In 1992, the Navajo Nation partnered with Zuni Pueblo and local and state government to establish the Na’Nizhoozhi Center in Gallup, New Mexico. The center’s substance abuse treatment program, known as A Bridge to Recovery, offers inpatient treatment for adult men and women with a special focus on Native American issues. Counselors combine Navajo cultural traditions with Western-oriented counseling practices to provide a holistic approach to healing and long-term abstinence.
Accommodations and Food
A Bridge to Recovery operates out of a two-story building that resembles a modern suburban school. The facility houses a total of 30 residents in gender-specific accommodations, with 10 beds for women and 20 for men. The women’s dorm has five bunk beds and the men’s 15, all located on the first floor with two gender-specific bathrooms. On the second floor, there are three rooms for therapy, a TV room and a large dining hall and kitchen. Meals are served cafeteria-style three times per day, all prepared by staff who have dietary and nutritional training. A vegetarian option is always available.
Smoking is permitted in the designated smoking area in the backyard. No cellphones, laptops or electronic devices are permitted. TV viewing hours are in the evenings only.
A Bridge to Recovery is a 60-day program and clients must be able and willing to participate in traditional Navajo ceremonies, including sweat lodges. The typical day starts with a 6:30 am wake-up and breakfast at 7 am. Monday through Wednesday, residents have group therapy from 9 am until lunch. Topics include addiction studies, peer pressure, dealing with stress, identifying triggers and relapse prevention. Groups resume at 1 pm and free time is from 3 to 5 pm, with dinner at 5:30. Clients attend individual therapy once a week. Thursday through Saturday, residents participate in drumming circles, sweat lodge ceremonies and cedar-burning sessions.
Rather than advocate any outside support systems, including AA/NA, A Bridge to Recovery encourages clients to find a way of life that works for them, using Navajo practices and traditional therapy.
Visiting is on Sunday from 1 to 4 pm and all guests must be pre-approved by staff.
Those interested in enrolling in A Bridge to Recovery must be open-minded about using alternative spiritual approaches to treatment including sweat lodges and drumming circles. The program combines traditional therapy and Native American traditions, and is a particular good option for those who do not wish to use the 12-step approach.
A Bridge to Recovery
2205 Boyd Ave
Gallup, NM 87301
A Bridge to Recovery Cost: $6,000 (30 days, state funding available for residents of New Mexico). Reach A Bridge to Recovery by phone at (505) 722-2177.
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