Eva Carlston Academy
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Group Spotlight: Substance 101

Many of our students have had issues with substance use. Their respective use varies in severity but what doesn’t vary very much is why our students use. I’ll explain more about that shortly. As these girls progress in the program and demonstrate investment in their own progress, we’ll have them join Substance 101 specialty group. For some students, Substance 101 is sufficient. For others, with more severe use histories, they’ll go through Substance 101 and then move on to our second stage substance group, Recovery.

Substance 101 is our introductory substance-use group, hence the “101.” In this group, the girls learn and practice coping skills to deal with life stressors, triggers, and cravings. They learn that their brains are magnificent and understand why adolescence (approximately 12-25 years-old, according to neuroscience) is such a critical period for brain development. They become familiar¬†with the way drugs and alcohol impact their brains and bodies. They figure out what their personal triggers are–especially unpleasant emotions–and how to deal with their triggers and cravings. They discuss the pros of using and also coldly confront the personal negative impacts of their use, on their academics, friendships, dreams, family, and most importantly, on themselves. They discover a clear understanding of why they used. They see that their use is often intimately connected to their efforts to meet emotional needs such as the feeling of acceptance, of being understood, of connection, power and control, and mastery. And often, they use in an effort to suppress unpleasant emotions.

By knowing and practicing these things, they’re better able to make decisions with foresight that lead to increased self-respect.