Surrounded by apple orchards, humble schoolhouses and chapels, High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, Connecticut is an outstanding inpatient treatment facility for substance abuse. High Watch is on a campus of more than 300 acres, land granted to AA‘s co-founder Bill Wilson in 1940. Bill’s own benefactor was Sister Francis, a disciple of New Thought, the spiritual movement whose aims of self-betterment and spiritual harmony she believed were echoed in AA’s 12 steps—which remain the building blocks of the treatment program at High Watch.
Accommodations and Food
The town of Kent is in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, two hours north of New York City; New Haven and Hartford are both an hour’s drive. Residents usually stay for 30 days at the High Watch compound, which rests of simple, cultivated grounds surrounded by lots of rolling hills, flowers and natural beauty. The campus buildings are colonial; the building referred to as the “Chapel” dates to the mid-18th century and another resembles a red and white schoolhouse. Clients sleep in houses. High Watch has a total of 78 beds.
Cell phones are permitted during certain hours. Laptops are prohibited but monitored computer use is sometimes approved.
If clients forget and/or desire a yoga mat or eye pillow, these can be purchased on campus. Residents should bring money for use at the laundry facilities but detergent and bleach are available for free.
Meals are served in the large dining room. B&B style breakfast is made to order. Proper nutrition is an important part of High Watch’s program of healthy living. There’s a full salad bar and vegetarian and gluten-free diets are accommodated. Bringing in outside food and drink is prohibited though—even bottled water. No hard candy or chocolate is available, but Jolly Ranchers and lollipops are sold. Clients can’t bring loose tobacco and rolling papers, but cigarettes and coffee are allowed.
Treatment and Staff
Clients must be 18 and over and must arrive sober and submit to a health screening prior to check in. There is no detox facility on-site, but direct transport from detox can be arranged.
Given its history, the 12-step model is, unsurprisingly, a central piece of the High Watch treatment program. There are no visiting hours during the week, but clients are kept busy. Breakfast opens at 8 am. At 9:15, men and women split up for 45 minutes of Daily Reflections, then there’s Big Book study and a non-denominational chapel service before lunch at noon. Men and women split up again for a 1 pm group—either Living Sober or Relapse Prevention. Afternoon schedules may vary, but clients typically have personal therapy appointments, meditation or yoga, and a Fourth Step Study before dinner at 5:45 pm. After dinner, clients attend AA meetings either on or off campus. Every client meets with his or her therapist twice a week individually and once a week in a group context.
Director of Addiction Medicine Ramneesh Trehan, MD forges a program that equally emphasizes education around the neurobiology of addiction and addressing co-occurring disorders like bi-polar disorder, depression, and anxiety. All members of the clinical team have Master’s degrees; other staff members are accredited nurses and nurse practitioners, and LCSWs that have years of experience treating psychiatric disorders with DBT.
Alanon meetings take place on campus every Saturday at 4 pm. Also on Saturdays, an open AA meeting is offered, giving non-addict guests the opportunity to attend. Family and friends are able to visit clients every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4 pm.
In addition to yoga and meditation, clients can work out in the fitness center, hike, play volleyball and make art. The facility also offers equine therapy. There’s also a Transition Support Program where clients attend six coaching sessions after completing the residential program.
Family therapy is also offered. Family services are at no additional cost to clients.
High Watch Recovery Center accepts “out-of-network” insurance benefits and is also in-network with Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. There are also scholarships available for people with dire financial circumstances. The care is excellent, the treatment program well organized. Families have a lot to gain from sending their loved ones to High Watch; this experience may be transformational especially for those families who have struggled with acceptance of addiction, its gravity and the armor necessary to fight it.
High Watch Recovery Center
P.O. Box 607
Kent, CT 06757
High Watch Recovery Center Cost: $14,280 (30 days) or $476 (per day). Reach High Watch Recovery Center by phone at (860) 927-3772 or by email at [email protected]. Find High Watch Recovery Center on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest
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