Chase Sewall, Wilderness Treatment Program
Chase Sewall discusses the program at Wilderness Treatment Center in Montana and how it helps young men and teens struggling with addiction. Their 21-day wilderness trek lets patients use the skills they are learning and begin to apply them to a sober life.
Gina Thorne: Hello, everyone, this is Gina Thorne. Welcome back today to the Lakeview podcast series. I’m joined today by Chase Sewall, manager of business development for the Wilderness Treatment Center out in Marion, Montana. Welcome, Chase.
Chase Sewall: Thank you. How are you?
Gina: Good, good. Well, we’re really glad to have you here at Lakeview today. Could you tell some folks a little bit about what the Wilderness Treatment Center is?
Chase: Yeah, absolutely. Wilderness Treatment Center, we’re in our 30th year this year, and are an addiction treatment program for males ages 14-24. It’s a 60-day program and what makes us so unique is the fact that we combine the more traditional inpatient treatment approach along with a wilderness expedition.
Gina: So, they’re actually out in the wilderness with you guys, like going in tents and things like that?
Chase: It’s a true wilderness experience. We take them out for 16-21 days, depending on the time of year.
Gina: And so, depending on the time of year, you wouldn’t be doing it in like, the middle of January, necessarily.
Chase: We are doing it in the middle of January, but those trips are shorter in length. They’re doing less hiking. They’re on skis and pulling their packs on sleds.
Gina: So, tell me a little bit about what kind of process work they would be doing with you guys if they would be out doing that wilderness treatment.
Chase: Well, I think, one of the things that makes us really unique is the fact that when our guys are out on that wilderness expedition, basically it’s a therapeutic backpacking trip, and all the groups are accompanied with a field guide as well as a licensed clinician. So, they are still doing groups while they are out there. They’re processing things while they’re on the trail. They’re doing 12-step meetings in the woods.
Gina: And they stay out there for how long?
Chase: For 3 weeks.
Gina: So, they’re literally out in the woods for 3 weeks. I don’t think I could do that. I like my showers too much. I don’t know if I could do that. So, tell me a little bit more about some of the other activities they might be doing out there.
Chase: Well, they’re working on leadership skills. We really try to combine all the legacies of unity, service and recovery. So everybody gets the opportunity to be leader of the day, and they learn that the group comes before themselves. Our founder used to always talk about that ‘you can’t cheat the trail,’ and I think the fact that for the wilderness, a lot of our guys, it’s just as foreign as living life sober. So they’re coming out of that more traditional 30-day treatment, and they’re getting that opportunity to practice the stuff that they’ve been working on in treatment. So, the fact that it’s a stressful, uncomfortable environment, but it’s still a safe environment, where they’re with a therapist and they’re able to process these things really allows our guys to come out of treatment really well prepared. They’re understanding about how to approach life sober.
Gina: Is there a certain type of person that would be appropriate for your program? Obviously male, but what kind of male would you be looking for?
Chase: A lot of times, an immature male. The fact that we treat ages 14-24; a 24-year-old who maybe has a job, living on his own, wife, that probably wouldn’t be the right one for us. But the one that’s acting more like a 16-year-old. Can’t hold a job, maybe living at home with his parents, stealing money-that might be the right 24-year-old for us.
Gina: And if you had somebody that was listening today who you think would benefit from your program, what kind of advice would you give them, to move them to call to action, to make that call?
Chase: I would definitely suggest checking out our information. We can be found online at www.wilderness-therapy-program.com . Or you can Google us. All of our information is out there. We’ve been in existence for 30 years, family owned and operated.
Gina: So, there’s definitely a place, a unique place for people to go to if they want to experience the real world versions of what recovery would look like in the natural environment, and your place seems like a really neat opportunity for them to get that exposure.
Chase: Absolutely. And the fact that we get a lot of guys who have either done other programs just wouldn’t do well in a more traditional type program approach, that young male that, really struggles with sitting in a school-type setting, that needs something . Because the first part of treatment-we’re on a fully functioning ranch, in the treatment center building, the guys stay in cabins. We’re located on 4,000 acres, so it’s really a different type of environment than a hospital-type program or something like that where that young adolescent or young adult would thrive.
Gina: That’s great. So, you’ve been to Lakeview for a little bit now, so what would you tell people if you were to describe our program?
Chase: I think it has exceeded my expectations. I’ve heard great things about Lakeview and know some people that work here and coming and putting my eye on it has been an awesome experience, seeing the staff has been really friendly. They’re doing a lot of great renovations, I’ve seen what that’s going to look like and I’m real excited to see that. Have a great program. I really enjoyed coming and visiting and am excited to continue to see what they’re doing .
Gina: Great. Thank you, Chase. Well, we’re really happy that you were able to stop by. Again, can you let people know if they wanted to get in touch with you, how would they do that?
Chase: You guys can look us up online. Also our phone number for our intake department is (406) 854-2832, and you can look us up online at www.wilderness-therapy-program.com.
Perfect. And for those of you that are interested in learning more about Lakeview, you can visit us at LakeviewHealth.com. Or if you know someone that’s struggling with substance abuse and they need help right away, please ask them to call 866.704.7692 . Thank you.