In this initial stage, a deep commitment is made to the identification and unconditional acceptance of the emotional wounds participants have accumulated as by-products of traumatic or deeply painful experiences they have suffered over the course of their lives. Unconditional acceptance is an ideal rooted in its counterpart, unconditional love, and is dependent upon the recognition and acknowledgment that emotional scarring for one may be foreign to another and vice versa. For this reason, an expansive capacity for empathy must be cultivated as an order of the first priority.


Many young participants come to the Project, having never been fully heard. Still, others find themselves trapped in a prison of unyielding emptiness and have not given a moment's consideration to the origins of their overwhelming sense of disconnectedness. Whatever the case may be, the responsibility of the program’s first healing principle begins in service as guides on the path toward freedom, in providing a safe and loving space to find the voice lost in a world of apathy, and in the provision of an authentic experience of communicating the darkness within. The principle of healing hearts is the foundation upon which the entire nine-month Radical Freedom Program is built.


What does the Healing Hearts principle look like in real terms, as participants enter the Crestone Freedom Project facility and commence their journey? The initial phase begins with Love & Acceptance Programming sessions, where each participant will be loved unconditionally and accepted as they are.  These sessions lead to Trauma Recall Writing classes. Here students begin the process of expressing themselves in written form. For those who find speaking in groups to be intimidating, writing can be a more private and contemplative form of acknowledging their deepest emotions. Papers produced in Trauma Recall classes will eventually be shared by participants in group settings to be processed and openly discussed.


At this stage, incoming residents are also introduced to a variety of healing modalities, which fit each individual‘s needs and preferences. Treatment schedules are tailored to best serve them in their recovery. Needs assessments are based upon a personal understanding of the student’s life, mental and emotional health, and the nature of their substance use disorder. Direct input from each new participant, regarding the balance of their treatment plan, is highly encouraged. The Project’s goal is to heal, not to force an agenda. If any part of the programming feels forced, the Radical Freedom Program loses its power and overall impulse toward complete and lasting freedom. This fact is particularly true of treatments used to aid in recovery from traumatic or painful life experiences.


“The power of love doesn't know the word "impossible." Action combined with love can transform dreams into reality” 

~ Debasish Mridha MD ~

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