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The Pathfinder


Huntsville AlabamaThe Basics

Founded in 1976 in Huntsville, Alabama, The Pathfinder is a non-profit, transitional care facility for men in early recovery. At the helm is executive director Russell Glass, who once worked as a counselor for the facility before moving in to his current position and is also in recovery. The Pathfinder’s mission is to provide a safe and structured environment so that men can take responsibility for their own lives. Residents learn independent living skills, improve coping skills, participate in a 12-step program and acquire a job so that they can pay their housing fees. Upon re-entry into the world, them men are ready to become productive citizens.

Accommodations and Amenities

The Pathfinder has a 39-bed capacity, but typically has about 28 clients. During the 90-day program, men stay at an old-fashioned style Mill house that has been renovated into a dormitory. Fourteen residents are paired in double-occupancy, comfortably furnished rooms. The Mill House includes a spacious, dorm-style bathroom. After three months, residents have the option of moving into a separate sober living house on campus, which has a 14-bed capacity. Currently, there are three clients in the house.

The Mill House includes a fully equipped kitchen amply stocked with food. One hot meal is served per day. Clients prepare their other meals using provided food items. The men at the sober living house have the option of eating at the Mill House or purchasing their own groceries, and preparing their own meals in a fully equipped kitchen.

The Mill House includes a large flat screen TV which is inside a common area. At the Pathfinder, there is no Cable, and Wi-Fi use is limited. House managers, many who are in recovery, live on the premises. Smoking is permitted outside in designated areas only.

Rules and Regulations

Prior to admittance, clients must have been clean and sober for a minimum of 72 hours. Potential clients must have completed primary care at a residential treatment facility or be involved in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). The Pathfinder also accepts criminal justice clients, although men with outstanding warrants are not accepted. Since clients often have co-occurring disorders, those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are accepted, provided that they are also in active treatment with a mental health professional. Men with severe mental health disorders including schizophrenia are not appropriate for The Pathfinder.

The program length is 90 days, and is broken down into four phases. The orientation phase is two weeks. During this time, clients must find sponsors, and are transported to daily 12-step meetings off the premises. They are not allowed use of their cell phones or cars during this time. Additionally, they attend two daily group sessions, which are facilitated by a licensed professional counselor, and the groups are held inside the administrative offices on campus. Group topics include life skills, relapse prevention and sponsorship. Individual therapy is also provided, and scheduled per client’s needs. Additionally, clients must attend a Wednesday night house meeting, which includes a process group. Performance of household chores is mandated.

After orientation, clients continue their recovery protocols, and acquire work so that they can pay their housing fees. They must acquire a first shift position so that they can be back on campus to participate in group therapy and classes. The curfew is 10 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. During the third phase, which is after 90 days, residents have the option of moving into the sober living house, which allows more freedom. They are not restricted to a first shift job, and can work evening or overnight shifts.

At The Pathfinder, random drug and alcohol screenings are conducted. Residents who relapse must leave the premises immediately to ensure the safety of the entire household. The Pathfinder provides aftercare for clients who have graduated from the program. There is also an alumni program, which provides ample peer support.


Some residents attend IOP at local drug rehabs including Bradford Health Services, and UAB Health Center Huntsville.

The Pathfinder partners with a local employment agency, which helps clients, get work. As a non-profit organization, The Pathfinder relies on client fees, and assistance from community agencies, including the United Way of Madison as well as donations from businesses, churches and individuals.

In Summary

The Pathfinder provides much needed services to newly clean and sober men who need a safe place to land after they leave treatment. At The Pathfinder, men can focus on building a solid foundation in their recovery through counseling, and by participating in a 12-step program. The Pathfinder is all about giving clients a second chance at a new life.

The Pathfinder
3104 Ivy Ave SW
Huntsville, AL 35805

The Pathfinder Cost: $440 (30 days, not including a $200 deposit). Reach The Pathfinder by phone at (256) 534-7644 or by email at [email protected]. Find The Pathfinder at Facebook

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