American Addiction Centers was founded in 2011 when recovery industry players Michael Cartwright and Jerrod Menz merged their companies. A bit of history: Cartwright is the founder and former CEO of Foundations Recovery Network, a corporation that owns The Canyon and Michael’s House, among many other treatment centers. Menz, meanwhile, was the CEO of Forterus, a moderately priced treatment center with two outposts in Southern California. Today, Menz is AAC’s CEO while Cartwright is its chairman.
Since its inception, AAC has acquired an array of treatment facilities across the country to round out Forterus: FitRX in Tennessee (where their business headquarters is located); The Academy and Singer Island in Florida; Desert Hope in Nevada and The Greenhouse in Texas.
Accommodations and Food
Meals and housing options vary greatly depending on the rehab. AAC has some locations (FitRX, The Academy, Singer Island and Forterus) where residents stay in one house and are transported to nearby central treatment sites and others (Desert Hope and The Greenhouse) where treatment and housing is under one roof.
For the most part, clients have roommates and rooms come with en-suite bathrooms, though FitRX offers private rooms for all clients. The level of luxury also spans the spectrum: The Greenhouse is converted from a high-end spa and comes complete with a large indoor pool and a Hokkaido tub and Desert Hope resembles a luxury hotel with hardwood floors, floral arrangements and elegant furnishings. Each will set clients back about $26,000 for 30 days.
AAC’s adolescent program, The Academy, is one tier below The Greenhouse and Desert Hope in terms of cost ($14,800 for 30 days). It does boast a tropical location near the beach and large sun-soaked bedrooms; as with The Greenhouse and Desert Hope, all bedrooms are shared. Each has wood floors, tasteful decor, basic furnishings and twin beds.
FitRX and Singer Island each cost between $11,000 and $12,000 for 30 days. As mentioned, FitRX’s private rooms are a definite draw (complete with queen beds and kitchenettes attached to each room), as are their state-of-the-art fitness amenities (including an Olympic-size pool). Singer Island is likely the most basic, with bungalow-style accommodations that are nevertheless nothing to scoff at. Each room has twin beds, an en-suite bathroom and a kitchenette attached. There’s also a beach nearby, as well as an on-site spa where residents can get acupuncture or massage treatments.
Food services at AAC facilities vary. FitRX offers catered meal plans and has the clearest emphasize on nutrition (since their focus is on binge eating and other eating disorders). The Academy also has an on-site nutritionist and chef who work in concert to make three meals a day with plenty of salad options and accommodations are made for vegetarian, gluten-free and other diets.
At Singer Island and Forterus, clients buy their own groceries (with a house stipend included in the price of treatment) and cook their own meals. The philosophy behind this approach is that it promotes self-sufficiency and builds self-esteem.
Desert Hope and The Greenhouse offer five-star gourmet meal plans; though these are largely customizable, some options include lamb chops, fajitas and ribs (with vegetarian options always available as well).
Treatment and Staff
All of AAC’s rehabs models emphasize 12-step and offer dual diagnosis support, though not all the facilities require 12-step participation. The most 12-step heavy of their facilities is The Academy, which stresses the “one day at a time” philosophy extensively.
More specialized options at Singer Island and FitRX include the 12 steps as part of their care package, but not necessarily the focus. Singer Island has a holistic program that includes equine therapy, chiropractic work, art therapy and other wellness therapies. FitRX, on the other hand, puts most of their energy into food and fitness education (OA meetings are available there as well).
AAC’s luxury programs The Greenhouse and Desert Hope both offer 12-step meetings every week, but stress that these are not mandatory for those staunchly opposed to them. All the above programs are available in 30, 60 and 90 days varieties.
All AAC facilities provide group therapy and one-on-one sessions. It offers CBT, DBT and EMDR at all their locations and also has doctors on site at every facility. On-site detox is standard for AAC, though their Florida locations, Singer Island and The Academy, are still in the process of expanding to include this.
AAC’s intensive two-day family program occurs on the third weekend of treatment at all locations. From 8 am to 5 pm, family members are welcome to go through all treatment sessions alongside their loved one and the loved one’s clinician. Skype sessions are also an option for those who can’t be there in person. In terms of general outside communication, AAC’s policy is to have the first five-to-seven days be a black-out period. Still, if a release form is signed, clients can receive calls from family members during this time.
Using a sample schedule for Desert Hope (which, according to an AAC coordinator, is reflective of other locations’ daily activities), residents wake up at 6:30 am Monday through Friday. Breakfast is served at 7:30 am and is followed by a general morning group meeting. Morning meditation is at 9 am after which there’s a series of educational and therapeutic group sessions. Some AAC locations also offer yoga and massage (for additional fees).
Phone time and lunch fall between 11:30 am and 1 pm and is followed by more group and individual therapy sessions until 5 pm. Dinner is served at 5:45 pm, and between 6:45 and 8 pm, residents participate in an educational class and a series of recovery meetings. After 8 pm there’s time to go to the gym, take medication and get ready for bed, with lights out at 10 or 11 pm. Clients can sleep in later on the weekends, though breakfast is still served at the same time. The rest of the weekend consists of various educational courses.
American Addiction Centers is a reputable name within the recovery community. It offers a wide range of standard and holistic treatment along with comfortable accommodations and plenty of amenities. Flexible lengths of stay, the option to participate in 12-step and a strong family program are some of the many benefits to choosing to begin recovery at one of these facilities.
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