Insight Program Reviews, Cost, Complaints

Insight Program


insight-programInsight Program Review

An institution for over 25 years, The Insight Program provides recovery services for young people between the ages of 13 and 25 in several Southern locations. Combining a 12-step based philosophy with what they term “Enthusiastic Sobriety,” which dictates that young people need their own program of recovery based on positive reinforcement, Insight has facilities in Atlanta, Georgia as well as Greensboro and Charlotte, North Carolina. The greater Atlanta branch, its main center of operation, offers an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) where residents receive day treatment while staying in nearby housing facilities.

Accommodations and Food

Though its services are designed as outpatient, Insight offers two levels of housing for clients attending the program. The first, “Step One,” is a halfway house for adults 18 years and older. Residents’ stays generally last 90 days, and are required to attend outpatient sessions and regular 12-step meetings. The second option is their “Step Two Recovery Center,” which is an eight-bed facility that offers 24-7 supervision for teens between the ages of 13 and 17. The typical length of stay at Step Two is 45 days.

Both facilities sleep three to a room in twin beds, with genders kept separate. Worth noting is that when the facilities aren’t at maximum capacity, private rooms are sometimes available for no extra cost. While Step One offers a media room with a TV for residents to use during free time, the secondary location only provides board games. Both homes are stocked with grocery-store food, and clients are allowed sugar and caffeine.

Besides its usual outpatient program schedule, residents are also transported to the Insight center for 12-step meetings four times a week.

Neither housing site permits outside electronics. The Step Two house has a phone for emergencies only, and the Step One location has a community phone that residents can use during free time. Visitation is carefully managed, as the Step One house does not allow visitors to enter the facility. Pre-approved guests are allowed to pick up clients on Sundays for a meal out, or a home visit if they return by midnight.

At both houses, residents wake between 8:30 and 9 am and have treatment five days a week, from Monday to Friday. At the Step One location, the day runs from 11 am to 3 pm; at Step Two, it’s from 10 am to 4 pm. Although there is no set lights-out time, residents must wake up at the aforementioned time. Scheduled free time is on Wednesday evenings and during the daytime on Sundays.

Treatment and Staff

Given its multiple locations, Insight has a myriad of recovery programs, which mix outpatient services with halfway house style housing. At all of the locations, the outpatient services tend to follow the same structure with a one-and-a-half-hour group session, one peer based support group and one individual session per week.

The group sessions focus on topics like peer pressure, building self-esteem, trust issues and relapse prevention. There’s also more general fare in keeping with their Enthusiastic Sobriety approach, with subjects like “how to have fun while staying sober.”

In terms of core staff members, Insight primarily employs a team of substance abuse counselors, who have have completed all classroom and practical training hours for national and international counselor certification. The Step One program has two counselors, while the Step Two location has six. A combination of peer counselors and licensed counselors specialists comprise the majority of the staff at both sites, with a nod to making a breakdown of the staff an even mix of genders. Both locations also have around-the-clock counselors available for overnight assistance. There is a psychiatrist on staff and Insight has dual diagnosis care options, though access to this care depends on each client’s intake evaluation. For those who require additional assistance, outside referrals are made to local therapists. There is no medical detox offered at the Insight program.

Insight’s parent and family support group meets once a week on Thursdays; family members are required to attend when a son or daughter is in treatment (though residents do not attend these sessions.)


While Insight does not work modern alternative therapies into its daily treatment program, it does offer a host of recreational activities to provide outlets for the youth that they serve. During free time, residents can enjoy a more informal setting where they are allowed to draw, play music and explore whatever other hobbies might interest them—these can include spur-of-the-moment activities, like relaxing and playing guitar. Further, on Friday and Saturday evenings, clients go on a counselor-accompanied outings; past excursions have included bowling, overnight scavenger hunts and trips to the movies. The teens are encouraged to be creative with their activities—they have even done a localized version of The Amazing Race.

In Summary

Given the wide ranging swath of programs and longer tenures, Insight’s commitment to providing recovery care for young people is well established. For potential clients in need of a traditional residential recovery experience, Insight’s mix of outpatient and sober living may strike some as lacking in structure, especially with limited access to group and individual therapy. Still, this is a deliberate choice on Insight’s part; it follows their “enthusiastic” orientation in an attempt to better serve the specific needs of young people.

The Insight Program Cost

$2,833 (30 days, intensive outpatient; call for additional pricing). Reach Insight by phone at (336) 852-3033 or by email at [email protected]. Find Insight on Facebook and Twitter

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



  1. I am truly sorry about the loss of your son. Some might read your story and conclude it wasn’t the program’s fault. But any “outpatient” facility that hires people to be counselors without the proper licemsing or credentials IS at fault. If you read the description of the Insight program on this site you will see it says the counselors have “completed all training for national an international accreditation..” It does NOT say these people are actually accredited. I know the desperation and terror of wanting to save a loved one from addiction. I was that someone 20 years ago. I got clean 10 years ago through a very respectable outpatient program, and also NA. Hopefully your tragedy will help others to really do their homework and ask the hard questions before committing hope and money to a program with unqualified staff. To anyone who is suffering or has a needing 12 step recovery, there are free meetings. Again, I am sad about your son and wish you God’s blessings.

  2. My dead son's mom on

    My son was recommended by a psychiatrist who said Insight was the only program to which he would send his child. Well, that psychiatrist was the silent medical director – can you say conflict of interest?
    My son was doing recreational drugs – not ideal but far from what he learned at Insight. He was encouraged to try heroin. My son who had been terrified by needles his entire life was encouraged by another participant of the out patient program who injected him.
    Silly us, her parents had asked if our son could give her a ride to the meetings.
    Enough said. My son died of a heroin overdose.
    We thought we were doing the right thing.
    Insight is a cult with no true professional guidance.

    • I am truly sorry about the loss of your son. Some might read your story and conclude it wasn’t the program’s fault. But any “outpatient” facility that hires people to be counselors without the proper licemsing or credentials IS at fault. If you read the description of the Insight program on this site you will see it says the counselors have “completed all training for national an international accreditation..” It does NOT say these people are actually accredited. I know the desperation and terror of wanting to save a loved one from addiction. I was that someone 20 years ago. I got clean 10 years ago through a very respectable outpatient program, and also NA. Hopefully your tragedy will help others to really do their homework and ask the hard questions before commit hope and money to a program with unqualified staff. If you or your child just need 12 step recovery, there are free meetings. Again, I am sad about your son and wish you God’s blessings.

  3. Please read all the reviews but let me tell you this. Insight Program saved my son and our family. My son turned to drugs when he was 15. Zero to One Hundred in no time. He had a normal happy family and a seemingly good life going. But drugs changed all that. He ended up in the emergency room after a bad dose of LSD and I was able to ride along in the ambulance. From that moment to the second major relapse where he almost died from an OD on Heroin he was able to lean on the supportive group of tennagers and couselors and other supportive parents to mature his way through this period. The Insight Program was a life saver for our son and for us. We continue to attend meetings periodically and I know both our son and us will always look at this point in time in our lives as a blessing and nothing else. It may seem like a “cult” as someone referred to it but it is a group of kids and parents and counselors only wanting to help one another find their way out of this horrible disease and to make their way into a normal life. My son is now in college and doing fine and we couldn’t be prouder. I’d be glad to talk to any parent going through this to help them. I’d highly recommend the Insight Program for any parent with teens or young adults struggling with addiction.

  4. My child entered the program when she was 16 years old. We discovered that she was abusing more than marijuana and was heading down a bad path quickly. Her psychiatrist recommended Insight and we checked it out along with another program. There aren’t a lot of programs in the Atlanta area for teens under 18, so we were grateful that our daughter was fully invested in being a part of the Insight program.
    I will admit that my husband and I had read reviews about the program and had watched the video that has been mentioned. We were concerned and talked to other parents and to other counselors who all recommended that we keep her in the program. I can honestly say that after nearly 2 years of being involved in Insight, we think it’s the best decision we made for her.
    Not only is she 18 months sober and preparing to graduate from the program, she is also a happier, more mature young woman. She has learned so much about herself and has gained a group of friends who understand her addiction, and push her to be a better person.
    The parent meetings have been so helpful for me and I don’t think I could have been on this journey without their wisdom and support.
    The counselors are amazing! We have loved each and every one of them. They work tirelessly to help our kids overcome their addiction. They always have a positive, energetic attitude. And yes, they are all former addicts themselves. But they understand our children in ways that someone who is not an addict (like myself) would never be able to.
    Many, many kids who come in to the program find sobriety for the first time. Many others have tried other, more expensive programs before they landed at Insight and became sober.
    I highly recommend this program for your child!

  5. Our 19-year-old daughter has been receiving treatment from Insight since June 2017. She is now sixteen months sober. We feel so much gratitude for Insight and all it has done for our daughter and us. My husband and I have been amazed by the dedication of the staff of counselors, who work tirelessly to get through to these kids. We also are impressed by the kids who have been in the program longer than our daughter and who still participate in order to help the newer kids. That is part of how the program works; once a kid is sober, they reach out and help someone new and that helps their own sobriety. Not only is she sober, but she is discovering her self worth and finding the joy in serving others.

    Insight uses group and individual counseling and a 12-step program to help the kids get sober and stay sober. The other kids in the group provide accountability and friendship during the process. On the weekends, there are crazy fun activities for Friday and Saturday nights, showing the kids that you can have an awesome time without drugs or alcohol. Our daughter has loved it from the beginning when she went for the introductory meeting.

    Another aspect we appreciate about the program is the parent group that meets once a week, At the meeting, we learn parenting techniques and receive support, since we parents are recovering from the chaos of having a child who abused drugs or alcohol. Parents are also encouraged to call counselors or other parents during the week when they need help. We feel surrounded by a group of people who are backing us in this journey.

    I would highly recommend this program. It changed our lives for the better.

  6. This company dodges federal and state minimum wage laws.

    Employees are paid a salary (not enough to live on) of 14k a year. This is the same way that T-Bell dodges the minimum wage for their tomato pickers, but not for their drive-thru employees. Your child’s counselor is paid far below minimum wage unless that counselor is the regional director.

    Raises occur after 2-4 years, the first raise bumping to a whopping 16k a year, or .

    Even senior counselors are paid below minimum wage most likely around $5.50/hour, those lucky guys.

    Raises occur after 2-4 years, the first raise bumping to a whopping 16k a year.

    Employees are forbidden from speaking about their “salary” to anyone but the director

    Living in the same apartment or house as other employees is required for continued employment.

    Prepare to be heavily berated by co-workers and supervisors if you don’t lean the right way politically.

    A verbal and sometimes written accounting of ones off time and private thoughts is required to be given on a daily basis.

    Yes, this institution uses thought policing on their employees and your kids.

    I was paid under $4 an hour while working 60 hour weeks.

    Staff members are abusive when it suits them. All common tactics cults have used are employed to brainwash staff members. Every single staff member is culled from the children put into this program on a yearly/bi-yearly basis.

    Unfortunately this abusive institution cost me much of my life, I am thankful it didn’t cost me more.

    Instead of making $4 an hour I make somewhere in the high 3 figures hourly. Life is much better without being in a cult.

  7. If you old enough to go to AA or NA that might work? However, I was 17 which was 35 years ago. Not much support in AA / NA for a teenager. However, you can find it todday if you target AA Young People Groups. NA is but I find more recovery on AA. Bob’s program is great if you teen is 13 – 17, but they will have to make the transistion once they turn 18 because they will want to hook up with a minor.. ie.. someone younger than them. Getting in a relationship with a minor is problem, even if you or your child is 18. So, this hurts when you have to leave your support group. Bob initiated an Alumni group when branches off and goes to AA / NA after you turn 18 but this has not been very successful. Alot of teens feel abandon or shut off so they begin to see the program as a cult, when infact it is part of the winging off process they do not understand. I know I was that teen 35 years ago. I transistioned to AA / NA and have 35 years Sober and Clean and just retired from my career after 28 years. If it was not for a program like Bob I would have been taken advantage of in AA / NA being so young. However, today their are many AA young people and groups that can help out. But, if your teen needs more help with parent envolvement then Bob’s program is the best option for a time then they have to go. I would recommend doing both. AA and Bob’s program. They may not like this but it gives the teen more options and hopeful develop a support system in both and the transistion won’t be as bad. Some have no problem some go kicking and screaming. The problem is that some people hook up in Bob’s program so If your a guy or a girl and one is 17 the other is 18 then the pressure does start unless the parents are cool with this. Alot of teenagers come and hangout without parent support and get it makes it just that much harder. This is my personal experince looking back at Bob’s program and following Bob from a distance as I have grown and matured through AA / NA and grown up as a man drug and alcholo free. God Bless and my your family find success. – Mirror Mike, Freeway Drug Program 1982 – San Diego CA. I have 35 years Sober and truly Living the Dream. I could not have done it without Freeway, AA, NA, and great Sponsors along the way. The program is all what yoiu put into it.

  8. I was a member of Atlanta Insight for five and a half years. My brother and both my parents, too. The place is a destructive cult that targets middle class families with kids who have nominal substance abuse problems. They routinely “overtreat” small addiction problems through expensive intensive in-patient treatment and they demand total social loyalty.

    The staff are minimally trained and are without exception former members of the group. They make less than minimum wage and all of the funds go straight to the top of the organization.

    It’s a cult.

    Bob Meehan was run out of the organization several years ago when a group of ex-staff members waged a legal battle against him. I’m surprised the organization is still around… but if it is, I would bet $1 that Meehan is again directly involved.

    • I am considering this program for my son in North Carolina. I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with any of you if possible. Any insights other than what you wrote would be beneficial in my decision making.

      • I did Freeway Program in California about 35 years ago. Bob’s second program. PDAP in Los Angeles,, CA was his first. I have over 35 years sober and clean and would recommend this program for any teen and family memeber. I transistioned into AA / NA. Life is good. The problem you find with most disgruntle people is that you have to transistion – you can not live in the adolescent program forever. Therefore you need to go to AA or NA when it’s time. The break away part feels like your being shuned or people may turn their backs on you – but it is part of the process of growing up. Some embrase it some have a hard time. All and all the program is magical. I still remember my time in Freeway 35 years ago.

        • This guy works for the program. Freeway was shut down for violations of civil rights and liberties, tax evasion and other legal infractions too numerous to count.

  9. Great program with so many successes with addiction. Kids develop strong friendships with other kids and staff. Committed involved and experienced staff and very strong family support round out this program.
    Addiction is a family disease, and it’s treated that way at Insight. Isolated, sad kids with substance abuse become normal teenagers and young adults. Success rates highest when parents are involved.

  10. I had sent my daughter to Insight here in Atlanta back in February of 2014. Since then our relationship has been destroyed. She no longer talks to me or has anything to do with me. A mother who has helped her through thick and thin. I was told by the counselors when first taking her there that they would help restore our relationship and bring us back together because of my daughter’s drug problem. They have done none the less. She has totally been dependent on the group and only the group. She was told to let all of her friends go whether good or bad. And to be totally dependent on the group. I attended the parent meetings for several months and the parents are also indoctrinated and brain washed. I’m so glad that I have a mind of my own and I could make my own decisions. My daughter isn’t that fortunate because she still remains embedded in that destructive cult! When I do interact with my daughter which isn’t often, she isn’t the daughter that I have known for 21 years. I don’t recommend taking your child here.

  11. The Insight Program saved our family!!! Our daughter entered the program in April, 2015. She was an admitted drug user for several years and really didn’t care about getting sober. We made her go in order to live in our home. BEST DECISION EVER!!!

    At Insight, she found a group of people who accepted her as she was. But loved her too much to let her be okay with using drugs.

    These kids let her stay with them, would stay up all night talking, and anything else that was needed to keep her from using.

    In time, she learned to give back to kids just entering the program. She now has over 18 months of sobriety, she sponsors 6 girls in the program and has graduated from Insight. She has an AA home group and uses the tools she received at Insight to incorporate sobriety in her daily life.

    Hayley is an incredible counselor that doesn’t take any $#!+ from the kids. All of the counsellors are recovering addicts and are extremely empathetic to the kids’ recovery while holding their feet to the fire.

    For parents, being part of the parents group and participating in weekly meetings will help with your kids’s recovery. You can’t keep them sober, but you can recognize your role in their recovery.

    Some people have given negative reviews on this program calling it a “cult”. In my opinion, the reason for this is these addicted teens and young adults have obviously been making bad choices and need to drastically change. Everything they have “known” in their life while abusing drugs and alcohol has to change (choice of friends, what activities they participate in, etc). If the kids follow the recommendations of the counsellors and other recovering addicts in the program, they will experience success. We experienced nothing but love, patience and understanding from the counsellors, directors and other recovering addicts.

    As with any 12 Step Program, you have to trust the process. Once the addict (and parents) lets go, the healing begins!

    • Bunch of bull! You must be one of the parents who were easily brainwashed. Being in the Insight program is not a success. If you remain in there, you go nowhere in life!

  12. Cannot even begin to explain what this program did TO me. Was forced out after 2 years because my relationship with a girlfriend was not ‘approved by the group’. I was told by a counciler to ‘start smoking crack again’. Literally. This was almost 10 years ago now and I am still bothered, after becoming an adult and realizing the myriad child abuses that occurred. My poor mom parted with her life savings to send me here out of fear that I would die, and after a short amount of time I too fully believed I would die without the guidance of ‘the group’. Please look into 12 step programs or any other 12 step based rehab.

  13. I’m astounded that this place is still in existence and has not been shit down permanently by authorities. I attended many many years ago and I can attest first-hand that this “rehab” is more of a cult and a scam to get money out unknowing and desperate parents. True addicts are so desperate for help it sickens me that people like this would exploit that for money. There is a special place in hell for the people behind this program.

    To anyone considering attending or a someone close to someone thinking about- PLEASE look into other programs that involve AA. This is a TRAP.

  14. I got this web site from my friend who informed me concerning this web page and now this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative articles or
    reviews here.

  15. This place is a cult.
    I was a member for 3 years (I left 2 years ago) and I am still dealing with the emotional trauma this place has caused me. DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD HERE!
    There is an excellent documentary about the program (they mostly talk about the atlanta version, but the Greensboro version is the same and is run by the same people)

    See for yourself!

  16. Insight will seem like the perfect program at first, however, the amount of peer pressure to be ” a winner”, or ” like everyone else”, can be the worst emotional experience for your teen, ultimately leading to relapse and being told to leave the group. It is a ” cult” like environment. In the parent support meetings, you hear the same stories over and over. Since there is no counselor leading these meetings, they are not moved towards solution or open to any other idealolgy but the Insight way.

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