America’s Keswick, a Christian ministry, runs addiction recovery facilities for men and women on a lush compound in the small central New Jersey town of Whiting. The men’s facility, Colony of Mercy, was founded in 1897 William Raws as a spiritual restoration center for men struggling with addiction. Today, it provides Bible-based residential treatment for men with struggling with drug and alcohol addictions.
Accommodation and Food
The Colony of Mercy residence hall is a large brick building that houses more than 50 men, two or three to a room. The facility is large and set on beautifully landscaped grounds, with a golf course, pool and two lakes. Physical activity is encouraged, and a gym with exercise equipment, a sauna and group sports gear is on site.
Each client is placed into a work assignment on arrival, one of which is cooking. The residents are responsible for planning the menu and preparing meals for the group. While food allergies can be accommodated, meals are generally basic and hearty, with adequate nutritional value.
Treatment and Staff
The Colony offers an initial residential recovery program of a minimum of 120 days, followed by an eight-month non-residential aftercare phase. Once placed on a waiting list, clients are expected to pursue church-based Bible-study groups in the six- to eight-week period before admission. Only medication essential to supporting life is allowed, and clients must be sober upon entering the facility. The Colony does not offer detox, medical care or dual diagnosis support.
Prior to admission, clients must agree to abstain from all tobacco products, as well as drugs, alcohol and psychotropic drugs. Most importantly, they must be open to biblical teaching as the sole source for recovery. Discussion of, or literature relating to, outside treatment methods, including 12-step programs, is not permitted.
There are no medical or psychiatric methods incorporated into treatment; all recovery is based on Christian principles of spiritual transformation. Clients are guided in individual counseling, group therapy, Bible study and worship services. Counselors are available at all times for personal sharing and prayer.
The Colony provides a strictly structured environment, with little time for leisurely activities. Clients are assigned to one of four work therapy groups, which consume six to eight hours of every day. Each man is also assigned a chaplain, with whom deeper spiritual practice is encouraged. Men are required to memorize Bible verses and study scripture in order to replace old behaviors and beliefs with new ones.
Clients may receive letters and calls on a payphone, but are not permitted to make outgoing calls. Letter writing is encouraged. Loved ones may contact the client’s chaplain with questions and emergencies. Visitors are only allowed after the client’s initial 30-day orientation is complete and then only every other weekend, for Saturday or Sunday service.
Days begin at 6:15 am with breakfast at 7 am, followed by teaching on weekly topics. Work begins around 9 am and ends around 4 pm, with an hour for lunch. Evenings include dinner, exercise, homework and personal time. Each evening closes with prayer from 9 pm to 9:30 pm, with lights out at 11 pm. Church services on weekends and a movie night on Fridays round out the week.
There are 10 Christian counselors and chaplains on staff, with additional ministers and support staff visiting the facility to lead specific groups.
Aftercare consists of an eight-month commitment to a local church. During this time, the client practices fellowship with his pastor. Spiritual and relationship goals are established, with progress and commitment monitored.
A residential recovery program called Barbara’s Place recently opened for women struggling with addiction. America’s Keswick also offers a program called Women of Character for wives and fiancées of Colony residents. The women are encouraged to become actively involved in the process of recovery
Families for Christ is designed specifically for the married men in the Colony and their wives. After graduation, the couples are invited to come back for a weekend program that is held once a month and includes group activities.
The Colony of Mercy offers a highly structured spiritual program for men of the Christian faith. As biblical study is the main component of recovery, those who aren’t Christian are not accepted into the program. However, for men who do not require detox, or dual diagnosis support for co-occurring disorders, the Colony offers a powerful immersion in faith-based recovery. They require only a $500 admission fee, after which all treatment is free.
Colony of Mercy
601 Route 530
Whiting, NJ 08759
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