La Verna Lodge, a division of Fairbanks Hospital, operates separate residential treatment programs for men and women in southern Indiana. Treatment follows the Fairbanks philosophy of living by the values of hope, courage, trust, wisdom and serenity, and the programs focus on open communication between staff and residents. Both lodges are in quiet towns outside Indianapolis and their campuses have the tranquility of meditative retreats.
Accommodations and Food
A prescription for serenity may be to spend 30 days at the La Verna Lodge for Women. The setting in Shelbyville, a rural town 30 miles southeast of Indianapolis, is very private, with 38 acres of wooded grounds and 6,500 square feet in the Lodge itself. Stone steps lead up to the front entrance, which has gabled face like that of a real mountain lodge. In the sitting room, chairs ring a stone fireplace and the living room is full of cushy couches. The sliding glass doors let light into the living room, which opens onto a wooden porch dotted with chairs. A path lined with trees and a small river run behind the house.
The La Verna Lodge for Women can accommodate 10 women at a time. No private rooms are available, but the house has big, wide bedrooms with two or three twin beds in each room and plenty of wardrobe and dresser space for clothing storage. Everyone eats three healthy meals a day together, prepared by the staff, who are more than happy to accommodate special dietary requests. Off the sunny,-fully equipped kitchen, there is a smaller breakfast nook that seats four.
In nearby Hamilton County is the private estate that is the La Verna Lodge for Men. This, too, is secluded and full of natural beauty, with deer roaming the property’s woods freely. As with the women’s house, two to three men share spacious bedrooms, but there is only room for six clients at a time. The decor is definitely more masculine here, with brown leather furniture in the sitting room and the larger living room, where there is also a fireplace. The deck is wider, too, and faces the backyard and the woods.
The kitchen is full of wooden cabinets and the refrigerator and appliances look new. The kitchen opens onto a dining room that seats six. The staff prepares three healthy meals a day for the male clients as well, accommodating dietary requests when possible.
Treatment and Staff
La Verna Lodge’s treatment program is designed for 30 days, but clients often stay 90 days or longer, depending on the individualized treatment plan. Each client’s recovery program is holistic, meaning methods of psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual healing are used, and co-occurring disorders are addressed. Healing the family is an equally important aspect of recovery; every La Verna Lodge client has the opportunity to invite his or her family in for therapy.
The core addiction treatment elements are the same at both houses—morning gratitude, group therapy, individual counseling, psychoeducational workshops, discussions on family dynamics, coping skills and wellness habits. 12-step recovery is a central feature of the program and the clients also have routine in-house meetings most evenings, after which there is usually time for step work before bed. In addition, the women’s program has several gender-specific groups, centered around healing trauma, grief and codependency.
La Verna Lodge places a lot of importance on fostering relationships between patients and staff; they encourage an environment of open communication where clients can feel completely supported. Many of the staff are in recovery themselves and are able to share their experience, strength and hope. All counselors are licensed addiction counselors.
Art and adventure therapy (outdoor activities like hiking and golf), yoga and meditation, individual spiritual counseling, acupuncture and access to a local gym are some of the extras offered at La Verna Lodge at no additional cost.
The family program introduces the families of residents to each other for group therapy in addition to offering individual sessions with a family counselor.
La Verna Lodge graduates have access to extensive aftercare programming. As alums, they can stay involved by participating in Back Home Again alumni meetings, volunteering at the gift shop at the Fairbanks Hospital Recovery Center or by taking part in an extensive list of community events sponsored by the hospital. They are welcome and encouraged to attend alumni gatherings like the annual alumni picnic and the La Verna Lodge holiday party. Graduates are welcome, too, to participate in fundraising initiatives. And because there is no real “graduation” from the lifetime process of recovery, alumni are also encouraged to continue their recovery education by participating in groups and workshops at Fairbanks Hospital.
La Verna Lodge takes the job of providing long-term sobriety seriously, and they believe gender-specific treatment is an important component of successful recovery. Ultimately, the goal of a stay at one of the lodges is to bond with fellows without real-world distractions or romantic entanglement. The hope is that the serenity without engenders serenity within. In addition, clients have access to the extensive programming offered through Fairbanks Hospital, which has been treating alcoholics in the community since 1945.
La Verna Lodge for Women
PO Box 481
Shelbyville, IN 46176
La Verna Lodge for Men
1550 East 156th St
Carmel, IN 46032
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