Anchor House, Inc. is a faith-based residential substance abuse treatment facility in Brooklyn, NY, with two separate gender-specific facilities for men and women. With a mission “to provide a true anchor, a stable and reliable foundation where the soul is refreshed, restored and hope is born again,” Anchor House’s first facility opened for men in 1967. Founded by Reverend Alfredo Cotto-Thorner from Brooklyn’s South Third Street United Methodist Church after he befriended neighborhood addicts, Anchor House was created based on his belief that a stable home would make all the difference in the lives of addicts by offering accommodations and recovery support. In 1996, the men’s facility expanded to a larger building nearby and Anchor House opened the facility for women in its original location.
Anchor House’s long-term program often treats women who require a more in-depth program than basic outpatient. Its success and longevity are a result of a multi-phase evidence-based program which includes vocational training and support for re-entry into the job force.
Accommodations and Food
The facility has twenty-eight beds and is situated on a tree-lined residential neighborhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Typically, four women share a dorm-style room with bunk beds with a shared bathroom on each floor. There is a TV in the facility’s common area. The décor, which one visitor described as “like stepping into a beautifully designed apartment,” is home-like and tasteful.
A head cook and staff prepare three standard American meals daily, and try to accommodate dietary restrictions depending on the circumstances.
Treatment and Staff
Women stay in the program 12-18 months, depending on their progress through treatment. On a typical day, residents wake up at 6:30 am and perform chores followed by breakfast. Their day is then spent in group therapy (in a minimum of three groups) and individual counseling.
In the evenings residents can watch the news after dinner and then attend either a process group in the house or a nearby 12-step meeting. Women must be in their rooms by 9 pm each night.
Each resident meets with her counselor once a week. Groups are a combination of addiction education and processing groups. The education groups are led by CASACs who also function as individual counselors and facility staff. The therapeutic groups are led by an LCSW and use CBT skills. Groups vary in size but seldom exceed twenty, with those later in the day being more crowded since women in later phases of treatment have returned to the facility from work or school. Residents struggling with co-occurring disorders are taken to a nearby clinic for therapy and medication.
Phones and computers are not allowed in the first phases of treatment but the women may write to loved ones and use house phones to call family. As residents progress in their treatment, they have more autonomy over their daily schedules. Many begin to look for work and/or start a vocational training program in their seventh or eighth month of treatment. Anchor House has affiliations with several vocational schools in the area and provides suggestions on job training and recommendations and referrals.
Residents must attend church services at least once a week and are encouraged to attend more often if their schedules allow. On weekends, the staff take residents on recreational trips to movies and events and once they’ve been in treatment for several months, the women may apply for weekend passes to visit family.
Anchor House transports residents to nearby YMCA for exercise and the facility hosts a Family Day for visitors the last Saturday of each month.
Additionally, 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 treacherous 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 lives through extensive therapy and education. Its ability to then support women as they re-enter the workforce is the critical piece of the recovery process that many didn’t receive in prior treatment. Anchor House’s alumni community 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. Women’s Facility
976 Park Place
Brooklyn, NY 11213
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