Substance Abuse Counseling and Self-help Programs

  • AA - The Gull Group meets weekly on Thursday nights, with attendance taken. Outside volunteers may attend as well as BCF residents. In addition, there is a Sunday night meeting, with no attendance taken, for men who want more AA interaction and are not concerned about attendance records (see AA Furlough Program below).
  • NA - The Y2K group meets weekly on Wednesday nights. Outside volunteers attend along with BCF residents.
  • AA Furlough Program - Residents who attend at least three in-house meetings and meet all other requirements may attend AA meetings in the local area. Volunteer drivers provide transportation to these meetings.
  • Individual Counseling - Because of the ratio between the substance abuse counselor and clients, and the number of groups run by the counselor, individual counseling is provided on a limited basis to any resident who requests it. This counseling includes crisis, monitoring, case management, and referral to other providers both in and out of the prison system.
  • Group Counseling - There are several group programs offered by the Substance Abuse Department at BCF.
    • Bottom Line - a mandatory group for all new residents, which provides an orientation to the facility, the department, and programs available to all residents. It also serves as a "Motivational Interviewing" opportunity to allow residents the chance to begin or continue the rehabilitative process.
    • Drop-In - a weekly opportunity for residents to drop in to the department for discussion of whatever topic participants may bring; also, films may be shown.
    • Film & Discussion - run by the MSP counselor one evening per week, this is comprised of the showing of a recovery-related video and following discussion. The group generally runs from six to ten weeks.
    • Addictions 101 - an educational program six weeks long, delivered by residents supervised by the Substance Abuse Counselor. It explores the process of addiction, the process of recovery, and the process of relapse.
    • Journey Toward Recovery© - a three-part relapse-prevention program in increasing levels of motivation and intensity.
      • Return to Self (Phase One) – delivered in twelve once-a-week sessions, this is a didactic psycho-educational program addressing such topics as Boundaries, Stress Management, Feelings and Communication, Shame, Trauma, the Nature of addiction, Decision-Making, and other relapse/recovery issues and dysfunctional behaviors. This is a closed group.
      • Focus on Change (Phase Two) – the next level, strictly voluntary, for those residents who are motivated to continue their own explorations of addiction and other dysfunctional behaviors. This group was developed because of prisoner demand and is presented more as a seminar, depending on more participation by residents. It explores more fully the topics developed in Return. It is also a closed group, twelve weeks in length. Participants must have completed Return to Self.
      • Moving Forward – this highly motivated group is open to any resident who has completed the previous two levels, with interpretation of this requirement lying with the counselor. This is a group with a high level of trust, facilitated by one of the group members with the counselor in attendance. The group allows men to continue a formal program beyond the normal offerings of the department and may address issues pertinent to members whose time is growing extremely short. Unlike the other programs except for Drop-In Group, this is a non-certificate program.
      • Journey Toward Recovery© utilizes Con Game©, a unique therapeutic game which allows for exploration of values, attitudes, and beliefs around substance abuse and other dysfunctional behaviors, and puts the responsibility for change directly onto the shoulders of participants. Return to Self uses the Correctional Edition of Con Game ©, while the next levels use the Men's Group Edition.
The Substance Abuse Department works closely with all other facets of BCF and maintains contact with outside sources.

There is a strong volunteer network which provides valuable service to the department staff; these dedicated individuals are honored every August at the annual Gull Group Barbecue.

The resident Substance Abuse Counselor is an active member of the Unit Management Team. In addition, he provides four hours of training to all newly-hired staff members, and also runs two Return to Self groups at the Maine State Prison.