Located in Browning, Montana, a small town bordering Glacier National Park, Crystal Creek Lodge blends Native American beliefs with traditional substance abuse treatment. Crystal Creek is reportedly the only certified drug and alcohol treatment center in the state that is specifically for Native Americans.
The facility offers both residential treatment and outpatient services for Native American adults and adolescents, addressing each client’s needs on an individual basis. With funding from the Indian Health Service, those who attend this program do not have to worry about paying for treatment. Through 12-step work, Native American ceremonies and intensive therapy, clients can learn how to be free of drugs and alcohol.
Accommodations and Food
Crystal Creek Lodge offers basic lodging that houses two clients per room. The rooms feature two twin-sized beds and small storage space for clothing. A lounge area provides a communal hangout space with a TV that can be watched in the evenings. No personal cell phones or laptops are permitted in this program. When it comes time for therapy, clients make the short walk over to the main building, which has several therapy rooms, a dining hall and offices.
Three meals a day are prepared by the staff and served cafeteria-style. The hearty options include roasted chicken, pizza, pasta and burgers. Snacks and coffee are available at certain times of the day.
Treatment and Staff
Both the adult and adolescent programs hold up to 18 clients at a time, providing an intimate atmosphere for treatment. The adult program treats clients 18 and above, while the adolescent program is for those between the ages of 12 and 18. The length of stay is determined on an individual basis, usually falling somewhere between 30 and 90 days.
Detox is not available so clients must arrive physically stabilized. Mental health issues are addressed during an initial assessment. While there is no on-staff psychologist, referrals to outside professionals can be made on an as-needed basis.
Therapy takes up a large portion of the client’s schedule during their stay. One-on-one sessions with the primary counselor occur on a weekly basis, while group therapy happens for several hours each day. Group topics include processing, parenting, relapse prevention, anger management, family violence and trauma. Clients also receive substance abuse education through lectures and discussion. When it comes to creativity, clients are able to express themselves in an arts and crafts class.
The 12 steps are a crucial part of this recovery program. Residents participate in a variety of on-site AA/NA meetings and, once a week, can go into town for an off-site meeting. Big Book study is also a part of the schedule, allowing residents to delve further into the background and traditions of the 12 steps. While sponsorship is not required, clients are encouraged to take advantage of this feature of AA/NA.
Spirituality and Native American tradition are integrated into the recovery process. Each morning begins with a group meditation, allowing clients to enter a zone of stillness. Clients are encouraged to participate in sweat lodges, sage burning and other group activities specific to their tribe. Talk circles enable elders to discuss traditions, wellness and healing.
Clients who finish residential treatment have the option of continuing on to the outpatient program, which includes weekly group therapy and individual counseling every three weeks. These services are available to clients for an indefinite period of time.
The staff includes licensed counselors, a nursing director and a therapist.
The facility has a small weight room, as well as plenty of outdoor space to take walks. Clients are also taken to an off-site pool for swimming once a week.
Crystal Creek Lodge offers a three-day family program for all family members of a client. This involves family counseling, couples counseling, educational activities and group therapy.
Crystal Creek Lodge offers a solid mix of Native American practices and the traditional 12-step approach to recovery. Native American adults and adolescents can find treatment here that is both free of cost and potentially life-changing.
Crystal Creek Lodge
Old Hospital Hill
PO Box 450
Browning, MT 59417
Crystal Creek Lodge Cost: Free (30 days). Reach Crystal Creek Lodge by phone at (877) 338-3784 or email at [email protected].
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