Aviation Program For Pilots

Alcoholism & Drug Addiction Treatment Program For Pilots


You’ve self-disclosed an alcohol or drug problem, or you’ve failed a drug test, and you’re no longer allowed to fly. The career you’ve worked so hard to build up seems in jeopardy, and the path back to the cockpit seems insurmountable.

At Cornerstone of Recovery, we understand that discouragement and that desperation, because we’re one of the few treatment facilities in the nation with a program specifically designed for pilots who have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Our Aviation Professionals Program is designed to treat your addiction and address its underlying causes, while helping you set the stage for a return to the sky through the Pilots HIMS Program (Human Intervention and Motivation Study).

Developed in 1974, HIMS was designed to give pilots affected by alcoholism and addiction a process through which they can receive treatment and successfully return to the cockpit under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Special Issuance Regulations (14 CFR 67.401). Before its implementation, the fear of job loss prevented many pilots from asking for help out of fear of losing their jobs, but today, the majority of those who receive treatment are successfully returned to duty. HIMS is a comprehensive process that involves company representatives, pilot peer volunteers, health care professionals and FAA medical specialists, and while it includes treatment methods that are applicable to all addicted individuals, it utilizes steps that are unique to the safety-sensitive airline industry. Some of those steps include:

  • Evaluation;
  • Comprehensive testing;
  • Referrals to a HIMS-trained Aviation Medical Examiner;
  • On-site COG screening;
  • Continuous care meetings for pilots treated through Cornerstone or who return to the East Tennessee area from other treatment programs;
  • In-depth pre-discharge HIMS preparation; and
  • Discharge planning that includes HIMS-compliant outpatient recommendations for follow-up care.

We've Been Helping Pilots Suffering From Addiction For Years

Cornerstone of Recovery’s reputation as one of the top treatment providers in the nation for aviation professionals has earned us a long-standing relationship with the FAA. Our Aviation Professionals staff members are familiar with specific HIMS treatment protocols, including reporting requirements for the industry and specific airlines, and our 30-day residential inpatient process allows patients, as a first step, to earn a special issuance medical certificate.

As part of the residential inpatient program, you’ll be immersed in both clinical and traditional approaches to drug rehab; our goal is to help you discover the root causes of your addiction and address past trauma that may play a role in your dependence on drugs and alcohol. We use both 12 Step and academic models of recovery, and as part of the larger Cornerstone community, you’ll take your recovery journey as part of a network of peers all seeking the same thing: freedom from active addiction and alcoholism. At the same time, you’ll take part in treatment that’s unique to pilots, all of it 100 percent HIMS-compliant and designed to meet all FAA protocols and requirements. Our staff members, therapists and counselors are all familiar with the HIMS process and work to help pilots meet the requirements necessary to return to the cockpit.

It’s a rigorous process, but know this: The Aviation Professionals Program was conceived by long-time members of the aviation industry who brought 40 years of experience to the table working with the FAA, airline companies and unions. We’ve treated a large number of pilots over the years, and because we’re just down the road from Knoxville’s metropolitan airport, we’ve helped change the lives of many right here in this area – some of whom act as program mentors for pilots from out of town who seek treatment at Cornerstone.

When you’re grounded, it may seem like the end of your career, but we can assure you, it’s anything but. Often, it’s the beginning of a journey toward a new way of life, one in which you’ll find a new you and a new outlook. In Cornerstone’s Aviation Professionals program, you’ll find all of the resources you need to overcome your addiction and return to the skies before you know it. And once you’re there, we’re confident you’ll see them through fresh eyes and with a perspective you’ve never had, thanks to recovery. Call us today and find out more information on how we can help.

Take A Quick Tour Of Cornerstone

Drug Alcohol Relapse Rehab

Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment Services

The Path To Recovery Starts At Cornerstone

Medical Detoxification can be a critical time in a patient’s journey toward recovery because the symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to manage and potentially life-threatening. A team of certified, competent and caring professionals work together to ensure that we provide the best medical care for our patients. The Medical Director prescribes detox medications to keep the patient safe and reasonably comfortable.

While receiving detoxification medications, patients also attend psychoeducational groups and experiential activities. However, detox patients are also given sufficient opportunity to relax and allow their bodies to begin the healing process. Patients on a detox protocol are monitored 24 hours a day and the typical length of detoxification is 3 to 5 days and may be longer depending on the severity of the patient’s withdrawal symptoms.

This unit is designed to support our patients as they enter treatment and begin to invest in their community of peers. An extensive battery of assessments is performed to identify the patient’s bio-psycho-social-spiritual strengths, needs, and barriers to recovery (such as chronic pain, dual diagnosis, trauma, or other co-occurring disorders). This comprehensive assessment process provides our medical and clinical teams with much of the information they need to build a treatment plan that is individualized for each patient.

Our NON-NARCOTIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM offers solutions that eliminate and or reduce the dependence on medications to treat pain and improve treatment outcomes. We are able to reduce pain and improve the recovery process. We offer sound information and teach skills that the patient can use to improve coping, relaxation, mindfulness, nutrition, and much more. Some of the modalities we use are Reiki, Rubenfeld Synergy, Acupressure, Mindful Stretching, and Addiction Free Pain Management Education.

We believe healing occurs through direct experience. Experiential activities amplify the traditional therapeutic
modalities that are part of our milieu. Fitness, Meditation, Relaxation Therapy, Yoga, Spirituality Groups, Ropes Course, Mindfulness, Art Therapy, Drumming Circles, and community outings are some components of experiential healing at Cornerstone. Patients who participate in experiential therapies report reductions

Family Therapy is an integral part of all of the clinical programs at Cornerstone. Early on in the treatment process, we conduct a Family Questionnaire which allows family members and close personal friends to have input that impacts the patients treatment plan. When appropriate, there are Family Therapy sessions throughout the treatment process. These sessions are designed to work through relationship issues, enhance communication, educate the family about the disease of addiction and provide them with emotional support while their loved one is in treatment. Through this support, the family will gain knowledge about the treatment process and how they may be unknowingly supporting the addiction through co-dependent and enabling behaviors.

Family members will learn about how to engage in personal growth and change through various 12 step programs, so that the family can heal together trough the recovery process. Cornerstone requires that each patient complete Family Fundamentals, an intensive three-day family program designed to provide intensive education, group therapy, family therapy, 12 step meeting experience, and an opportunity to repair the damage caused by active addiction. Family members are strongly encouraged to attend the Family Fundamentals program along with the patient. Cornerstone also has a weekly family education group for family members and an ongoing support group for parents of young adults who are struggling with addiction or who have recently entered recovery

The Continuous Care Program upholds Cornerstone of Recovery’s treatment philosophy that chemical dependency is a chronic incurable disease that requires the consistent and continued attention of each patient for a lifetime. Recent scientific studies of the disease process have determined that full remission from active addiction does not occur until an individual has experienced at least 18 months of continuous sobriety, long after most intensive treatment programs have concluded.

In response to this knowledge, the Continuous Care Program provides services for a period of at least 18 months following treatment, to ensure that each patient has the opportunity for professional support throughout the early stages of their recovery. During this time, patients are encouraged to practice the skills and tools they learned and developed in treatment as they find their way back
into their home, work, and social environments. They are able to talk with Recovery Coaches and therapeutically
process the ups and downs they experience in sobriety. Active participation in the Continuous Care Program is vital in establishing a lifelong, solid recovery plan.

The Support Living Facility (SLF) provides a safe environment for patients to continue to learn and practice self-management and interpersonal relationship skills while solidifying their recovery program. It can take several months for individuals to become comfortable enough in their recovery to successfully move away from the environment where they got sober. The SLF Program allows men and women to experience some of the freedoms they will experience after treatment while they are supported by thier peers, staff, and a sober environment. Staff monitors the community through regular contact, group therapy, spirituality groups, relapse prevention groups, drug screens, and random checks of the living quarters. Eventually, the patient is allowed to retrieve their cell phone, to leave the premises, operate a vehicle and obtain employment. The minimum length of stay is 2 months (while the individual concurrently is in the IOP Program). Patients often choose to stay in SLF longer while they continue to build their recovery network and become more comfortable with the life changes they’ve made.Typical length of stay varies from 2 to 6 months, depending on the patient’s clinical needs.


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