Believing that recovery is about empowerment rather than powerlessness, musician Andy Pace opened Little Creek Lodge in 2008. This boutique drug and alcohol treatment facility has been serving the needs of men in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania since then. Through alternative and recreational therapies built on a 12-step foundation, the men at Little Creek Lodge learn what an awe-inspiring place the sober world can be.
Accommodations and Food
Thirty minutes north of the Poconos, Little Creek residents share a luxurious ski lodge of a log cabin, surrounded by trees. Sixteen men, ages 18 to 28 share rooms and chores and bathrooms. They work out together, take classes together, play together—the goal here is to establish a brotherhood of men. There is an on-site gym; a fireplace in one of the common lounges and everyone eats together in the dining room on pine bench tables.
While there is a chef on staff and particular attention is paid to nutritional meal planning and dietary constraints, clients help with meal prep and clean up. They are also responsible for all laundry, housework, etc.
There are no cars or computers allowed for the first 30 days. After this, limited access is allowed for school or work or visits home to family members only.
Medication is allowed, but closely monitored. And they are serious about no alcohol—that means no mouthwash or vanilla extract in anyone’s luggage.
Treatment and Staff
This is a small, non-medical facility. Some clients arrive out of detox, others as a continuation of a shorter inpatient program. Little Creek residents are expected to commit to a minimum of 90 days. Recovery at Little Creek Lodge is focused on the community—team building is a key concept, but treatment is still individualized. Each client receives a treatment plan divided into three stages; he moves through these stages at his own pace. During the first stage, group therapy, classes and counseling focus on addiction education, anger management, the five stages of grief, cross addiction and the first three steps of AA. During the second stage learning is focused around relationships (home visits and family integration), spiritual growth and sponsorship in AA. Clients can engage in employment, education or vocational training. Stage three focuses on being of service in the community and continued spiritual growth, as well as aftercare planning and implementation.
12-step principles are the foundation of treatment here—spiritual development and being of service are supplemented with creative and recreational therapies. Adventure activities are built into the schedule. Clients wake up at 7 am. They meet in a group to discuss their goals for the day every morning after breakfast. Exercise, addiction classes and chores keep them busy until lunch. Afternoons are spent in spiritual group, Outward Bound type adventure treks, creative therapies or individual counseling sessions. There is an AA meeting at 8 pm every night after dinner and then an hour for prayer, meditation or step work until lights out at 11 pm. Weekends find clients in the music studio or outside.
The family program is held the first Sunday of every month. Family groups are counselor-guided and minus the resident for the first half of the day. During presentations, a discussion about the disease of addiction, co-dependency, and family roles takes place; Little Creek hosts guest speakers from across the US. During the afternoon, family members have a chance to meet with residents and their corresponding counselors for individual sessions.
There is a two-week no-visitation blackout period when a resident first arrives. Afterwards, visitation is through staff approval only. Hours are from 12 to 5 pm on Sundays. A resident can spend the day away from facility property with his family if he chooses. All visitors need to be back on the property by 5:15 pm.
There are 18 staff members at Little Creek Lodge, serving 16 guys—not all of those are clinicians of course. Typically two therapists see a maximum of eight clients individually and incidentally, group size tops out here as well. The staff includes peer counselors, a consulting physician and an array of accredited alternative therapists; a yoga instructor, a neuromuscular therapist who is also a Masters level Qi Gong practitioner, a spiritual advisor, an adventure co-ordinator, a music therapist, a writing group facilitator with an MFA. The list goes on.
Outside, individual counseling services (and thus, dual diagnosis support) are available for a separate fee; these counseling services are available one to two times weekly and include psychiatry, psychology, private therapy, and pastor or rabbi consultation.
Little Creek Lodge has an extensive music program. Residents, write, perform and record their own songs. A studio engineer guides residents from start to finish in the recording process in the on-site studio. The result is at least one original CD a year. Creative writing, art classes and woodworking shop are some of the other components of this self-expression therapy.
There is a full gym on the property, a weekly personal trainer, bi-weekly yoga/Tai Chi classes and the aforementioned Qi Gong practitioner on staff. Clients are also taken mountain biking, zip lining, kayaking, mountain skiing, hiking and camping and to the beach—all depending on the season. This extensive list is only a sampling of the extras offered at Little Creek Lodge.
It is a common complaint that being sober is boring. Little Creek Lodge shows its clients how to find the thrill in sober living—to be stimulated by themselves and their environments. There is a particular emphasis on the development of their inner selves and the expansion of their daily lives. The extras are notable considering the cost. Men leave here with a sense of what is possible, as part of a solid sober community already implementing their aftercare planning.
Little Creek Lodge Location
P.O. Box 942
Hamlin, PA 18427