Hidden in plain sight in the hills above UC Berkeley, New Bridge Foundation has a long tenure of over 45 years of experience offering recovery services in Berkeley, California. Boasting views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges (but with the private feel of a tree-shaded campus), New Bridge offers a plethora of inpatient programs, tailoring each to fit the needs of prospective clients. Given the proximity to downtown Berkeley, New Bridge offers a retreat atmosphere with two distinct treatment tracks: the START program and the Helio program.
Accommodations and Food
New Bridge houses residents in two large, dormitory style homes in the Berkeley hills. The collegiate atmosphere pervades the living quarters, as clients share rooms with upwards of two other roommates, with shared bathrooms in the hallways. The START program usually hosts an average of 40 residents at a time, with slightly fewer in the Helio program. The rooms are basic with twin beds and minimal furniture for each client. There is a chef on staff who prepares three hot meals a day for both houses, though members of the START program will often work in the kitchen as part of their service requirement.
Treatment and Staff
Members of each inpatient track are housed in a comparably large homes in the Berkeley Hills. The two programs are distinctive; in short, the START program is more like a recovery boot camp—it’s a highly intensive, six-month minimum program with a strategically plotted orientation and progression through different tiers of progress. Residents in the START program begin their orientation with a two-to-three week blackout from outside contact, and work with an older member of the program as a mentor to make the adjustment. Days are generally divided between a mixture of therapeutic groups and assigned chores and tasks including household maintenance, answering phones and even taking shifts in the house kitchen.
The Helios program is a more pampered environment with more of a summer camp feel, though this does not mean recovery work is taken lightly. The average stay is closer to 90 days, with some clients completing their program in as few as 30 days. While the programs do not intermingle, the two houses are located on the same campus; residents in the START program often serve as greeters for new Helios arrivals.
Both tracks offer daily group therapy and addiction education, individual and family counseling and separate family education groups. There is also relapse prevention, pain management seminars, anger and stress management, a physical conditioning program which features personal trainers, jogging and yoga, as well as music therapy, art therapy, acupuncture and access to 12-step meetings. There are also dual diagnosis programs available in each track and free aftercare (except for the cost of continued drug testing). It should also be noted that the Helios program is nearly double the monthly cost of the START program, and while New Bridge does offer on-site 12-step meetings the AA philosophy does not govern treatment the way it does at many other facilities.
New Bridge is a non-medical facility so clients must undergo a medical detox before they check in. In the more intense START program, there are no controlled substances allowed at all. In the Helios track, New Bridge allows clients to wean off Suboxone and even uses certain medications for anxiety on a case-by-case basis. The staff at New Bridge is largely counselors and therapists who handle the day-to-day work of recovery.
Despite their differences in intensity, neither program at New Bridge truly shines when it comes to off-site recreational activities. In the START program, residents can earn off-site privileges over time but most excursions are still 12-step based. Given that the Helios program is shorter, there are no scheduled trips or bonus excursions during a client’s stay. Physical activity is encouraged on-site, however, with a physical trainer on staff who meets with residents to develop workout routines. New Bridge’s facility boasts a workout room with a treadmill, an elliptical machine and free weights. There is also a room dedicated to regular yoga classes—a standout feature at New Bridge.
In addition to their two main inpatient tracks, New Bridge offers a plethora of outpatient options. The Helios Outpatient Program is a psycho-educational program which offers group therapy sessions on-site four evenings per week while the ASPIRE program offers outpatient care to adolescents. There is also a treatment program called Operation Success, which works to address the unique needs of military members, veterans and their families.
Given their long tenured history, New Bridge is a facility that should inspire trust in potential clients. Their two programs offer varying degrees of intensity, though both have a firm basis in traditional and contemporary recovery methods. Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean that New Bridge is right for everyone. The START program is a particularly rigid, work-oriented program with a highly structured daily routine that begins promptly at 7 am. The Helios program is more therapy-based with daily group and one-on-one sessions, but lacks the sort of specific amenities many other facilities offer. Still, for those looking for a strong legacy and firm program with many options, New Bridge is a safe bet.
New Bridge Foundation
2323 Hearst Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
New Bridge Foundation Cost: $7,500 (START Program, 30 days); $14,700 (Helios Program, 30 days). Reach New Bridge Foundation by phone at (800) 785-2400 or by email at [email protected]. Find New Bridge Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube
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