Nestled amongst hardware stores, auto repair shops and the dilapidated strip malls in North Hollywood stands Cri-Help, a no-frills beacon of hope for many who are out of answers. At Cri-Help’s utilitarian facility, clients get a dose of an all-business-no-coddle program that gives them a shot at sobriety.
Accommodations and Food
Less than 40 miles down the road from the luxury treatment centers of Malibu, Cri-Help is a four-story complex in North Hollywood containing 40 triple-occupancy dorm-style rooms, a communal dining area, a 12-step meeting room, entertainment and recreation rooms, classrooms, a computer lab, a literacy library, group therapy rooms, a full gym and a meditation tower. The outdoor common area features a covered patio, basketball/volleyball court and a track.
Cri-Help also has an East Los Angeles location—called Socorro—which focuses on the needs of the Latino community. This campus contains 38 dorm-style rooms as well as group therapy rooms, a large dining area, entertainment and recreation rooms, classrooms, a computer lab, literacy library and gym. The Socorro location also has a basketball and volleyball court.
If there’s one thing that all Cri-Help clients and alums can agree on, it’s that their food is barely edible; however, all former client complaints were followed up with some incarnation of “but it’s totally worth it,” so the somewhat sub-par mess hall isn’t a deal breaker.
Treatment and Staff
Cri-Help offers a full range of treatment options covering the physical, psychological and spiritual realms. In addition to detox and inpatient, they have day treatment, outpatient treatment and drug-free living homes. Clients have access to individual and group counseling, daily 12-step meetings, spirituality treatment, grief and loss counseling, family support and education, gender-specific groups, acupuncture, yoga, EEG biofeedback, psychiatric evaluations, client-centered case management and treatment for co-occurring disorders.
The main focus at Cri-Help is on the 12-steps and relapse prevention. Because they believe strongly in second chances, many of their techs are not only recovering addicts but former clients as well. The administration and staff at Cri-Help are well revered, though some former clients complain about having been on a bit of a lockdown while “in custody.” There are daily room inspections and residents are expected to perform mandatory chores three times a day. Cell phones aren’t allowed but smoking, coffee (though only in the morning) and watching TV is. Flirting is an absolute no; in fact, men and women who are caught looking at each other for more than three Mississippi’s put themselves at risk for being kicked out of the program.
In addition to a residential treatment program, Cri-Help offers a detox unit at their North Hollywood location, which typically lasts up to a week, is supervised 24 hours a day and is overseen by a licensed vocational nurse.
Because Cri-Help caters to the recently incarcerated and homeless, they have classes in literacy, daily living, anger management and STD awareness that are helpful and appreciated perks. They also pair HIV-positive clients with HIV-positive counselors and provide a special support group for them. In order to maximize an individual’s success once they are discharged from the program, Cri-Help offers their clients help with resume building and job searches.
Despite all the tough love being dished out at Cri-Help, ultimately their motto seems to be that even the most hopeless cases can and do recover. They encourage their clients to enjoy their new found sobriety and often organize group activities like weekend trips to the Getty Museum and planetarium as well as to karaoke and comedy shows.
George T. Pfleger Center
11027 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
2010 N. Lincoln Park Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031
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