Personal growth isn’t easy, and humans are hardwired to take the path of least resistance. It can be painful to admit that you’re feeling stuck in a job you hate, struggling to pay for things you think you need but can’t afford, or contemplating ending a long-term relationship. And after a busy day at work or a long night studying for an exam, it’s much more comfortable to watch something on Netflix than it is to read a book about becoming a better person.
Sometimes people experience positive change because of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event, or post-traumatic growth. They develop a sense that new opportunities have emerged from the struggle, opening up possibilities that were not present before.
But Miles Adcox doesn’t think you have to hit rock bottom to change.
“Most people, unless you have some major consequence or life struggle, aren’t going to run toward deep personal work,” says Adcox, CEO of Onsite, an intensive workshop-based therapeutic and emotional wellness center and long-term residential trauma program designed to help people heal from trauma, experience breakthroughs and transform their lives. “I do my own work every year, but I naturally resist it. At Onsite, we’ve tried to flip the script for how people view personal growth work: Taking a deeper look at who you are and who you’re becoming isn’t what’s wrong with you; it’s what’s right with you.”
Moving from Rehab to Prehab
Onsite was formed in 1978 by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, the founding chairperson of the National Association of Children of Alcoholics and an expert in the fields of mental health, addiction and experiential therapy.
At Onsite, Wegscheider-Cruse adapted and expanded a therapy technique called family reconstruction, an active and dramatic tool to help people reclaim freedom of choice and self-worth, and addressed not only what happens to addicts and alcoholics but also what happens to their loved ones. The early programs and trainings focused on the effects of addiction and co-dependency on families and the family recovery process and helped people break the power of compulsive behaviors, revive their self-esteem, and develop relationship skills.
Wegscheider-Cruse passed the baton to Margie Zugich and Ted Klontz, who owned and ran Onsite through the middle years and moved it from Arizona to its current home in the scenic rolling hills of Tennessee just outside of Nashville. When looking for a successor, they wanted to find someone who would carry on the integrative family-system model and wouldn’t turn Onsite into a place where margins became more important than the mission.
At the same time, Adcox was looking for a way to integrate what he had learned about trauma and family work through his journey in the field of recovery, both personally and professionally. He wanted to create programs with diverse offerings that could help those struggling with mental health along with everyday people stuck or struggling with everyday stuff.