North Star is an intensive 32 to 35 day (or more) Residential (inpatient) treatment program designed to help Veterans learn skills and get sober enough to participate in the VA's evidence based (outpatient) Mental Health Wellness Recovery programs.
It is a given in the VA that alcoholism and drug addiction must be addressed before any substantive progress can be made in helping a Veteran recover from post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar, etcetera. North Star understands that many substance abuse issues are a direct result of other mental health issues such as PTSD. North Star launches Veterans mental health recovery by focusing on substance abuse issues and assisting veterans in developing and improving their aftercare opportunities.
Younger Veterans are often so engaged in readjustment issues that North Star can barely scratch the surface of true Recovery, much less. complicated coping skills, trauma recognition, and relapse prevention. At this stage, recovery is mostly defined as "Sobriety."
North Star is unique in the VA system as it conciously has incorporated numerous Native American healing modalities and techniques including drumming in a drum circle, group singing, creating an altar of "totems" (symbols of healing) in the main meeting room and even strictly voluntary "Sweat Lodges" where Veterans can experience a completly unique approach to healing. This Native American influence is known at North Star as "the spirit of the Crow."
"Crow is the guardian of ceremonial magic and healing. In any healing circle, Crow is present. Crow guides the magic of healing and the change in consciousness that will bring about a new reality and dispel "dis-ease" or illness. You can rest assure when ever crows are around, magic is near by and you are about to experience a change in consciousness.... When you meet crow, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step beyond the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world." http://www.birdclan.org/crow.html
North Star is often erroneously called The Eagles' Nest. It is certainly not common knowledge that the Eagles' Nest is a state of mind. It is not a temporal place: and is most certainly NOT at the Salt Lake City VA Building Three. It just seems that it is.
The confusion comes in because the Salt Lake City VA Building Three is where Veterans can learn to enter the Eagles Nest. Please believe The Eagles' Nest is a real place. When you find it, you will find many other Vets there; waiting for you.
This mental retreat is a pinnacle of safety and clear vision. Stress is far below. The Eagles' Nest is a spot reserved for the diligent student of Sobriety and Mental Wellness. You earn the right to enter the Eagles' Nest. You can't buy it. It's like climbing a mountain. It's not easy but it can be done by those not afraid of a little pain and mucho change. Once you get there; with a little effort, you can live there.
If you are interested in learning the way of the Crow and how to reach The Eagles' Nest you need to speak with Charlie Talcott Charles.Talcott@va.gov or Nick Price at Building Three. (801) 582-1565 or 1-800-613-4012. (When the computer answers, dial zero and ask for Charlie or Nick. ) These are the guys who declare you eligible or ineligible for treatment. Be nice to them. They are both good guys.
Veterans must be ambulatory, medically stable, capable of self-preservation in case of a disaster, capable of self-medication, and mentally able to understand treatment material. Priority consideration for admission to North Star is given to veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, then to fifty percent or more Service Connected Disabled veterans, then Service Connected veterans at less than fifty percent, then to veterans who live in geographically isolated areas and who have not received VA health care services during the past three or more years.
Right now (summer '10) capacity is limited to fifteen Veterans but soon, massive improvements to building three will more than double the number of Veterans that can be served. Staff is growing too. Now there are psychiatrists, psychologists, substance abuse counsellors, clinical social workers, a recreation therapist and a wonderful staff of helpful folks, like my friend William Weakly.
The Director of The Eagles Nest is
Dr. Deborah Robertson, PhD, LCSW (801) 582-1565 extension 2707
If you are very lucky, you will get to know the beating heart and soul of the Eagles Nest. Her name is Kym Coture. Kym is the one who Owns the Big Drum.
Recovery: What a concept!