcomed. Staff unabashedly came up and introduced themselves, yet these welcomes transcend the wonderful team at Jaywalker into the entire Carbondale community who’s really supportive of the men that they come here for treatment and stay for recovery. The men attend a variety of classes in the community and access many different other services as needed.

Welcome & Caring

I had the privilege of meeting with staff, talking with them about some of the challenges they face with clients and their families and  exploring strength based solutions. I also attended a family dinner where families came from near and far for 4 days to join up and learn about addiction and mental health and the important role they have in the recovery process. I was struck with gratitude by the caring welcome I received, the exuberance of staff and their openness to share. This was an extremely synergistic visit as I learned how robust and innovative Jay Walker Lodge is.

As KC Gooding, Head of Business development shares, “We like to think of Jaywalker, as a wonderful Recovery community that is supported by high-level professionals, offering a wide variety of different therapeutic modalities and psychiatric support. Everything we do is relative to the primary goal of recovery.”

A Journey To Wellness

The average client at Jaywalker is 28- 40 years old and has had multiple treatment episodes. Clients tend to come from a more metropolitan area, and experience both substance abuse and mental health. Issues integral to their experiences are a myriad of outdoor activities, including expeditions and a cornerstone to treatment is Alcoholics Anonymous. Jaywalker is seen as a spiritual journey to health and wellness.

Overwhelmingly the most common characteristic of a person who enters Jaywalker is an individual who has done great at treatment, yet fares poorly when they are back in community hence they had great difficulties with recovery and integrating into everyday life. Mental health, as well as substance abuse, services are offered. Jaywalker has a well-rounded staff, including their own in-house psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse practitioner. Many of the staff are alumni, and have had firsthand experience with the road their clients are on. They serve as mentors to clients in Carbondale, and residents walk seamlessly back and forth.

As KC explains, “our guys  learn the value of being a part of something. There are over 40 organization clients volunteer at and do service work.“ Clients will most likely spend a year at Jay Walker and will experience 4 different 90 day programs. This is an “open community model of care”.

1. The Landing – Primary Residential Care – This is where clients start their journey do assessments an develop an individual care plan and inrteract with the care team.

2. THE LODGE – Is the core of their treatment and iss a “clinical multimodal approach to developing an authentic life. Here cthe men are able to learn to manage their symptoms, begin trauma work , reduce relapse triggers and learn coping skills to manage their substance abuse and mental health issues. Here they begin to “Develop recovery capital in the Carbondale community engaging in fun everyday activities as well a challenging outdoor expeditions.

Transitional living – Focuses on developing executive functioning skills plus must spend 20-30 hours a week working or going to school or volunteering

3. SOLUTIONS — Is a transitional 90 day program “which bridges the gap between intensive treatment and independent living”. As such it is “considered a stage 2 recovery model that aids clients in outpatient sober living. This stage is marked by increased community and outdoor activity, work, school, and community service. Solutions boast The Green Wood method of Career counseling which includes assessments, executive functioning and life skill coaching which allows clients to create a concrete action plan for their careers.

4. Outpatient and Sober Living – “Here men are able to practice their recovery skills while continuing in a program that is safe, therapeutic and encourages recovery.

5. Graduate Program – This is a recovery leadership program which allows clients to enhance their skills and includes ongoing therapy, weekly drug screenings, continuing case management, recovery groups and family work and to stay in close contact with the Lodge while living in the community.

It important to note that of the clients who complete a year at Jaywalker, 50 percent of them will stay and work in the region for two years or more.  Hence Jaywalker has a vibrant, and according to KC, one of the “most robust alumni programs in the country with over 400 Alumnus actively participating.”  Alumni can experience weekly meetings, monthly activities, quarterly expeditions and alumni are  actively engaged in a part of our program offering 12 step facilitation and support of our men at the Landing through sponsorship.

Most importantly, Jay Walker Lodge starts as a 90 day program and as noted many stay well past the 90 days The folks have time to grow, change and develop new habits which bring about lasting change. As stated earlier the men who come here have had many attempts to achieve sobriety and community success, and for one reason or another were not successful. Jaywalker helps them over time develop a blueprint for success which makes Jaywalker “a place where men come for treatment and stay for recovery.”