Ark House is a UK-based rehab facility dedicated to new beginnings. Located an-hour-and-a-half from Leeds in the coastal tourist town of Scarborough, Ark House’s scenic beauty provides a serene backdrop to recovery, and lies somewhere between luxury and modest in terms of facilities and accommodations. Bjorn Roswald founded Ark House in 1993 after suffering from addiction himself. Roswald got clean, traveled to the US to become a drug counselor and returned with a vision for a rehab facility along the Yorkshire coast.
Scarborough is known as much for its beaches as its royal past. Not too far from Ark House is Scarborough Castle, which Henry II built in the 12th century as a strategic northern stronghold. Despite the tourist draws, Scarborough manages to maintain a sense of community, and Ark House encourages residents to take advantage of the town throughout the program.
Ark House can hold up to 20 residents and maintains a cozy, homey feel. The resident rooms are small, each with a twin bed, a dresser, a nightstand, yellow walls and little decorate touches like cork boards that clients can personalize.
Residents are allowed access to a grassy and well-groomed yard out back for any light outdoor activities. There’s also a small table and chairs for reading or relaxing, as well as an indoor common area with plenty of natural light. Residents can visit a nearby gym and swimming pool.
Treatment and Staff
Ark House does not offer detox, and residents begin treatment with a strict schedule of lectures, group therapy, one-on-one therapy and mandatory off-site 12-step meetings (with transportation provided) that can last anywhere from six to 24 weeks. Mornings typically focus on relapse prevention while afternoons have sessions addressing peripheral problems in clients’ lives. Session topics can include debt counseling, education and life skills, such as cooking.
Staff are on-site at Ark House 24 hours a day every day with at least two staff members on hand at all times, though generally five during the day; the staff-to-client ratio is generally about one-to-four. Staff includes integrative psychotherapists and licensed counselors. While Ark House does not employ medical staff, it can arrange transport to local dentists or doctors if needed.
A typical day at Ark House begins with a 7 am wake-up followed up breakfast, domestic assignments (generally cleaning duties) and a group meditation. After that comes a short break, the first half of a rotating lecture, a break, the second half of a lecture, lunch and more domestic assignments. Then residents get an hour of free time followed by a group meeting, dinner, possibly a one-on-one meeting (which can include rational-emotive therapy, CBT, gestalt therapy, transactional analysis or person-centered therapy) and another group meditation until 9:45 pm, with lights out shortly thereafter.
Ark House does not restrict residents from using the phone (though when and how long calls last can be limited) or sending and receiving packages. One restriction is that no visitors are allowed during the first week of treatment. After that, visitors are permitted on Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, or during the in-house Family Group meeting from 5 to 6 pm. Residents will be asked to leave the facility if they gamble, have sexual relationships with anyone in treatment, self-medicate, engage in violence, commit any illegal activity or use pornography.
Ark House encourages residents to partake in various volunteer opportunities as well. Clients can help with beach clean-up and local conservation activities with The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and can also learn to care for livestock or grow vegetables on the nearby Stepney Hill Farm. Other therapeutic recreational activities may include beach walks and castle trips.
Aftercare at the Ark House includes six transitional flats for residents who want to stay in Scarborough to keep working on their sobriety. They also give alumni access to counselors after their residency, including 24-hour phone support and Internet chats, as well as kids’ day care for those trying to relocate to Scarborough.
Ark House is a great choice for those seeking treatment that offers extra aftercare help, and for those who find the beautiful surroundings soothing. Still, this is a place that prioritizes meetings and learning more than activities, so prospective clients should be prepared to spend most of the day sedentary.
15 Valley Rd
Scarborough, North Yorkshire County
YO11 2LY, United Kingdom
Ark House cost: $3,520 (30 days adjusted; 550 pounds a week). Reach Ark House by phone at +44 17 23 37 18 69 (US) or 01 72 33 71 869 (UK) or by email at [email protected]. Find Ark House on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+
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