Matt Talbot Recovery Services hasn’t changed much since it started turning lives around in 1966. Located on a busy street in a commercial section of downtown Milwaukee, this men’s rehabilitation center has a waiting list, and it’s almost always full. Named for a 19th-century Irish ascetic considered by many to be the patron saint of people who struggle with alcoholism, Matt Talbot Recovery Services helps low-income men between the ages of 18 and 59 recover from alcohol and drug addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.
The core of Matt Talbot’s success is a disciplined program that incorporates group counseling, 12-step and personalized care, including job placement and family counseling. The goal is for residents to come out confident in their ability to live independently and maintain sobriety.
Accommodations and Food
There are eight dormitory-style rooms, which are assigned by age and shared by three or four men each. Residents also share the bathrooms, which are located down the hall. The facility has one common area with a TV, card table, sofa and chairs and a weight room in the basement. The back of the building has a sitting area, but there is no yard to speak of, and residents who wish to smoke must step out front while accompanied by staff. No phones are allowed, but there is a phone available for residents’ use after 4 pm.
Matt Talbot offers a homelike environment and opportunities to bond with fellow residents while preparing for re-entry into everyday life. Residents do their own laundry, keep their living areas neat and take turns cleaning the bathroom and helping with chores. Although the staff is in charge of planning meals and shopping for groceries, residents prepare food together, help set the table and clean up afterward. Meals mostly consist of comfort food (like fried chicken or stir fry) with a healthy side of fruits and veggies, and residents and staff eat together in the dining room.
Treatment and Staff
The main goal of treatment at Matt Talbot is to eliminate self-destructive and abusive behaviors, and support residents in developing the skills necessary for independent living. To this end, the facility employs one-on-one counseling and daily group therapy, with a heavy focus on AA/NA. Treatment here is personalized. Each resident receives a psychological and physical assessment, and is closely monitored by staff from pre-admission all the way through aftercare. An individual plan might include exercise and occupational therapy if needed, and help learning how to manage medication and self-care. As the program progresses, residents start exploring job placement and work therapy. Once residents are ready to step back into everyday life, Matt Talbot provides individualized aftercare support.
A typical day at Matt Talbot starts with an 8 am wake-up and breakfast, followed by clean up and group therapy from 9 to 11 am. Residents then break to help make lunch, eat and clean up, and continue group therapy at 1 pm. Once during the day, residents meet with counselors for one-on-one therapy, and after 4 pm. they spend time doing chores, watching TV, playing card games and listening to music. In the evenings residents attend regular AA or NA meetings, with transportation by bus.
Visiting hours are from 1 to 4 pm. on Saturdays and Sundays. During this time, counselors are available to meet with clients and their families to facilitate reconciliation and understanding.
Some residents, due to limitations of age or emotional or physical disabilities, might not be ready for independence after the initial 90 days. These men can either continue living at Matt Talbot (some residents have stayed up to a year), or are referred to appropriate assisted-living facilities in the community.
Matt Talbot employs nine to 10 full-time and part-time staff, including one full-time and three part-time drug and alcohol counselors certified by Milwaukee County and IMPACT. With an average counselor-to-client ratio of one to six, this may mean less one-on-one time than clients might expect to find elsewhere. There is no medical staff here, so detox is not available.
After three weeks, if recovery is going well and counselors see progress, residents may be eligible for a bit more freedom, such as trips to the store or even day trips to visit family.
Matt Talbot participates in the IMPACT program, making all residents eligible for a voucher through Milwaukee County that covers everything during their 90-day stay. It has a strong track record of helping men who need a fresh start. Because of its voucher program, it might be a good fit for those who don’t have the funds for a mid to high-end rehab facility.
Matt Talbot Recovery Services
2613 W. North Ave
Milwaukee, WI, 53205
Matt Talbot Recovery Services Cost: Funded by a voucher through Milwaukee County. Matt Talbot Recovery Services can be reached by phone at (414) 306-6551 or by email at [email protected]. Find Matt Talbot Recovery Services on Facebook
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