Hazelden Reviews, Cost, Complaints



HazeldenHazelden Review

Fourteen years after AA was founded, a small farmhouse in Minnesota became a refuge for men who needed to get sober. Since then, the little farmhouse in Center City has gone co-ed and become one of the largest, most influential alcohol and drug rehab institutions in the world: Hazelden.

Since its merger earlier this year, Hazelden is now part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, with affiliates in 11 additional locations around the US—including Oregon, Florida, Chicago and New York.

Accommodations and Food

Arriving at Hazelden is more akin to checking back into college than checking into rehab. The sprawling, utilitarian campus at City Center is a far cry from the resort-like treatment facilities of Southern California and the like, but it accurately represents Hazelden’s mentality of serious sobriety. The rooms are kept clean and modern but basic, comparable to those of a three-star corporate hotel. Most rooms are shared but private ones are available (under certain circumstances).

The food at Hazelden is of the meat and potatoes persuasion; prepare to be exposed to the heartland through hearty Midwestern cuisine.

Treatment and Staff

This mother of all rehabs is centrally focused on a 12-step based model of recovery. If anyone has described their experience getting sober to be “academic,” they were probably a client of Hazelden. Stints at Hazelden are full of highly structured days, so it may not be the “drying out” vacation some addicts hope for.

Clients spend their days in meditation, doing yoga, listening to lectures, attending speaker meetings and going to individual therapy and group counseling. The staff is strict but supportive, there to enforce the rules but always willing to listen when a client needs to talk. And since there aren’t a lot of activities (especially in the dead of winter) or opposite sex socializing to distract clients, many of those in the process of sobering up to reality will appreciate a willing ear.


Not without some of the traditionally great amenities—a pool, fitness center, café, store, lounge areas, meditation room and lecture hall—the most notable asset of Hazelden is probably the different hats it wears in the world of addiction treatment. Since 1954, it’s had its own publishing division and, in 1999, began offering a Graduate Degree program in Addiction Studies; it also has its own addiction research department and sponsors ongoing events for the recovery community.

In Summary

For those not concerned about being prescribed drugs to deal with their drug problems, and for those who might respond well to being “schooled” in an old-school model of recovery, Hazelden could definitely hit the spot. With over six decades of helping people recover from the deadly disease of alcoholism and addiction, Hazelden has become a recovery brand—much like the 12 steps—that people trust.

Hazelden Location

15251 Pleasant Valley Rd
Center City, MN 55012

Hazelden Cost

$28,300 (30 days). Reach Hazelden by phone at (800) 257-7810. Find Hazelden on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

Do you have a complaint or review of Hazelden to add? Use the comments area below to add your Hazelden review.



  1. Since there seems to be only negative comments left about their experience at Hazelden, I will leave a comment on my experience.

    I had completely the opposite experience than those suggested from previous comments. Hazlden literally saved my life. Everything mentioned about only using 12 step methodologies for recovery are incorrect. Yes, Hazelden is a very 12 step based, disease model based facility, but they also incorporated regular check in with psychiatrists that implemented some of the more modern medical procedures to treatment, including prescribing medicines such as Naltrexone, Campral, Antabuse, etc I know they also used medicines for addictions other than alcohol as well. Additionally, in step with 12 step recovery, they also incorporated CBT, DBT and other psychology, therapy and psychiatric methods.

    There is a method to their madness and its not just to profit off of addicts misfortune. Being in a smaller in patient living environment was very important for my recovery. The bonding and fellowship that went on in that setting was crucial for my success in recovery. All the staff were very tentative to my needs, the Doctors, nurses and all staff were extremely compassionate and empathetic. The facilities were clean, comfortable and welcoming. The food was decent. The amenities that were available were fantastic and promoted physical activity as well as social activity. The follow-up care was also very important to my success in recovery. Like most suffering from addiction, I was emotionally, physically and spiritually bankrupt when I entered in patient treatment. I left with a new outlook on life and the necessary tools I needed to continue successful recovery every day after leaving. I would say going in with an open mind, willingness to learn and apply what is taught about recovery and asking for help were also keys to my success. It works if you work it. I would highly recommend Hazelden to anyone struggling with the disease of addiction.

    • Sorry Brian V but the Betty Ford Hazelden Foundation has a 90% failure rate. They are not helping people live a life of sobriety, serenity, and hope. They’re forcing an ideology down addicts and alcoholics throats with threats and “therapeutic confrontation”. The counselors are some of the most ignorant incompetent lackeys I’ve ever been exposed to. I finally found sobriety through a 12 step program and meetings where people are caring and work the program as it’s written in the Big Book. I occasionally run into “Hazeldonians” who actively spew their doctrine of hate and anger at meetings. Thankfully most people in 2019 just ignore them.

  2. My husband was kept at the Center City, MN Hazelden for 4 weeks without necessary medical care. He was losing sleep and exhausted due to the pain . The staff there knew my husband was there on a corporate deal and could not leave, so they did what they wanted. I was lied to by his main counselor and told that he was being given pain medication, which another counselor called and told me he had not been given anything other than necessary vitamins. Pretty much every person I talked to at that facility lied to me. I sent the CEO a letter making him aware of the situation with my husband and asked him to contact me and was totally ignored. They collected $30,000 for 4 weeks of neglect and abuse. Please choose a different facility for yourself or loved one.

  3. The accommodations, food and most of the staff were all great. My only complaint is that Hazelden only offers 12-Step-based treatment.

    The intake counselor my family and I spoke with on the phone lied, telling us that they were incorporating the latest techniques and were less 12-Step focused than in the past. This was absolutely false.

    I have nothing against the 12 Steps – far from it. They have helped millions of people. I’ve seen them work miracles on people I was tempted to dismiss as beyond saving. They can work for anyone.

    And don’t worry if you’re not that into God. Hazelden constantly reminds people that their “higher power” doesn’t have to be God.

    My problem isn’t with the 12 Steps, it’s that this is the only approach Hazelden utilizes. .

    If you question the idea that ONLY the 12 Steps can get you sober at Hazelden, you are in for tough time. You will be told that you will relapse. You will be told that your only future is jail, institutionalization or death from your addiction. You will be described as “terminally unique.” Your way thinking will be labeled “grandiose.”

    And all those people who got sober without the 12 Steps? According to Hazelden, they are simply “dry drunks.”

    If you can’t or won’t follow the 12 Steps, Hazelden will not help you. Most nights at Hazelden, residents attend a lecture from previous patients who achieved sobriety through their program. One fellow I saw speak had been through Hazelden SEVEN times. Between his first and last visit, he lost everything – his job, his house and his family. You might think that after the third or fourth time, they would consider suggesting a different type of treatment for him. Apparently they never did, they took his money every time. I’m glad that this man is now sober, but I can’t help but wonder if, had he chosen a different approach, would he have had to pay such a steep price?

    If you had a different illness that was also potentially life-threatening, what kind of doctor would you seek out? Would you go to a doctor that only offers one treatment and prescribes it to everyone regardless of their symptoms? Or would you want someone that was aware of all of the possible treatments and would prescribe the one that will work best for you?

    A more appropriate question might be, would you seek treatment at a spiritual center? Hazelden is really a spiritual program. I don’t have a problem with that, but please realize that most of the staff are not doctors or psychologists. Their counselors typically have less training than chiropractors.

    One thing to be aware of with Hazelden, and this is true for a lot of other residential programs as well, is that they do not allow patients ta take certain medications, even when prescribed by a physician. In my case, I was denied access to my ADHD medicine which meant I felt physically terrible for the entire 28 days. If you take any medications, double-check that you will be allowed to have them in the program that you choose.

    If a person is desperate to reclaim their life from addiction and are willing to do whatever they are told, Hazelden is a great option. .

    If you are interested in a treatment that’s based on psychology and/or medicine, or at least would like to be offered science-based options, I would look elsewhere.

    If money is an issue, or you’re on the fence about residential treatment, I can sum up what Hazelden teaches with this:
    For the rest of your life:
    1. Go to AA/NA meetings
    2. Get an AA/NA sponsor
    3. Work the 12 Steps

    In any case, know that millions of people have overcome their addictions. There is hope! God speed to you and your family.

  4. This place is all about the allmighty dollar. Was there a few years back and even though they accepted my insurance they made me pay cash of $12,500.00 deposit in case there was a problem with my insurance. so basically turned me away first day i wanted to get help. Came back 3 days later with the $12,500.00 cash and was admitted into the place. After a day in the “hospital” i was met by my “treatment buddy” a resident who had been there a while and showed me the ropes. This should have been the first flag to go up in my head about this place. i will try to make this as short and to the point as possible. I met with a “counselor” for about 2 hours the whole 28 days. He didnt give a rats ass about my recovery. See at Hazeldon they believe that the residents should be able to run the recovery of others as well as actual qualified phsycologists that went to school for that sort of thing. Another money saving policy im sure. so i go through 28 days and try to work on the first 5 steps of AA which doesnt even apply to the drugs i was there for. But they tell you its a one size fits all approach and it works for every drink, drug out there. Now remember when i admitted it was completely voluntary there was no pending cases in court awaiting a certain outcome like so many there are. I just really had had enough and wanted them to help give me the tools i needed to get off drugs. They let me pass through that place unnoticed and undercared for. They let me “graduate” with no tools for a aftercare program other than telling me where the AA meetings were at in my area of town. They let me walk out the door without a sponsor or someone to check in with me and make sure i was doing the deal. So the day came about a week and a half after i got out that i was using again. Wasted trip, time, money, etc etc etc. To add insult to injury when my family called and complained that i was using again they (illeagally) told them that i did not set up a recovery program to follow when i got out and as such they wouldnt expect me to remain sober…… They never told me how to go about that or pushed me to do anything of the sort. So if you want to get away from it all take a trip there, they dont sell drinks there and you can remain sober while you are actually a resident if you try hard enough to. But their profit margin is way more important than you are, so dont expect to actually get a good 21st century drug addiction recovery there. Expect a slipshot job done on your life so they can make a profit off of you…..

  5. Nurses are great, food is good, campus in amazing with walking trails and amenities. If you have a question for the management staff, look out!!!!!!! They obviously get paid way too much money and will blow you off in a heartbeat if you have already paid money. They could care less about you concerns. There is only one doctor on staff because 3 others quit this summer (2015) because of the horrible working conditions. So your loved one will only be serviced by novice nursing staff. AVOID. AVOID. AVOID, There are much better facilities out there, including Hazelton Facilities in much better and warmer places than Minnesota!

  6. Before I went to Hazelden, I had a drug problem but I had fight in myself and a light that left me after being in there. They played HORRIBLE mind games that I was not prepared for at all. I chose to go there and they made me want to be back on drugs with the things they did, not letting me use the bathroom, locking me in rooms, not allowing me to rest when I wanted. Yes it sounds unreal it was real. There was also someone a former patient I guess whom was breaking into the rooms while we were in group, who sometimes stole money, sometimes stole nothing. It was so creepy to me! When I called family to tell them this it turned out my ‘therapist’ who called my drug addiction a ‘party’ and said ‘it’s time to stop the party, so it should be like stopping going to a party’ totally confusing as I am a recovering hero on addict who did this in private I actually really hated party’s and people I was seriously depressed and could barely leave my house, had been listening in on all my calls because she knew word for word that I had spoken to my family about these break ins and stated ‘I was prohibited from talking about it anymore’ it seemed like the mind games that would be played in a modern day concentration camp. Honestly I think this place needs to be investigated ASAP for the death of Robin Williams because I know when I was there it was not rare for me to think about how to kill myself, I’ve never been like that in my life! It was scary and afterwards I went to a different rehab, and that rehab specifically said ‘we’re having to undo the mess the last place did to you’ it was sad, very sad. Btw I am sober now 2.5 years and I did it without rehab, worked much better for me. Rehabs are all about money they want you to come back, it’s a huge revolving door of the same victims who’s family’s think they are doing the ‘right thing’ because unfortunately the rehab has brainwashed them to. It’s so sad. Also Hazelden has a no scent policy! I found this extremely annoying, it may not sound that weird but just imagine absolutely no smells! So it makes everything feel like a hospital, all walls are grey, and it’s like a maze walking through there. It’s horrendous, a horrible place to go through a horrible time in your life. The pool, guess what you won’t ever be allowed to use it because they have different times set, for different groups, in the whole 30 days I was there I could not use the pool because my group didn’t fit in the time slot. They also violated my hips they act so concerned about. They told my sick mother when we first arrived that I was addicted to herion, which I was when I personally wanted to let her and my father know this. It was disgusting how Hazelden violated such a personal thing I wanted to tell the first day arriving there. So beware if you have parents that arnt well or whom you want to tell your self forget it here. My opinion was I couldn’t trust this place because they told everything I told them privately.

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