The Hickey House was established in 1986 in the picturesque Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia, which is in the mountains about 90 miles north of Atlanta. Founded by husband and wife team Tom and Elaine Hickey, The Hickey House is a long-term residential treatment facility for men dealing with substance abuse issues. While they have many components of a sober living facility, they offer individual and group therapy on the premises. The Hickey House began as a co-ed facility, but the rehab became male-only in 2003 due to the Hickeys experiencing deteriorating health. Tom Hickey died from cancer in 2006, with over 38 years of sobriety. Elaine remains on staff, and is active today as The Hickey House director.
Accommodations and Food
The Hickey House accommodates 50 men in five houses in the Robertstown Valley mountain area, which is north of the town of Helen. The family-style homes include fully equipped kitchens, fitness rooms, and spacious living rooms with flat screen TV’s. All the properties are located in rural areas that have fishing lakes, hiking trails and outdoor decks. Amenities include free Wi-Fi and laundry facilities. Clients are allowed to use their cell phones, as Hickey House is not a lock down facility, and believes that for treatment to be successful, clients must learn independent living skills.
Clients are paired in double-occupancy rooms that include twin beds, Cable TV access, dressers and ample storage space. At Hickey House, residents participate in making food choices and designing menus at the weekly house meeting. After they compose a shopping list, staff purchases groceries utilizing $25 taken from each resident’s weekly $200 housing fee. Residents are responsible for preparing their own meals, and staff provides assistance. House managers live on the premises, and oversee day-to-day operations.
Treatment and Staff
Prior to admission, clients undergo a comprehensive assessment to ensure that Hickey House is a good fit. Those in need of detox are provided with appropriate medical referrals. Dual diagnosis support for those with severe co-occurring disorders is not provided. Prior to admission, clients must be mentally and physically stable and know how to live in a community setting. Clients receive individualized treatment plans. Treatment length is typically between six and 18 months.
The program includes two daily group sessions, individual therapy (per client’s needs) and attendance at daily on-site 12-step meetings (for the first 30 days). After that time, the meeting quota varies per client. Group therapy is conducted in a specific therapy room, which was built into one of the houses. At Hickey House, evidence-based modalities are used, including a blend of three types of therapies. Besides CBT, staff utilizes reality therapy and person-centered therapy. Reality therapy allows clients an opportunity to work through unusual thought processes, including delusional beliefs about their addictions. Person-centered therapy, which was developed by Carl Rogers, encourages clients to develop an empathetic rapport with counselors. Additionally, 12-step principles and concepts are incorporated during treatment.
During the first month, staff must accompany clients off the premises. After the first 30 days, unemployed clients are assisted in finding full time work in the local community. Participation in community service is permitted for those who have an alternate source of income. Additionally, therapy requirements lessen, on a case-by-case basis. Clients seeking an academic protocol are encouraged to enroll in school after 90 days. Other requirements include continued involvement in AA/NA, performance of household chores and attendance at weekly house meetings.
At Hickey House, there is a zero tolerance policy. Clients are subject to random drug and alcohol screenings. Residents who relapse are immediately evicted from the premises. Other forbidden behaviors, which warrant immediate eviction, include smoking inside the houses, engaging in vandalism, entertaining female guests and having weapons on the premises. Smoking is allowed outside in designated areas. Females are allowed to participate in the open AA meeting at the Blue House on Wednesday nights.
The treatment team is led by co-founder Elaine Hickey who holds a Master’s of Education degree and serves as the director. the program director is a former resident who was personally mentored by Tom Hickey. He is a Bachelor’s-level certified clinical supervisor/certified addictions counselor level II/certified anger management specialist. Also on board is a counselor in training, who has extensive experience working with criminal justice clients. He leads the Outdoor Experience Therapy groups.
The Outdoor Experience Therapy program allows residents opportunities to integrate nature-oriented activities in their treatment. Activities include mountain biking, fishing, camping, hiking and kayaking. The outdoor program has elements of wilderness therapy, and focuses on helping clients learn how to have fun in sobriety while overcoming challenges that occur in outdoor activities, thus promoting a sense of wellness and accomplishment.
In its 30 year history, The Hickey House has established a good reputation in the local recovery community. The staff works hard to help their clients stay clean and sober, while rebuilding new lives. The program is very affordable and encourages men to stay long enough to build a solid foundation for sobriety. The initial admission cost is $5,300, which includes the 30-day cost of $800 plus a $4,500 entry fee. After the first month, the 30-day cost is $800, which covers therapy, housing and food. For those seeking a gorgeous mountain setting that looks like it’s straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, The Hickey House might be the perfect match.
The Hickey House Location
130 Taylor Rd
Helen, GA 30545
The Hickey House Cost
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