The Good Samaritan Colony in rural Ruby, South Carolina, about an hour’s drive from Charlotte, North Carolina, was founded in 1978 by a group of Baptist pastors, some of them recovering alcoholics. Its mission is to provide residential rehabilitation, based on biblical scripture, to men who are struggling with substance abuse issues.
Accommodations and Food
The Good Samaritan Colony’s 65-acre facility includes housing, a furniture-refinishing shop and a mechanics shop. Residents recover in all the peace and quiet this green campus has to offer. The residential housing has eight double-occupancy bedrooms with twin-sized beds, shared bathrooms, walk-in closets and separate desks. Common areas include the dining hall, four rooms with TVs and a weight room. After working hours, typically 5 pm to 11 pm, residents are free to watch TV.
Residents at The Good Samaritan Colony most often dine on good old Southern comfort food. Breakfast is biscuits and gravy and grits, or sausage and eggs. Lunches are sandwiches and a snack, while dinner items include fried chicken, ribs, ham, lima beans, collard greens, corn bread and cake for dessert. Caffeine and sugar are allowed—this is the South. Any dietary health issues are the resident’s responsibility, mostly because funds are limited.
Treatment and Staff
The Good Samaritan Colony’s spiritual approach to addiction is simple: it views any kind of substance abuse as a sin rather than a disease. The belief is that this method takes the excuses out of the equation and puts the responsibility onto the client himself. Everything taught here is directly out of The Bible. While the length of this program is one year, residents are encouraged to stay as long as they wish.
Using a technique that is somewhat similar to group therapy, The Good Samaritan Colony facilitates what it calls “jam sessions.” Everyone gathers around to discuss a particular section of scripture in sessions that sometimes go on for hours. Clients also get at least one individual therapy session a week, with either a visiting theologian or the program director.
Men take part in manual labor therapy, including gardening and landscaping and working in one of the two shops. They also listen to Christian music and are encouraged to read. The Good Samaritan Colony has a lending library of Christian and secular literature available to all residents.
Should there be any medical emergencies, residents are taken to the local hospital. While The Good Samaritan Colony is not medically equipped to facilitate detox, they sometimes accept men who are naturally detoxing from a substance. Typically, this isn’t a major issue unless it’s Xanax—these clients are taken to the ER. Dual diagnosis men are welcome but are not allowed to take any psychotropic drugs while at the facility. Rather than AA/NA, residents are taken to off-site revivals and church services. Church attendance is required at least once a week and revival meeting attendance is twice a month. Bible study is also mandatory.
Residents rise at 6:50 am for breakfast at 7:20. The work day begins at 8 am and lunch is served at 12 pm. Everyone works from 1 pm to 5 pm. Dinner is served at 5:30 pm. Afterward, there is free time during which residents can watch TV, study The Bible or even have informal group sessions. Quiet time is at 9 pm and lights out is at 11 pm. Should residents wish to work out, they do so during free time—exercise is encouraged but not mandatory.
Visitation occurs on the weekends. On the third weekend of every month, from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, residents are allowed to make outgoing calls on the house phone. Typically, call times are limited to 10 minutes though there is some flexibility. Extra-curricular outings include trips to the movies during Christmas time and, five times a year, going out to restaurants.
At The Good Samaritan Colony, residents engage in treatment with only the program director and the theologian—a staff-to-client ratio of one-to-eight. While the director is not credentialed, he has a lot of experience in sober living. A live-in senior resident is available 24/7 for the needs of residents including detox emergencies and answering the phone. For added convenience, the program director’s home is only five minutes away.
Men at The Good Samaritan Colony have the opportunity to learn or hone vocational skills through the manual labor program. During their residency, they have the opportunity to garden, landscape, work in the machine shop and finish furniture.
As far as family programming, if a client’s family wishes to meet with the theologian or the program director, they’re welcome to come to the facility and process any issues.
Unlike the vast majority of residential programs, where spirituality is often a supplementary component to recovery, Christianity is the only protocol at The Good Samaritan Colony. For potential clients who are comfortable with this concept, there is structured support for the first year of recovery, often the most difficult year of sobriety. Not only do they welcome anyone who is willing to embrace recovery, this facility is also totally free.
The Good Samaritan Colony
Ruby, SC 29741
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