While attempting a home-detox, Sally Livingstone realized that she could create her own safe space where addicts could get clean. After reaching out to a local church, which gave her a derelict building, she met clinician John Hagans at a 12-step meeting and formed a partnership. In 2004, they opened Livingstone House, a Birmingham, England, rehab that includes detox, residential treatment and sober living.
Accommodations and Food
Located in the inner-city neighborhood of Small Heath, Livingstone House has six buildings. The main facility is a converted church that houses detox and primary treatment. Other facilities include Livingstone Lodge, Livingstone Sanctuary, Serenity House, Ark House and Oasis House. All the locations are within walking distance of one another.
The detox house has two private bedrooms, while the primary and secondary care houses offer shared rooms and bathrooms. Each of the three media rooms is furnished with a 47-inch TV set and a DVD player (which residents are allowed to watch after 6 pm). However, aside from one free night, Livingstone provides only recovery-related DVDs for viewing, including The Basketball Diaries and 28 Days. No devices can be connected to the Internet at Livingstone House. While iPods and other electronics are permitted, all music and other media selections are monitored by staff.
Clients are served four meals a day, with snacks, decaf coffee and tea available in between. Breakfast is self-catered and includes juice, toast and cereal. The on-site chef prepares lunch and dinner with two options each, plus a vegetarian option. The menu includes a variety of choices, including Jamaican rice and peas, homemade chicken with macaroni and cheese and fresh salad.
Treatment and Staff
In addition to the 12 steps, Livingstone employs CBT techniques, Motivational Interviewing (MI), solution-focused therapy, Gestalt psychotherapy and psychodynamic theory. Residents attend group therapy and have up to two hours of individual sessions per week, which can be broken up as desired. They also provide access to a therapist who specializes in dual diagnosis support. An on-site medical professional prescribes medication and oversees all medical treatment in conjunction with the rehab’s primary physician.
Including the initial detox period, Livingstone House requests that clients stay in residential treatment for four to six months; length of detox depends on the individual. Upon arrival, there’s a seven-day blackout period for all electronics. After that, residents are allowed to make one 15-minute phone call on Monday and Friday evenings. Once they’ve completed two weeks of treatment, clients can have on-site visitation; the first family session occurs shortly after detox is completed.
In addition to daily on-site meetings, residents are taken to off-site AA, NA and CA meetings, though sponsorship is not required while in treatment. Once they’ve completed inpatient, clients are encouraged to transition to the facility’s sober living environment for six to nine months, where sponsorship is strongly encouraged. Livingstone House also hosts Families Anonymous and Al-Anon sessions every other Wednesday.
The 19 full-time staff members are a mixture of highly credentialed professionals and peer counselors (approximately 90 percent of whom have been through the program themselves). The staff-to-client ratio changes throughout the day; it’s four-to-one in the morning, three-to-four in the afternoon and two-to-one at night. Ultimately, residents are covered around the clock.
Though Livingstone House doesn’t integrate exercise into the program, it does offer clients temporary memberships to a local gym run by people in recovery.
Hagans works with the local community to find employment for clients while they’re in sober living. If they choose, he also acts as a legally contracted payee, holding on to the money they’ve saved until they have enough for their own living space and furnishings.
Livingstone House offers affordable residential living through every stage of sobriety. This programprovides services to meet the needs of substance abusers regardless of age, economic status or type of drugs used. Clients benefit from a built-in support system guiding them from detox to re-entry into society. For those willing to do the work, Livingstone provides a safe haven and a steady path to a better life.
290 Mansel Rd
Birmingham B10 9NN
Livingstone House Cost: £2,600 GBP [$4,038 per publishing day exchange rate], 28 days. Detox cost is £950 GBP a week [$1,475 per publishing day exchange rate]. Charitable options also available. Reach Livingstone House by phone at 01144 + 121 753 4448 or by email at [email protected]. Find Livingstone House on YouTube and Facebook
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