Hilltop Recovery Services has two locations—one for men and another for women. The men reside in Middletown, California—a small, rural city with its own hot springs retreat. The men’s rehab sits right next to Clear Lake—the largest, natural, freshwater lake in California. On the other side of the lake, roughly an hour away, is their women’s facility, in Lucerne. Founded in 2007, Hilltop welcomes people from all over the world for residential treatment based on peer support, group therapy and the 12 steps.
Accommodations and Food
Both Hilltop locations have treatment and housing in one place—they’re both self-sustaining sites. The Hilltop men live on a 350-acre summer-camp setting—as many as 40 men sleep in cabins that hold two to 10 patrons—and, just like camp, there are communal bathrooms.
Rather than a single media room, the men have access to three common areas furnished with televisions and DVD players. Viewing times are from 3 pm to 10 pm on weekdays—unless group therapy is in session—and all day Sunday. The business center is comprised of two computer-equipped rooms. There is also a football field, a swimming pool and outdoor space for recreation.
The women’s site is smaller—it’s a house with only six beds—but clients have more freedom to go into town and interact with local patrons.
All food comes from Sysco, a food-service company. A staff cook prepares meals, with the help of community volunteers. Dinner items include cheese ravioli, green salad with tomatoes, garlic bread, open-faced pork sandwiches, mashed potatoes, green beans, chicken fritters, enchiladas, baked chicken, cheese burgers, ham and potatoes au gratin. Breakfast items include cold cereal, eggs, oatmeal, bacon and pancakes. At Hilltop, residents are allowed to drink caffeine in tea and coffee, but no energy drinks.
Treatment and Staff
Hilltop’s 30-day post-detox program implements the social model of recovery, where mutual self-help is promoted as the way to stay sober, through peer support and group therapy. CBT and DBT are also provided here. Group therapies focus on topics like anxiety, depression, physical and emotional pain, low self-esteem, communication, relationship building, criminality and life skills. In terms of one-on-one sessions, residents receive a minimum of one individual session per week. Each counselor is given the freedom to implement the things they’re passionate about. Clients also learn how to occupy their time while being clean and sober. Hilltop’s program is loosely based on the principles of the 12 steps, but takes into account the fact that residents might have aversions to the 12-step model, so alternatives are offered when possible. Access to online SMART Recovery message boards is provided. Hilltop also advocates LifeRing for people who have Kaiser insurance.
Hilltop Recovery Services offers dual diagnosis support. Once a month, a doctor comes on site—teleconferences are available if needed—but Hilltop doesn’t dictate whom their clients receive medical treatment from. They use referral agencies for residents seeking medical care elsewhere. Transportation is provided if the doctor’s office is local and/or the appointment’s set up in advance. If that’s not the case, there’s a Veteran Affairs (VA) bus that shuttles people all the way to San Francisco if needed.
On Monday and Thursday evenings, Hilltop hosts 12-step meetings, though clients are not required to attend. These meetings are facilitated by AA/NA and are autonomous from Hilltop’s program. Additionally, they provide transportation to outside meetings, but these are optional as well. To prevent a conflict of interest, Hilltop does not allow sponsorship—personal counselors are considered the point people.
A typical day at Hilltop begins at 6:30 am; medication is distributed at 7 am and breakfast is served at 7:45 am. The first group is at 9:30 am and lasts until 11 am, with small break before lunch at 11:30. There’s another group session from 1:30 pm to 3 and dinner is served at 5 pm. The last group session goes from 7 to 8 pm. Afterward, clients are free until lights out at 10 pm—11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Clients have free time between group therapy, which they can use this for exercise.
Visitation is on Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm. Hilltop’s pre-approved visitor system requires clients to submit a list of potential guests to their counselors every Thursday—no exceptions to this rule.
A total of 22 highly credentialed staffers ensure the needs of both facilities. During the day, three to seven employees work at each location—an even mixture of men and women. The staff-to-client ratio is roughly one-to-six. There are a few interns on staff who assist professionals with client care. Three employees work the overnight shift, and room checks occur hourly.
As mentioned, the men’s camp has a swimming pool, a football field and lots of open space for things like disc golf. The men’s camp also has an on-site gym. Additionally, Hilltop provides yoga and art therapy for men and women. In terms of extra-curricular outings, clients enjoy hiking, visiting a nearby waterfall, camping, kayaking, fishing and community volunteering (things like yard work for local citizens and setting up for local parades).
Hilltop’s a solid choice for anyone looking to recover. Their natural approach to sobriety is an excellent break from the fast-paced lifestyle. Moreover, while this facility is 12-step in focus, an effort is made to accommodate those who might have a hard time with a Higher Power. It should be noted, however, that at publication time, their website is inaccessible, requiring mystery clearance. For this reason, those who are interested in this program should call for more information.
Hilltop Recovery Services for Men
10155 Socrates Mine Rd
Po Box 626
Middletown, CA 95461
Hilltop Recovery Services for Women
3937 Foothill Dr
Lucerne, CA 95458
Hilltop Recovery Services Cost: $2,900 (30 days). Reach Hilltop Recovery by phone at (707) 987-9972 (men) and (707) 274-8171 (women) or by email at [email protected]. Find Hilltop Recovery on Facebook and Google+
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