Five years ago, Balance House started out as a sober living with a 10-bed capacity in Salt Lake City, Utah. In five years, Balance House expanded and currently accommodates a total of 35 clients. Program director Robbie Bills, who has almost eight years of sobriety, believes that a “one size doesn’t fit all” in terms of helping people in recovery. Their mission is promoting “responsibility, accountability, personal recovery and service.”
Accommodations and Amenities
Balance House accommodates 24 men in four houses on two gated acres in Cottonwood Heights, and 12 women in a house in West Jordan. Each house has no more than seven men. Both programs are 20 minutes away from each other, and 20 minutes south from Salt Lake City. The men’s houses are adjacent to each other. Between the properties there are 16 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and six kitchens.
Clients purchase their own groceries and prepare their own meals. Since some clients have eating disorders, those individuals are supervised, ensuring that they receive proper nutrition and that they don’t abuse their bodies. Clients receive transportation to job interviews, outpatient programs, medical appointments and other necessary outings.
Rules and Regulations
In order to live at Balance House, clients must have completed a program at an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility. They ask for a minimum 90-day time commitment, and expect that clients not stay longer than six months. The programs are gender-specific, and clients receive around the clock supervision by staff. Balance House also takes into account that co-occurring disorders often go hand in hand with substance abuse. Balance House collaborates with 11 licensed therapists, as well as three outpatient rehabs and helps clients organize their aftercare protocols. The cost for an individual therapy session is between $85 and $130 per session.
The foundation of Balance House is based on the principles of AA and it is a requirement for all owners and employees of Balance House to be actively involved in AA, CA, HA, CMA or another 12-step program.
Balance House incorporates a level system, adding more privileges, such as extended curfews, as clients progress during their stay. The curfew is the same time, seven nights a week. For the first three weeks, the curfew is 8 pm, followed by 10 pm and then midnight. Other requirements include getting up at 9 am, completing chores by 10 am, daily journaling and volunteering a few hours per week to a charity or other worthwhile organization. Journaling includes composing a poem, drawing, or even writing one sentence describing the client’s state of mind. Balance House believes that there is “success with simplicity.” These rules are installed so that clients learn accountability.
Activities are an important part of the curriculum, with the belief that exercise promotes healing and releases dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter in the brain. There are Friday night softball events, hiking excursions, biking, fast carting and bowling.
For clients seeking a comprehensive 12-step-based sober living, plus a great environment that utilizes a lot of outdoor activities, Balance House might be the perfect place.
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