Awakening Center is a residential treatment facility for men located in Augusta, Georgia. Focused on providing substance abuse treatment in tandem with a safe and supportive living environment, AC gives clients the tools to become productive members of their community. Strictly offering structured residential accommodations, AC transports their clients to “Steppingstones to Recovery”— an outpatient facility located close to the residence—for all treatment. AC emphasizes the importance of spiritual recovery in addition to the 12-step program.
Accommodations and Food
AC is a 5,500 square-foot residence surrounded by green rolling hills. Arranged like a home, AC can accommodate up to 16 men at once in eight double-occupancy bedrooms furnished with two twin beds. Each room offers a shared closet with bedside tables, with linens provided as well as towels. Four shared bathrooms are situated between the bedrooms with showers and dual sinks. A laundry room with two sets of washers and dryers are available on-site with irons and ironing boards.
An open-floor plan kitchen is connected to a living room and meals are served in a large dining room with several tables. The living room has a cable TV and plenty of seating for meetings and a ping pong table for recreational use. All food is included in fees, and residents share cooking duties alternating each day of the week. The food is a combination of typical American comfort food with healthy options available—like salads and fresh fruit. Clients receive three meals a day at AC and snacks are served at the Steppingstones facility.
A separate office space is on the property where celebration services are held including spiritual gatherings—or “Un-church” services—with clients of the women’s residential house. While these co-ed gathering serve to create sober community and fellowship, residents are seated at separate tables. Dinner is served afterwards and families are welcome to attend.
AC’s outdoor area has a basketball court and a spacious lawn with a gazebo. Clients may use their free time to socialize and get exercise on property outside of treatment.
Treatment and Staff
AC only accepts individuals who display a strong commitment to their recovery. All potential clients submit to a bio-psycho-social assessment to screen for additional mental health concerns. Clients are concurrently enrolled in treatment at Steppingstones for an eight week program. Once treatment is completed, clients typically continue to live at AC for an additional nine to 12 months. Getting a job within 60 days and becoming a productive member of society is the primary focus after treatment has concluded.
All clients are transported for treatment services to the Steppingstones facility. For the initial six weeks, residents attend 30 hours of therapeutic activities. The clinical staff includes Certified Addiction Counselors (CACs), LCSWs, LPCs and CADACs. AC also employs house managers to keep the facility running smoothly. A Psychiatrist is on staff for medication management services and can prescribe medication for clients.
A combination of therapeutic techniques including CBT, Motivational Interviewing (MI) and psychoeducation are used. Groups have a staff-to-client ratio of one-to-15. Counselors work with clients on relapse prevention techniques and discussing codependency issues.
A typical day begins with a 6 am wake-up followed by morning meditation. Breakfast is served at 7:30 am followed by clean-up at 8 am. At 9 am clients are transported for treatment at Steppingstones, returning at 11:30 for lunch. Free time, volunteering or work are scheduled from 1:30 to 4 pm followed by dinner, after which clients relax for a short time then are transported to an off-site AA/NA meeting. Quiet time begins at 10 pm. On weekends, clients are permitted visitors in the afternoon.
Clients are deeply engaged with 12-step concepts and the principles and must work with a sponsor. The Big Book, the AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the NA Big Book and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz are required textbooks for treatment but clients may also read other approved spiritual self-help books. All clients attend spiritual services on Sundays followed by a family meeting.
Residents are given opportunities to engage in sober social functions. With regular outings to movies and local recovery events, clients are encouraged to practice “daily life” activities while still enveloped in a sober community. The men may attend these outings with women enrolled in Steppingstones recovery, but all outings are supervised by staff members at all times.
Awakening Center has a slightly different approach to residential care with a structured living environment in one location and Intensive Outpatient Program-type treatment at another facility. However, this non-traditional approach to primary care leaves nothing out; evidence-based treatment, individualized care, spiritual services and a deep connection to the 12-steps all ensure that clients remain engaged in their commitment to sobriety during and after treatment. The credentialed staff give residents a safe space to create a foundation for lasting recovery.
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