The Friary, originally a retreat for retired Franciscan monks, was sold in the late 1970s to Lakeview Center, a network of behavioral health, vocational and child protective services. Located on the Fairpoint Peninsula of the Florida Panhandle, it offers a residential program with an emphasis on Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as well as a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) program.
Accommodations and Food
Set amid an abundance of azalea bushes and live oaks with Spanish moss, The Friary evokes the architecture of a Spanish mission. A flowing water fountain and a view of Pensacola Bay help to create a serene environment. The Franciscans’ former prayer chapel is used for group therapy, as well as for 12-step meetings.
The Friary has a 30-bed capacity and residents, who are separated by gender, generally sharing rooms. A private room costs an extra $3,000 per month. Each of the cozy rooms has a bathroom.
A private cook serves three meals a day. Lunch and dinner include a salad bar and two entrees, which are designed to appeal to a resident’s palate, as well as to meet nutritional guidelines. Brown rice and freshly steamed vegetables are served on a regular basis. Tostada soup is a lunchtime favorite and one of many soups offered. Jello and cake are often served for dessert. In addition to foods containing sugar, residents are allowed to drink caffeinated beverages. Coffee is provided regularly until 11 pm.
There is only one TV on the premises and viewing is limited to weekends. Laundry facilities and soap are provided.
Upon admittance, residents are allowed to bring allowance money (up to $20 per week in cash), a CD player with earphones, an alarm clock and personal mementos such as photographs. Cell phones are prohibited but residents are allowed limited pay phone privileges.
Treatment and Staff
The Friary offers a 23-30-day intensive inpatient treatment program for those struggling with substance abuse. Medication-assisted treatment is provided for most residents, with drugs such as Suboxone, Naltrexone, Camporal and Vivatril being prescribed. A medical doctor is on staff and registered nurses who work around the clock dispense medications and monitor residents. When appropriate, residents are prescribed antidepressants for co-occurring disorders and medications like Buspar for insomnia.
Each resident follows an individualized treatment plan, with weekly treatment including group therapy, individual therapy and attendance at on-site 12-step meetings. Staff can also drive clients to local AA, CA and/or NA meetings.
There are 31 staff members including a medical director/ certified addictionologist, registered nurses and Master’s-level mental health and substance abuse counselors. Many staff members are in recovery. The staff-to-resident ratio is approximately one-to-one.
Residents can work out in the fitness room and participate in outdoor recreational activities such as swimming and walking. A weekly yoga class is taught by a visiting instructor.
Acupuncture and experiential therapy, including music and art therapy, is offered. Extracurricular activities involve making sandwiches after a noon on-site AA meeting, as well as a restaurant outing after an off-site Friday night meeting.
The aftercare program, which is included in the cost, consists of weekly therapy groups for alumni at The Friary and facilities in Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach. Alumni are encouraged to attend as many groups as they want.
The Friary’s staff work closely with residents to provide ongoing care and the secluded setting will appeal to those seeking a haven, as well as a rehab.
4400 Hickory Shores Blvd
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
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