Quality over quantity is the mantra of Destin, Florida’s Bayshore Retreat LLC, which offers a unique level of attention for residents. Entering into its sixth year of operating, Bayshore was started by a mother and son team who know the struggles of addiction personally, and offers a cozy, home-like atmosphere from which to launch one’s recovery. To wit, co-founder Judy’s personal cell phone number is listed on the facility’s website—and she answers each call herself.
Accommodations and Food
Set in an expansive three-story house that looks out on the Choctawhatchee Bay, Bayshore succeeds in creating an atmosphere that is anything but institutional. It keeps the numbers down with no more than six residents at a time, for a staff-to-client ratio of about three-to-one. The facility has four bedrooms, meaning there are two private rooms available.
Bedrooms are tidy and modest, each with a private bathroom and two twin beds. There are large dining room areas where residents can enjoy home-cooked meals by the registered in-house chef Mark Willis, who makes daily supermarket trips based on residents’ nutritional needs. The third floor contains a reading nook with a small library and rooms for counseling sessions and there is a back patio with a swimming pool and hot tub.
Treatment and Staff
Overall, treatment focuses on three levels of healing: physical, mental and spiritual. On the physical level, residents can prepare themselves to heal their body in ways they may have previously thought the province of a spa retreat. Light cardio workouts, sweat time in the sauna, deep tissue massages by licensed therapists and weekly yoga classes are all features of this level.
The daily schedule begins at 7 am every weekday, and is filled with group and individual therapy that addresses topics such as relapse prevention, anger management, employability, accountability and fiscal responsibility. Finally, Bayshore seeks to encourage a spiritual awakening as well. Those who fear having to submit to any one spiritual path rest assured: clients are free to choose their own Higher Power to nurture a relationship with, and one can choose to simply mediate during this time as well.
While there are optional AA meetings every day, residents are only required to attend one meeting during their stay. The typical length of residency is 30 days, but clients can extend their stay to 60 or even 90 days. Bayshore does not offer a medical detox upon arrival, though each resident undergoes a medical evaluation with Dr. Steven Donchey, their on-call medical doctor, with measures taken to manage a potentially uncomfortable first week. Still, this does not include the use of Suboxone or methadone for a client’s initial intake—Bayshore remains firmly opposed to detox drugs.
Bayshore’s staff includes a mental health counselor, a consulting psychiatrist (who holds weekly group meetings and one-on-one sessions with clients when necessary), peer counselors with personal addiction experience, group facilitators, a registered dietician and a yoga instructor.
In addition to their rigorous physical program, Bayshore makes sure to fill the weekends with plenty of recreational activities. They encourage residents to realize that having fun and trying new things are part and parcel of their new life in sobriety. Residents enjoy such excursions as dining out, going to the movies and trips to the golf course. Given their location on the Gulf of Mexico, clients can also enjoy deep sea fishing, kayaking and sailing.
The weeks are busy at Bayshore, and the recovery work is real. Set in a backdrop of physical and spiritual regeneration and replete with recreational options, Bayshore creates an atmosphere of true growth. The facility is relatively new and of course, for some, the price may seem steep. But among rehabs of its ilk, Bayshore Retreat LLC seems to set the bar high. After all, it’s not often that the co-founder of any facility is available on the phone at virtually any time.
457 Calhoun Ave
Destin, FL 32541
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