Bristlecone Reviews, Reviews, Cost, Complaints
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Formed from the merger of two Reno rehabs, the family-focused Bristlecone has been bringing people back to life since 2002. With more than 40 years of determination behind this facility, they continue to operate a holistic program of recovery out of “The Biggest Little City in the World.”

Accommodations and Food

At Bristlecone’s four-story dormitory-style facility, treatment and housing are under one roof. There are three or four extra-long twin-sized beds in each fairly large room. Beneath each bed is a footlocker for personal items. Frosted midway windows trim the rooms so residents can look out on the city skyline. Communal bathrooms cater to multiple clients—the sinks, showers and stalls come in sets of three.

The “fishbowl” media room comes equipped with three couches, ping pong table, flat-screen television, books and DVDs for hours of entertainment and educational purposes. (Please note this room is heavily monitored, as this facility also serves those who have gambling issues.)

While there is a business center with two computers which residential clients may use if their counselor approves. Television and phone privileges are also on a case-by-case basis depending on a resident’s program progress. When entering Bristlecone, residents check all outside electronics at the door.

Food is provided by Trader Joe’s and the Northern Nevada food bank—the menu’s a mixture of both organic and non-organic ingredients. Clients can always have fruit and/or salad with their entrée—this place prides itself on providing well-balanced meals. Sample dishes include deep-fried eggplant, pork & steamed rice, lentil soup, beef-barley soup, baked potatoes, ravioli, sandwiches and more. Caffeine intake is monitored here—no coffee after 11 am. In terms of sugar, sweets and similar snacks are given out only on special occasions.

Treatment and Staff

This is a non-medical facility, however Bristlecone is only two blocks from the local hospital, and doctor visits are scheduled as needed. Residents have the option of detox at the hospital if necessary—transportation is provided to and fro.

Though 30 days is the standard here, residents have been known to say longer via court order. While treatment is based on the social model of recovery, Bristlecone doesn’t necessarily adhere to a single method—it’s whatever the intake specialists deem appropriate for the client. Additionally, while the program, in some respects, may be 12-step inspired (it may send some folks to 12-step meetings), it considers everyone to have a uniqueness that may require another method.

Group therapy and individual therapy are definitely a common practice here, but some residents may require more individual therapy than others depending on a counselor’s assessment. While they do offer CBT and DBT, they also have traditional, talk therapy, peer counseling and dual-diagnosis support—as well as PTSD treatment.

Of the 42 highly credentialed men and women on staff, 25 of them oversee 16 residential clients. Round-the-clock staff consists of two overnight advocates. On-call counselors arrive as early as 7 am while other counselors stay until 7:30 pm.

While some of those counselors are available to transport residents to off-site 12-step meetings, senior-level residents are also granted permission to lead a small group of peers to an AA/NA meeting that’s within walking distance—typically on the weekends. (Off-site meetings aren’t mandatory.) Though on-site AA/NA meetings aren’t a staple at Bristlecone, clients do have a GA (Gamblers Anonymous) aspect to their program. And if a client is having a hard time surrendering to these aforementioned methods, Bristlecone is one of the few facilities to offer SMART Recovery as an alternative.

The typical day starts around 6 am Monday through Friday. Residents eat breakfast and must complete a set of chores before 8. All residents come together for a community meeting followed by individual therapy or groups at 9 am. Lunch is at noon. Clients clean up after the meal and another series of groups start at 1:30 and continue until dinner at 5 pm. There is another class or lecture after dinner followed by free time and lights out at 10 pm.

In order to participate in the Sunday evening family program at Bristlecone, relatives must attend an orientation—for which residents are not present. Outside of this, all visitors must be on a pre-approved list—visitation hours are between 3 pm and 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.


On Saturday mornings, a staff counselor leads a yoga class residents can participate in—meditation is offered too. Extra-curricular activities entail community-minded events including 5K walks, clean-up participation at a local park and more.

In Summary

Bristlecone’s friendly staff and non-traditional treatment methods will surely attract many who may be looking for recovery outside the 12-step arena. Clients receive a high level of care and personal attention for a fraction of the cost of many other facilities. Further, the community-oriented family-based practices help residents plant social and sober roots. Ultimately, Bristlecone is the place to get clean in a city known for its sins.

Bristlecone Family Resources Location

704 Mill St
Reno, NV 89502

Bristlecone Cost

$800 (30 days). Reach Bristlecone by phone at (775) 954-1400 or by email at [email protected]. Find Bristlecone at Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin

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