Located on a 80-acre ranch about an hour outside Minneapolis in Brook Park, Minnesota, Changing Gaits is a faith-based organization that offers sober living for men. Founded in 2004 by Guy Kaufman, Changing Gaits specializes in equine therapy and equine-assisted learning which includes therapeutic horseback riding. The equine therapy is provided for residents, as well as members of the local community. The organization’s mission is to help clients build relationship with Christ to find healing from substance addiction and co-occurring disorders.
Accommodations and Amenities
The Changing Gaits sober living program accommodates nine men inside a quaint white single-family house. There are three double-occupancy rooms and three single rooms, all furnished with twin beds, dressers and nightstands. Typically, residents qualify for food stamps and other state-funded programs, which also pay for the cost of housing.
The house manager is responsible for giving residents a weekly food allowance, usually in the form of a Wal-Mart gift card. Clients purchase their groceries and other necessities with the gift cards. Clients cook together in a fully equipped kitchen, and dine together family-style. Amenities include exercise equipment, cable, a washer and dryer. The house manager lives on the premises and oversees operations, around the clock.
Rules and Regulations
Requirements for residents at Changing Gaits include attending three 12-step or Celebrate Recovery meetings per week, participating in daily morning devotionals, as well as Bible and Big Book studies, going to Church on Sundays, performing household chores and taking care of the horses. This includes grooming, feeding and cleaning stalls.
Residents participate in weekly equine therapy with Kaufman, a lead equine specialist, as well as D Renee Reed-Baskin-Pautsch, another equine specialist. Equine therapy is used to help residents heal from co-occurring disorders and other issues. Additionally, residents participate in group therapy with an LADC. Group topics include PTSD, marriage and relationship issues, communication issues, anger management and alcohol and drug addiction.
Random drug and alcohol screenings are conducted. At Changing Gaits, a zero tolerance policy is enforced, and residents who relapse are immediately evicted from the premises. Clients get together at the weekly mandatory house meeting, and share household issues. The curfew is 11 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and one am on the weekends.
Besides horses, the ranch is home to a few rescue dogs and cats.
Kaufman’s motto, and the theme which permeates Changing Gaits, is JOY. This is an acronym for Jesus first, others second and yourself third. With that in mind, men who are looking for an affordable faith-based sober living will probably be in heaven here. Horses are amazing animals, and besides the fact that they are highly sensitive to human emotions, they also provide healing and a sense of peace, which is crucial for those in early recovery.
27274 Monument Road
Brook Park, MN 55007
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