Breakthru House is the first long-term residential treatment program of its kind in the entire state of Georgia. Founded in 1969, Breakthru provides gender-specific, long-term treatment for adult women. Under the umbrella of Action Ministries, the Breakthru House is one of many services that AM offers for disadvantaged individuals and families in Georgia. All clients receive professional mental health care and a safe space to begin their recovery at a sliding-scale fee. Treatment aims to heal the mind, body and spirit using evidence based methods and the 12-step philosophy. Clients live in a therapeutic community that is focused on facilitating substance abuse recovery and a place where women find support among their peers
Accommodations and Food
Breakthru House is a single-story brick mid-century residential home with an attached office. Residents move freely between the house and offices for therapeutic activities. The house has four bedrooms and can accommodate eight to 10 women at a time. Bedrooms are double occupancy with the exception of the master bedroom which sleeps three. Clients share large closet spaces and dressers for their clothing and personal items.
The kitchen provides storage space for food as well as all equipment and utensils for cooking. All residents must help with meal preparation and cleaning up after meals. A large community table is situated in the kitchen and used for family-style dining at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals are typically a combination of comfort foods as well as healthy salads and vegetables to ensure clients have balanced meals. Caffeine and modest amounts of sugar are allowed. Adjacent to the kitchen is a living room with a TV and DVD player where clients may enjoy approved movies and shows during downtime.
A large backyard is available with a seating and smoking area. Laundry facilities are located on-site and clients are responsible for washing their personal items and linens which are provided by the house.
Treatment and Staff
Prior to an assessment, all clients must call for a brief phone screening and if deemed suitable for Breakthru House, the intake coordinator schedules a much more thorough biopsychosocial assessment. Individualized treatment plans and goals are developed requiring long-term commitment as treatment typically lasts up to 18 months.
Clients engage in daily therapy to begin rebuilding their lives. The therapeutic community model incorporates the recovery of other members of the house allowing the women to draw strength and support from their peers. Residents hold each other accountable in order to keep the house a drug- and alcohol-free space that is conducive to recovery.
A majority of treatment is facilitated through group therapy meeting in the on-site offices. Groups focus on skill building exercises, psychoeducation, process and relapse prevention. Counselors work with residents on specific women’s issues which usually include trauma and sexual abuse. In addition to group therapy, clients attend daily 12-step meetings. Finding and working with a female sponsor who has more than two years of sobriety is required. Accepting commitments and volunteering for service work through the rooms is an essential part of developing an external support system. Clients are required to call their sponsors daily and to utilize recovery literature including the Big Book and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
All therapy is facilitated by a staff of women with varying qualifications including Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), LCDCs and CSWs. Staff facilitate group and individual therapy with a range of therapeutic disciplines that incorporate the 12-steps and principles of AA, CBT and DBT approaches.
Residents are required to get a job after 60 days in the program. Clients work directly with a job coach to assist them in finding employment as well as the Department of Rehabilitation Services as a resource for vocational counseling and support. While clients must get a job, the position must be approved by the clinical staff and must not interfere with treatment activities. Returning to the workforce is integral to recovery so clients have a source of income when they complete treatment and are able to support themselves.
All treatment at Breakthru House is highly individualized and is dependent upon the client’s progress through her recovery. Three phases are standardized to help counselors and clients compartmentalize the process. The first is the Assessment phase which lasts for 60 days and focuses on clients familiarizing themselves with the recovery process. Residents are on restriction during this phase and must comply with strict rules for conduct. Clients may not have passes, employment or extensive contact with friends. Visitation from family is allowed on weekends. The second level is the Treatment phase which varies in length and focuses on intensive treatment processes necessary for lasting recovery. Clients must get a job during this time and focus on their step work with their sponsor. The third and final stage is the Transition phase during which clients prepare for discharge from the program. More freedoms are allowed, including weekend passes and assisting new residents.
Residents undergo random drug testing to ensure abstinence. No cellphones are allowed or prescription medication (that is not already known). Clients are responsible for the cleanliness of their space and their own recovery program. If a client is having a negative impact on the other residents with their behavior, they are removed from the program and referred to other treatment options.
Clients may apply to live in the Transition House after treatment has concluded. The house is a lightly-structured aftercare living arrangement similar to a sober living. Residents may still attend some therapeutic activities but are primarily engaged in their 12-step program for support.
Breakthru House offers a safe space for women to begin their recovery journey. A long-term residential program, BH engages clients in traditional therapy and supports vocational development so that they may transition back into the community with confidence and ease. Clients are a part of a recovery community with their housemates allowing them to build support and safety as they develop and change. Individualized treatment plans help women to become productive members of society and self-supporting individuals. This intimate residential home is ideal for women just beginning their sober journeys, and supports their progress and long-term recovery with community resources and fellowship.
1866 Eastfield St
Decatur, GA 30032
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Photo courtesy of Lincolnh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons