Founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1999, AIM House is an organization that provides therapeutic community living for young people. Castle House is the young men’s program, while the young women’s program is called Earl House. Located on a hill blocks away from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Castle House operates as an enhanced sober living home, with a focus on education. The Castle takes in young adults who need to transition from a more intensive treatment (such as residential or a reform school) into sober living, then back into the mainstream world.
Accommodations and Amenities
The Castle House lives up to its name. Offering 7,000 square feet of living space, it can house a maximum of 28 to 30 men. Clients bunk dorm-style, four to a room and each floor has its own shared bathroom, with four stalls and four sinks. Despite the Castle’s cleaning crew, clients are responsible for taking care of most of their own chores. All food is organic and prepared by on-site chefs. The menu is set weekly and special dietary needs can be accommodated.
Rules and Regulations
Average stay at the Castle is six to seven months. In fact, a minimum of six months is required to enroll. Castle House offers structured phase program which begins with a two to three week Orientation Phase, during which they are not allowed to leave without a staff escort or have phone or computer privileges. Next is the Intentions Phase, which lasts another two to three weeks. Clients may check out their phones at staff’s discretion and are expected to adhere to an 8 pm weekday curfew (9 on weekends). During the ensuing Actions Phase curfew moves to 9 and 10 pm, respectively. This phase lasts two to three months. During the final Merge Phase, clients should either be employed or going to school and must still keep to curfew. During this phase, as they prove themselves responsible and reliable, the residents are allowed more freedom. Those who progress through the phases even get to date and have access to a designated counselor who helps with potential couples counseling.
Castle House offers more treatment components than other sober living homes, such as: therapy sessions of the group, individual and family variety and relapse prevention. There is also a creative mentorship program available, as well as positive peer support and integrative psychiatry. Nightly recovery meetings are facilitated on-site by a mentor, while daily AA/NA meetings take place off-site, at the University of Colorado campus. Transportation to outside meetings is included, as the men of the Castle can’t have a car during their stay. They are allowed to have bicycles. Clients get assigned to a therapist with whom they meet one-on-one, on a weekly basis and work on their goals with their mentor, daily. A house manager is available on-site, as well.
Castle House is AIM’s most long-standing house at over 15 years in operation. While cost of stay is quite high for a sober living facility, it is actually more on par with an economical residential treatment option. The cost is reasonable considering the therapeutic aspects the Castle House offers that most sober living homes do not. What it comes down to is this: for a young man who wants to fight for his sobriety while also focusing on education, then Castle House may be the best place. As long as they can also afford $12,400 per month for the first two months and $8,800 per month, after that.
The Castle House
2000 21st St
Boulder, CO 80302
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Photo courtesy of AimHouse