The AIM House organization in Boulder, Colorado, started its work as a therapeutic community for young men over 15 years ago. Earl House for young women represents its most recent efforts, having opened its doors in July 2005. The other AIM facility, Castle House, accepts only young men. Located just north of downtown Boulder, the Earl House is a historical landmark that operates as an enhanced sober living home, with a focus on education. Earl House offers a transitional living program for females recently released from residential treatment centers, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), wilderness programs or therapeutic boarding schools.
Accommodations and Amenities
Earl House can accommodate a maximum of 19 young women at a time. Clients share their bedroom with one other person. Earl accepts clients for a minimum stay of six months and reservations must be made at least 30 days in advance to ensure admission. Each floor of the house has its own shared bathroom. While Earl does employ a cleaning crew, the clients are also responsible for taking care of house chores. There are also trained chefs on staff who cook all organic food for the clients. Special dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
Rules and Regulations
Earl House offers structured, transitional living with an intensive therapy component. It is a phase program which is progress-based. A client begins with a two to three week Orientation Phase, during which they are not allowed to leave Earl without a staff escort, nor are they allowed phone or computer usage. Next up is the Intentions Phase, which lasts another two to three weeks. Clients may check out their phones at staff’s discretion and are expected to adhere to an 8 pm weekday curfew (9 on weekends). During the ensuing Actions Phase curfew moves to 9 and 10 pm, respectively. This phase lasts two to three months. During the final Merge Phase, clients should either be employed or going to school and must still keep to curfew. During this phase, the young women of Earl House are also allowed to date and have access to a counselor who helps with couples’ therapy and communication.
All transportation to outside AA/NA meetings is included in the cost of stay. Clients are allowed to keep their own bicycles, but may not have a car while staying at Earl. Earl House provides group, individual and family therapy, life skills coaching, vocational coaching and even some internships. Clients get assigned to a therapist with whom they meet one-on-one, on a weekly basis. They also work daily on goals with an assigned mentor. The house manager is available daily to answer questions, provide guidance and fix household items.
Earl House provides academic mentoring and a relapse prevention course, as well as health and wellness instruction.
AIM may have taken some time to focus on young women but by now Earl House has established itself as one of Colorado’s premiere sobriety support services. If there’s any negative to consider at all, it would be the cost. At $12,400 a month for the first two months, cost of stay at Earl is up there with economical residential treatment. Some of it may be justified by the fact that the particular price includes all therapy, vocational training, food and education provided; meaning that Earl House is more like a combination rehab facility and University than a sober living home. After the first two months, costs only go down to $8,800 month, making Earl a very useful resource for those who can afford it.
2000 21st St
Boulder, CO 80302
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Photo courtesy of AimHouse