It’s difficult to say much about Arizona-based clinic The Meadows that hasn’t already been said. It’s a prominent pillar in the country’s recovery community. The main points are that it’s in the recovery central area of the Sonoran Desert, and it offers a range of cutting-edge treatment options handled by a cavalcade of recovery celebrities. Any childhood issues residents may be harboring (and in some cases, some they aren’t) will be deeply explored. Although The Meadows has a lot to offer, not all of their methods are uniformly accepted as effective.
Accommodations and Food
The core philosophy of The Meadows—which is located in the desert town of Wickenburg and offers basic living conditions for residents—is tough love, and the arid environment certainly reflects that: rooms are designed for functionality, each akin to a college dorm, and residents are required to have a roommate. On the bright side, the facility offers daily maid service, air conditioning, a modest gym, and a swimming pool. Still, there’s a strict dress code prohibiting tank tops and shorts (so as not to trigger sex addicts who can also get treatment there).
Meal times are used as time to further enhance treatment. A well-balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner are all on the menu here. At dinner time especially, clients are encouraged to learn and inquire about good eating habits with their counselors and peers.
Treatment and Staff
Perhaps the most idiosyncratic aspect of Meadows is Survivors, the full week of treatment dedicated to battling clients childhood issues—present or not—where residents mix with daytime clients who are just coming in for that week. Some of the activities during this five day stint include carrying around a teddy bear as a way to help residents access what Meadows calls the “inner child,” and striking stuffed animals or chairs with a Nerf bat as a way to release buried tensions. While inner child work is important and can be extremely beneficial, it has to be done right; so potential residents should do their research to make sure the Meadows’ approach is palatable to them.
While 12-step programs suggest that addicts call on a higher power to bear some weight for them during recovery, Meadows favors a different approach: essentially, projecting it onto its clients’ parents. There’s no doubt this could be effective for those who haven’t been willing to face childhood abuse and other traumas, but it’s again important for potential clients to properly assess whether this methodology will best suite them. Still, The Meadows offers a tightly calibrated attack on addiction that will serve a certain set. And, along with on-site detox and ample aftercare, Meadows offers an excellent balance of 12-step traditionalism, new-age alternatives and CBT options.
Additionally, though Meadows offers an impressive variety of treatment programs (for PTSD, eating disorders, and addiction in all its forms), all residents are mixed together in treatment. Clients wear color-coded nametags so residents can tell one another’s ailments apart, with sex addicts wearing gendered “Men/Women Only” signs in an effort to best control proper interactions.
Meadows also stresses extreme isolation: there’s no outside contact allowed during treatment except for during “Family Week,” when addicts and their families are encouraged to be extremely honest with one another in a series of therapy sessions.
Where Meadows really shines is through its all-star staff. There’s Pia Mellody, who essentially wrote the definitive book on co-dependence; Peter Levine, previously a stress consultant for NASA during the space shuttle’s development; and John Bradshaw, well known for his many self-help books on shame—and for coining much of the “inner child” terminology those in the recovery community are likely familiar with.
There is time blocked off every day for pool activities and/or yoga. Nightly meditation also occurs in conjunction with 12-step meetings. It also offers expressive therapy, equine therapy, Tai Chi and acupuncture, at no additional cost. So holistic treatment options are definitely available if one choose treatment at The Meadows.
Perhaps somewhat troubling is that Meadows has had some legal controversy surrounding several inpatient suicides, something definitely worth researching before deciding to check in. Reactions are predictably split over all these issues. Though many are still positive, recovery here has the potential to be polarizing.
For clients at The Meadows, recovery is sure to be gritty and confrontational; still, it also just might get them sober.
1655 N Tegner St
Wickenberg, AZ 85390
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