Damascus Road Recovery Reviews, Cost, Complaints

Damascus Road Recovery


Damascus Road RecoveryThe Basics

Founded in November 2003 by husband and wife team, John and Joan Scruggs, Damascus Road Recovery (DRR) is a non-profit organization that offers a long term residential substance abuse recovery program for men in Covington, Georgia. The minimum stay at DRR is two years and the program is 12-step based with a zero tolerance for substance use that is enforced through regular drug testing.

Accommodations and Food

DRR offers its residential program on two different campuses in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. There are six residences and a total of 44 beds. Clients stay five or six to a house usually two per room.  The men move into a private room as they rise in seniority and accept the responsibility of becoming house managers. Each house has its own kitchen. Residents are responsible for the cost of their own food and take turns cooking for the group, according to assigned house duties and chores.

Treatment and Staff

During treatment at DRR, clients are introduced to the disease concept of addiction and take part in individual and group therapy, the number of which is determined by each client’s individualized treatment plan. Topics of group include relapse prevention, coping skills and the 12 steps. Recreational and work therapy are also provided as part of the program. In between the morning meetings and evening groups, clients are expected to be at work or looking for work. Each DRR house has its own manager and house leader. The men never go anywhere by themselves. Getting to work or 12-step meetings is facilitated by the house van and clients stay with an “accountability buddy” at all times.

At DRR houses no personal phones are allowed throughout the length of stay. Immediate family may be contacted via landline or house Internet by clients who attend meetings regularly and have been in treatment for a minimum of 90 days. The last six months of the residential program clients spend in a transition house where they get a little more freedom. By the end of the program, the clients should have been working long enough to have put aside money to afford their own housing.

The LCDCs employed by DRR run therapy sessions, teach clients the basics of treatment and help with financial management, as well as occupational rehab. Those in need of detox or dual diagnosis support are referred to other nearby facilities.


Families of clients are also expected to attend a weekly family 12-step meeting and quarterly family therapy sessions. Weekly church attendance is also required to stay at DRR.

In Summary

With over a decade of experience in long-term substance abuse treatment, Damascus Road Recovery has a proven track record of success. The cost of stay is quite affordable, but there are some crucial points to consider before choosing residential treatment at DRR. Is the person willing to commit to the full two-year program and—perhaps more importantly, are his or her religious sensibilities in line with the obligatory church attendance and God-centered 12-step approach that DRR offers?

Damascus Road Recovery
PO Box 1555
Covington, GA 30015

Damascus Road Recovery Cost: $900 (30 days), $1,800 (Admission fee, of which $900 is non-refundable deposit). Reach Damascus Road Recovery by phone at (770) 787-1975 or by email at [email protected]. Find Damascus Road Recovery on Facebook

Do you have a complaint or review of Damascus Road Recovery? Use the comments area below to add your review for Damascus Road Recovery.




  2. Here is what my son learned from the “Brotherhood” at Damascus Road: He learned that when he goes to Walmart he can ask for a duplicate receipt and take that receipt to the service desk and return some of the items for cash. The original receipt would go to Joan who was none the wiser. What did he do with that money? He and his “Brother” used that cash to buy Kratom (look it up). He learned this behavior from other “Brothers” in the program. I honestly believe that Joan and Butch knew what was going on but turned a blind eye as not to affect their profits. Christian program my ass. Of course, this is just my opinion – an opinion that Joan or Butch did not tell me to post here. You are all praising your sons but i but you they are doing the same thing,

  3. Damascus Road Recovery…our Heavenly Father has gifted Butch and Joan Scruggs with the ability to lead and guide their clients on the road to recovery. My son is on that road. Butch and Joan along with other counselors are teaching my son how to live a life without drugs. Some people say addiction isn’t a disease. As you sit and listen and learn you start to understand.. yes it is a disease. A very deadly disease. You begin to understand what it truly means to be powerless over drugs/alcohol. The addict learns how to live, work, manage money, cook, clean, and be in a brotherhood. A brotherhood united by love and care for one another without the use of drugs. They attend church regularly which is so important. If you are ready to admit you have a problem and truly want help, Damascus Road is the place for you. It’s not the Holiday Inn but it’s also not jail. Give DRR an opportunity to be the last stop on your journey before death takes you to end of that road.

  4. This is a long term program. It is Christian based. They do not baby the clients. They do not communicate alot with the families. That is part of the recovery process and it works. If you are serious about recovery this is the place. It is not for the weak. It is a very structured program. Are they perfect? No. But they care. This is a calling/ministry for them.You might not agree with everything they do but nothing else was working for my son until he went to DRR. My son has a roof over his head, food, a job that pays his way and transportation. He has been clean almost 18 months. This program has even helped us heal as a family. I know the food may not be fresh but it’s better than jail food. This place is not the Ritz They explain everything up front and they will hold true to what they know works. You as the family member are not their concern and they do not worry about what you think is right or wrong. THIS PLACE WORKS. From a Mom that finally has some peace

  5. Damascus Road Recovery saved my life! It’s not easy by any means, but anything worth having never is. Its hard work, but well worth it. I am eternally grateful for the staff and the men who went before me. Not only was I given the opportunity to get sober, but I learned how to STAY sober!! Completely changed my life for the BEST! In all actuality, I now have a life. Thank you!!

  6. My son has been at Damascus for 23 months now. He had been through several expensive 30/60 day rehabs and a number of crisis centers. Nothing worked because these places pamper their clients. They give the addicts excuses to see their addiction as a “poor, pitiful me” ongoing reason to fail for the rest of their lives. Damascus gives every client a job and accountability. No excuses. No pampering. My son will graduate soon and intends to stay in Covington in order to keep his good job and to participate in Damascus aftercare program. It is a 12 step faith based program. Tough love works, people. Addicts can succeed here if they are ready, willing and able to give up the pity party. I’ve visited here on numerous occasions. I have met quite a few of the patients. They look you in the eye with well earned pride in themselves. People who complete this program have a high success rate. My cell is 770 548 7849. I will be glad to talk to you about my son’s success here.

  7. Trish Rawlins on

    My son has been at Damascus Road for 1 year and 9 months. We have had nothing but a positive experience. The program has saved my son and my family from hopelessness and despair. We were honestly at the end of our rope when we found out about Damascus Road. He will leave there a changed man and we have Butch and Joan to thank for that. You may call me if you have any questions about our experience and I’ll be happy to share. My cell phone is 678-301-0864.

  8. My son is 20 yrs old. He has been at Damascus for over 7 months. His drug of choice is IV Meth however he abused alcohol, Adderol, marijuana, etc. He has been an addict since age 13. Grew up in a Christian home. Excelled in sports and school. Me and my family have spent over $10,000 on rehab for him sending him to the finest rehab in Hollywood Florida…to an outpatient facility in Rome, Ga….To Pennfield in south Ga…to Carter Hope Center in Dalton Ga. with no recovery. Only false hopes and promises. He said he would never go to Damascus because it’s at least a 2 year program. Once HE hit rock bottom and almost died on an overdose, HE ASKED to go to Damascus. I was skeptic because of some of the reviews I read BUT, to know what I know now…..***Donated food: when he was out, he didn’t even eat because of the drugs and when he did I can assure you it was worse than our dates food. ***Rent/donations: when he was out, he had to be an adult and pay rent for his apartment along with utilities, etc. Counselors: Butch and Joan along with other staff have more education and counseling certificates than most drug counselors in the state if not a larger area.
    I admit, I did find some of their rules hard. Hard on me. Because of the lack of communication. However, I want my son well. I want him to live. SO, if I’m doing so, and not having to bury my 20 yr old son, I can accept not seeing him often and not getting phone calls often. HE IS 7 MONTHS CLEAN. Longest time since age 13. Damascus is for those who WANT to be clean. For those who WANT to learn to live with an addiction. You can find fault anywhere. But, the truth of the matter is, the finest and most expensive and extravagant rehabs may make you as a parent or family member feel good about what you’re doing, but this is about THE ADDICT. Damascus Road helps addicts recover. As opposed to the alternative: death, prison/jail, or on a vent for life in a veg state (which I see daily as a psych nurse), I gladly support Damascus and my Son. So, stop enabling, making excuses, allegations, etc. get your loved one somewhere THEY can recover. Then get YOU some help, which Damascus stresses. It’s helped me tremendously. Not only are they helping my son, but they enabled me to help myself. All is good today. One day at a time. Good luck and I hope you can experience the freedom and peace I feel as my son recovers at Damascus Recovery.
    Signed, a Mother who loves her son more than anything…..

  9. Connie L Brown on

    Wow! I’m floored. You people think that because Joan and Butch are in control of this facility it’s a bad thing? How many rehabs have you people been involved in? How much money have you lost to the DISEASE of ADDICTION? How close have you come to losing one of your precious children? Understand me when I say, i have 20+ years of experience with 2 sons who are addicts…The pain has been relentless. My sons have gone through countless rehabs all over southeast Georgia. My husband and I have spent thousands of dollars trying to help our sons. Not once, did any facility ever send us to Al-Anon, until we met Joan. Besides helping my son, they have saved me! Al-Anon is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I only wish someone had told me to go years ago.

    My son is currently at Damascus Road. He has been there for 19 months. He just moved into the transition house. He has worked very hard to get where he is. But, the difference this time is just that. HE has worked to get where he is. Not Mama and Daddy. My boy was knocking at deaths door the day he found this place. His cousin was a graduate of DRR and helped him get in touch with Butch. He had NO money. All he had left in this world was his pickup. That was his collateral to gain admission. Every other facility we have been involved in wanted OUR money. At DRR, the client pays. He has learned a whole new way to live. He has learned to stand on his own two feet. He has learned that this life is a precious gift from God. What you do with it is up to you. He is thriving because he worked for it!

    I love this place and this program because of what it’s done for my son. But, also for what they’ve done for me. Al-Anon works. But only if you work it!

    And as for what happens to clients after the leave DRR. That’s up to the client. They have to work their program. And the people who love them have to work their program too. God gives us FREE WILL for a reason. Don’t blame DRR if the client goes back to his old ways.

    Thank you Joan and Butch! I love you both and will be forever grateful for the work you do.


  10. Daren mcfarland on

    It is awful to see the things that are said here. I am a gradute of this program and a fond believer that it helps people that want to be helped. Anyone that wants to can find something bad about any place they go to. Especially an addict. My wife worked there also after i graduated. It is sad to see these comments about such a wonderful place. This place could save someones life like it did mine but if they were to look at these comments they may not go. May that be on your concious if that were to happen. Anyone is more than welcome to email me about this place and i can tell you what it did for me and many other people i know.

    • Here is my opinion on your comment:

      Firstly, I’m not an addict nor have I ever been. Yet, I see problems with DRR. Their main problem is a love of money. You don’t have to look hard to see that. Secondly, Butch and Joan are in my opinion quite possibly the two most arrogant people on the planet. My son left a year after beginning the program. I have since run into Joan, Butch, and their office assistant out in public. Not one of them had the respect to even ask how my son was doing? Why? Because he left their program and is doing fine and they can’t stand that. It could also be that they lost his $900+ per month too.

      I wonder how they would feel if they know that practically all of their beloved “Alumni” are either drinking or using Opium substitutes like Kratom. Yet, they invite them back time and time again to sponsor current clients. Sounds like a real smart decision to me.

      Perhaps my biggest complaint is that there is no counseling at this place. You see, I do not believe that addiction is a disease. Rather, it is a symptom of an underlying issue. All of the marketing material for DRR boasts about their one-on-one counseling. There is NO one-on-one counseling at this facility. Only meetings and the endless number of “essays” that the clients have to write. How can that help anyone get to the root cause of their addiction?

      Sure, this place might help someone who has nowhere else to turn but even then I think there are better options.

      I don’t like the way that parents are made to feel that the addiction is THEIR fault. You can attend a family “education” day to experience this firsthand. It is just more bull designed to keep you trusting them because as they say “we know what we are doing and you don’t”.

      The clients are controlled to the point that they can’t sneeze without another client having to report it. They force them to be accountable to each other instead of learning how to be accountable to themselves. This controlling coupled with the forced detachment from family causes them to find inventive ways to contact family members such as borrowing cellphone from coworkers at their job sites. Since practically all the money they make slaving away each day goes to the program, they are forced to find inventive ways to get extra cash (for example the Walmart scam). What do many of the clients do with that money? They buy Kratom and high-caffeine energy drinks on their way to work.

      Lastly, you call this place wonderful but how can you say that when basically all the food is donated and much of it is expired? Did you not get sick of eating hotdogs and chicken everyday? I supposed you left before the black mold incident or the backed up septic tank. Wonderful is not an adjective I would use to describe this place.

      Again, all of above is just my opinion.

  11. I know for a fact that 50 percent relapse after leaving the program and yes all the food is expired money is their main objective

  12. It is all about the money at Damascus Road. Anyone who questions this should do a Google search and look for their tax returns. Both the owner and his wife pull down huge salaries (vastly above their education levels) all while their clients have donated (expired )food to eat, deplorable living conditions, and absolutely no counseling.

  13. Michael Bishop on

    I was in the program 18 months. Eveything everyone is saying is true. And factual. The cost is 272 a week though they might tell you 225. The owner and his wife are very arrogent and they absolutly try and trap the clients. They told me i would go to prison for 5 years and they would do anything in their power to send me there. This is for a dui. The food is all expired and the recovery is a bunch of addicts controling other addicts. Manipulating them so they can get out. Everyone hates it. You can call me, email me anything. I was there a year and a half. The owner is money hungry and the wife is the rudest person i have ever met. There success rate is a lie. The time you get with one on one counseling is none. Its a joke. Money, greed sick.

  14. Client Family Member on

    I do not agree with the comment that this facility is prejudiced against blacks or gays because both have been in the program. However, I do agree that this facility operates with a love of money. The clients all work and pay $900 per month to the program PLUS a 10% “tithe” on their income goes to the program too. That leaves most clients with very little left over.

    Despite all the grant money the program receives (records available online via persistent searches) they still constantly beg for money and food for the clients whilst the owners rake in huge salaries. The food they receive is not nutritionally sound or healthy by any means.

    Clients are subjected to harmful living conditions including septic tanks that backup, and black mold on the walls. This came to light a few months ago as part of a legal issue with one of their clients. The owner of the program (an ordained Baptist minister mind you) told the clients to lie about the living conditions if they were asked any questions. Real Christian, huh?

    The owners of this program are two of the most arrogant people to walk the face of the earth. They may have counseling certifications but they are not counselors in the truest sense of the word. They have a one size fits all approach to recovery and offer no individual counseling to help clients get to the root cause of THEIR addiction. They are verbally abusive towards clients and often threaten to “send them back to prison” as many of their clients are mandated by the court system. Their favorite phrase is “we know what we are doing and you don’t so get out of the way and let us do it”.

    This facility is not licensed by the State of Georgia. Why? Because if they were they’d be shut down in two seconds. They don’t want to follow any regulations nor do they “want anyone telling us how to run our program”. Arrogance, like I said.

    Families of clients in the program are forced to attend Al-anon meetings in order to get a monthly 10 minute phone call with their loved one. Every other week you must attend a non-sanctioned Al-anon meeting at the facility. There, you will endure “judgement” to determine if you are “getting it” or not. More arrogance, are you getting the picture? The owner’s wife leads the meeting and can apparently see inside your mind to know where you are in working the program. You see, she has worked it 23 years and that has given her some magical insight into “knowing” where you are too. I agree that the families of addicts are sick too but a loving approach with them would go a lot further than a judgemental approach.

    You may or may not get a pass with them every 90 days. You may or may not get to attend one of their family education days where you are made to feel that YOU are the cause of your loved one’s addiction. During a two hour lecture during family day, you will hear the owner boast about his knowledge of addiction and spew forth scientific data. He will say almost exactly the same thing at the next family education day. It’s like a broken record. A lot of what he says is incorrect based on legitimate medical sources.

    I would avoid this program if at all possible. There are legitimate licensed programs out there where you will be treated with compassion instead of ignorant arrogance.

  15. Family Member on

    This place is a cult where they brainwash the men. They are racist, prejudice and money hungry. It used to be good and a faith based program but the love of money has affected the care of the clients and their families. They are mean and cruel to the men but the men are taught to love their abusers and will go so far as to defend them and lie to protect them. They are ruled by fear. You will only see white men here. So, that tells me that the other races and nationalities are not worth helping. You will never see a gay man at this rehab either. With research you will find that several people who were close to this rehab or it’s owners committed suicide.

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