Anchor House is a faith-based residential substance abuse treatment facility in Brooklyn, NY, with two separate gender-specific accommodations for men and women. Its mission is “to provide a true anchor, a stable and reliable foundation where the soul is refreshed, restored and hope is born again.” Anchor House was founded in 1967 by Reverend Alfredo Cotto-Thorner, a reverend at Brooklyn’s South Third Street United Methodist Church. After befriending neighborhood addicts, he came to believe that a stable home would make all the difference in their ability to recover from addiction and substance abuse.
Anchor House’s long-term program often treats men who have had unsuccessful results from short-term or outpatient treatment. Its success and longevity are a result of its shepherding men through several phases of evidence-based treatment and vocational training in preparation for re-entry into the job force. In 1996, the facility expanded to a larger building and Anchor House opened a 28-bed facility for women in its original location.
Accommodations and Food
The facility has fifty beds and is situated in a leafy residential neighborhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Typically, four men share a room and there are shared bathrooms on each floor. There are TVs in the facility’s common areas. The décor is seeing an upgrade since the arrival of a new director who, according to staff, has made simple changes that make the environment much more comfortable and home-like.
A head-chef oversees meal planning and preparation while residents—many of whom are in culinary training for vocational skill building—prepare the food as part of their rotating chore assignments.
Treatment and Staff
Men stay in the program 12-18 months, depending on their progress. All recovery paths are individualized, but on a typical day, residents wake up at 6:30 am, perform chores and then have breakfast. Their day is then spent in group and individual therapy and in the evenings they often attend local 12-step meetings (there is one on-site meeting on Wednesdays) and church services. Lights are out at 10:30 pm.
Each resident meets with his counselor once a week. Groups are a combination of addiction education and processing groups and operate on a trauma informed care model. The education groups are led by CASACs who also function as individual counselors and facility staff. The therapeutic groups are led by a LCSW using CBT to discuss topics such as life-skills, relapse prevention, parenting, conflict resolution and anger and stress management. Groups vary in size but seldom exceed twenty, with those later in the day being more crowded since men in later phases of treatment have returned to the facility from work or school.
Phones and computers are not allowed in the first phases of treatment, but as men progress, they may earn the privilege of having a cell phone. House phones are available for calling family. In later phases of treatment (during their seventh or eighth month), men have more autonomy over their daily schedules and many begin to look for work and/or start a vocational training program. Anchor House has affiliations with several trade schools in the area and can provide recommendations and referrals to men who wish to learn new job skills.
All residents must attend church services at least once a week and many attend Recovery House of Worship, a nearby non-denominational church that focuses on applying spiritual principles to the recovery process. On Thursdays and Fridays men are encouraged to volunteer in the community, though service is not required.
Staff includes Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors (CASACs), Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs), LCSWs, Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs), RNs, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), as well as Recovery Coaches and Peer Advocates.
Anchor House transports residents to the Brooklyn YMCA—one of the nation’s most luxurious Ys—three times a week for exercise. Additionally, as it continues to evolve its curriculum to meet the changing needs of its clientele, Anchor House has noticed that men are most vulnerable to relapse once they have an independent income again, and so a financial education curriculum is being developed to help men learn how to best manage their resources while maintaining sobriety.
Family members are also encouraged to participate with their loved one in therapy. Workshops and activities are arranged for educational purposes to help create a stable support system for clients once they have completed treatment. Also, music therapy is available in the form of a choir and clients are invited to explore its benefits which include stress and anxiety relief as well as battling the common addiction symptoms of anger and depression.
Anchor House also has a strong alumni network and mentoring program. Clients are paired with sober individuals who stay connected with the resident and act as a guide through the challenging first phases of recovery. Concurrent with admission, clients begin planning their post-treatment lives and an aftercare program is in place to support those goals. Anchor House alumni are an integral part of this program and act as fellows while clients continue to participate in outpatient care.
Anchor House’s long-term treatment program helps rebuild men’s lives through extensive therapy and education. Its ability to then support men as they re-enter the workforce is the critical piece of the recovery process that many residents didn’t receive in prior treatment. In addition to the breadth of the recovery program, Anchor House’s wide alumni network ensures that residents leave not only with more self-knowledge and improved life skills, but also with a large network of fellows and supporters.
Anchor House, Inc.—Men’s Facility
1041 Bergen St
Brooklyn, NY 11216
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