Bridge House/Grace House is a non-profit rehab that operates separate substance abuse treatment programs for men and women in New Orleans. The men’s program, Bridge House, was founded in 1957 by a group of alcoholics who wanted to provide shelter for destitute alcoholics and addicts. During the years, it has transitioned from a refuge into a long-term intensive residential rehab. Grace House was established in 1985 to assist women needing substance abuse rehabilitation. The boards of the two programs merged in 2006.
Accommodations and Food
Bridge House has an 84-bed capacity while Grace House has 70 beds. The rooms are dorm-style and the furnishings are sparse, with three to four twin beds to a room, one desk and nightstands between the beds. Each client has a closet wall that provides shelves, a hanging rod and a cubby unit.
Bridge House and Grace House have cafeterias at all three locations. According to a staff member, there’s nothing fancy served up on the menu, but for most residents, tuna casserole might be just what the doctor ordered.
Treatment and Staff
Most residents stay at Grace from three to 12 months. Each of them follows an individualized treatment plan that includes three phases of recovery. The first 14 days is the intensive stabilization phase with at least 20 hours per week of group therapy and individual therapy. The objective is for residents to gain insight into their addiction, without disruption from outside influences.
After two weeks, clients enter primary treatment during which one-on-one counseling and group therapy continues and the Gorski model of relapse prevention therapy is integrated into treatment. Depending on individual needs, a resident may also attend spirituality meetings, an HIV prevention group, life skills training, parenting classes, vocational rehabilitation and work therapy. Seeking Safety groups are offered to treat trauma and 12-step meetings are available both on and off-site.
Finally, in the “re-entry/transition” phase, residents seek employment and/or further their education, in some cases opting for vocational training. Aftercare is provided in the form of weekly group sessions.
Treatment at Bridge House is also gender-specific and there are similar phases of treatment including stabilization, primary, independent living and aftercare. The program at Bridge House is designed to be completed in six months. The rehab offers 12-step meetings, most of which are at 7 pm or 8 pm except for the Old-Timers meeting on Sundays at 10 am.
There are more than 100 employees at Bridge House/Grace House, all led by CEO Elsie Pedersen, a licensed addiction counselor. Two former alumni work as the rehab’s executive director of development and database manager, respectively. Besides a licensed clinical team, the rehab employs resident advisers to serve as support staff on overnight shifts and on the weekends.
Former alumni also volunteer by driving residents to 12-step meetings, acting as sponsors, conducting bi-weekly panel discussions or coming back to meetings and group sessions to share their experiences. With a large staff and a surplus of volunteers, the rehab makes sure that each resident receives attention 24/7.
The rehab’s Used-Car Lot program provides on-site training for residents who want to pursue careers in the automotive repair field. Bridge House/Grace House also hosts events to raise funds.
Bridge House/Grace House serves clients who have reached rock bottom. For a rehab that won’t turn anyone away regardless of ability to pay, and that offers so much to the community, Bridge House/Grace House is a gem.
Bridge House/Grace House
4150 Earheart Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70125
Bridge House/Grace House Cost: Sliding scale (30 days). Reach Bridge House/Grace House by phone at (504) 821-7120 or by email at [email protected]. Find Bridge House/Grace House on Facebook and Twitter
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