The town of Limestone—known for its abundance of the sedimentary rock—is located in the northeasternmost corner of Maine. In the 1990s, it was also the hub for an alternative music festival featuring Phish. Well, the party may be over, but Aroostook Mental Health Center in Limestone has been serving the recovery community since 1964. After acquiring a remote farmhouse in 1972, they launched a co-ed residential treatment facility in 1975. Since then, they have provided a tranquil treatment environment for the counties of Aroostook, Hancock and Washington—and anyone else looking to get sober in the countryside.
Accommodations and Food
Nicknamed “The Farm,” Aroostook Mental Health Center’s 12-bed converted farmhouse also provides treatment on site. Clients generally sleep two or three to a room on twin-sized beds. There are two private rooms if they happen to be available—at no additional fee. However, top priority for those rooms is given to residents who have co-occurring disorders or medical issues.
The Farm has an on-site workout room and a growing library of CDs, videos and books. No outside electronics are allowed, but there is a payphone available to residents. Calls are limited to two 15-minute sessions per day.
Meals are served in the farmhouse dining room. Aroostook Mental Health Center has a dietitian on staff who develops the menu, while staffers buy the groceries and residents assist in food prep and clean up. If there are special dietary needs, they do their best to accommodate them. Breakfast is kind of a la carte; items include bagels, cereal, eggs and toast. Lunch and dinner are prepared family style and include things like soups, salads, sandwiches, vegetables, roast turkey, ham, spaghetti and casseroles. Absolutely no caffeine is permitted here. Processed sugar is also discouraged, but residents are allowed to have some natural sweetener in their diets, like honey.
Treatment and Staff
Aroostook Mental Health Center operates a 22-day, 12-step oriented, post-detox treatment program. For individual therapy, clients are asked to write in journals, which they then review with a case manager at least three times a week. Group therapy takes place on a daily basis and includes CBT, DBT and Motivational Interviewing (MI). This rehab is also a big proponent of Terence Gorski’s CENAPS Model of Relapse Prevention Therapy (CMRPT), a comprehensive treatment approach to early sobriety. Certain groups are based around Hazelden publications like Twenty Four Hours a Day. In addition to all of these groups, Aroostook Mental Health Center hosts on-site AA meetings, where sponsorship is encouraged but not mandatory.
Aroostook Mental Health Center does not offer detox, but they do employ an on-call doctor, who also visits once a week to take care of any pressing medical needs. In this way, clients who are recovering from initial detox or need dual diagnosis support have access to the help they need.
Upon waking up, making their beds and having breakfast, residents come together for a morning group from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. There’s no specific wakeup time, but clients are expected to have eaten breakfast and be ready for morning group. Afterward, until noon, clients complete chores, study or have recreation. Lunch and clean-up are between 12 pm and 1 pm. Afternoon group occurs from 1 pm to 3 pm. From 3 pm to 3:30 pm, residents have free time or study. Clients participate in a 12-step group between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm—more free time follows until dinner at 5 pm. A final evening group goes from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. From 9 pm to 11 pm, residents can study and hang out until lights out at 11:30.
Aroostook Mental Health Center employs eight full-time staff members and two part-timers. This even mix of men and women makes for a staff-to-client ratio of one-to-four. All employees are either licensed or highly credentialed—it’s hired many of their alums. To ensure 24/7 coverage, two CDACs work overnight, from 9 pm until being relieved in the morning.
Exercise is encouraged at Aroostook Mental Health Center; there is a small workout room with weights and a treadmill for clients to use. Extra-curricular activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and walks through the fields around the area—it’s also taken residents to Augusta’s annual recovery walk. An arts and crafts class is offered as a form of art therapy. Should residents be averse to AA, Aroostook Mental Health Center provides literature on SMART Recovery and Celebrate Recovery.
After an initial seven-day blackout period, residents can have visitors between 11 am and 1 pm.. Sundays are reserved for families—hours are from 11 am to 6 pm during which loved ones and clients attend a group and dine together.
Aroostook Mental Health Center also offers outpatient treatment services at a number of locations throughout Aroostook County.
Aroostook Mental Health Center provides a variety of evidence-based treatment practices supplemented with the 12 steps to a small group of clients—often an effective way of building a close and lasting recovery community. Additionally, such a small group almost guarantees more personal attention from staff. Local residents have the added bonus of a sliding scale payment option.
Aroostook Mental Health Center
382 Main St
Limestone, ME 04750
Aroostook Mental Health Center Cost: $6,600 (22 days). Reach Aroostook Mental Health Center by phone at (207) 325-4727 or by email at [email protected]. Find Aroostook Mental Health Center on Facebook and Google+
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