Mountain Vista Farm in Glen Ellen is the oldest addiction treatment facility of its kind in Northern California. Open since 1949, they are a no-nonsense 12-step based rehab and a far cry from the luxury facilities of Southern California. Instead, Mountain Vista is relatively inexpensive and their strict schedule allows little room for anything else but serious and focused recovery.
Accommodations and Food
The facility is a farmhouse compound on eight-and-a-half acres of expansive, well-landscaped lawns, towering trees and mountainous views of Sonoma County. Housing is nothing fancy, with two people to a room (men and women separately, of course) in rustic, cabin-style bedrooms; their balanced meals are big on local ingredients.
Amenities include on-site washers and dryers, outdoor picnic tables and chairs and a brick fire pit. Aside from the surroundings, probably the nicest extra Mountain Vista has to offer is an outdoor pool, though only those staying in summer months will be able to take advantage of it. They also have an on-site gym and residents are encouraged to factor exercise into their schedules, even if it means simply jogging around the premises.
Treatment and Staff
As mentioned, Mountain Vista is dedicated to the lessons in Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book with not much room for any other treatment philosophies or modalities. What they offer is a 30-day inpatient program with 12-step work, an educational series of lectures and individual and group therapy (though mostly just group). They have a fairly comprehensive focus on relapse prevention, with sessions on managing anger, recognizing high-risk situations and dealing with post-acute withdrawal syndrome.
Mountain Vista has a client-to-staff ratio of about two-to-one, with staff composed mostly of counselors with substance abuse and addiction specializations; additionally, all of the counselors are in recovery themselves. Unfortunately, medical care at Mountain Vista is somewhat limited. Though they have a day nurse on staff, there are no on-site doctors—only a consulting physician in case of emergencies. If anything goes terribly wrong, clients are ambulanced to the nearest hospital.
Days are fairly structured, with recreation integrated into the schedule as treatment. Mountain Vista includes recreation and wellness classes as part of their program, many of which are conducted in the outdoor pool. Other offerings worth mentioning are weekly process groups for women only to address uniquely gendered recovery issues, and “family day” family program on Sundays where significant others are invited to participate in educational and support groups; there’s also one family counseling session during inpatient treatment.
Aftercare is big on community and Mountain Vista offers weekly groups after inpatient treatment at their main facility and several other Bay Area locations free of charge; alumni reportedly sometimes attend as long as two years after treatment.
For the most part, clients get what they pay for at Mountain Vista. It’s not exactly tech-friendly (residents are advised to bring change or a telephone card if they want to use public phones—no cell phones or computers are allowed). They also don’t allow books and magazines that aren’t recovery-related. Still, those who need discipline on a budget might find this to be a good fit.
Mountain Vista Farm
3020 Warm Springs Rd
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
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