In 1967, Phoenix House was established in New York City after Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, a renowned psychiatrist, came to the dire need of six newly clean heroin addicts in a local hospital’s detox unit. The men were worried that once they were release onto the streets of Manhattan, they would relapse. Rosenthal, along with a group of licensed addiction counselors, helped them by establishing a comprehensive treatment approach. And thus, Phoenix House, which is named after the legendary orange and red-plumed bird that symbolizes “rebirth,” came to be.
The Independence House is part of the Phoenix-Mid Atlantic’s continuum of care. Located in Arlington, Virginia, this sober living facility caters to newly clean and sober men and women who have completed primary care at an addiction treatment facility. The state-funded facility caters to Arlington residents who are typically referred by treatment centers. Besides sober living, Independence House provides transitional care to residents so that they can gain the necessary tools to maintain their recovery, as well as learn basic life skills to become productive members of society.
Accommodations and Amenities
Independence House accommodates 14 men and women inside a spacious brick Colonial-style residence that includes a wrap-around stone border wall and black iron fencing. A small staircase leads up to the front door, which is shaded by a large tree within a lush front lawn. Residents are paired in furnished, gender-specific rooms with twin beds, dressers and lamps. Smoking is permitted outside in designated areas only.
Every week, clients write up a grocery list and staff purchases food that is included with boarding. Clients are free to purchase additional items including special snacks, exotic foods and cigarettes, but these items are paid for out of their own pockets. Chocolate is prohibited but coffee is allowed. Residents take turns preparing meals for the house as well as participating in kitchen clean-up. These tasks are designed to teach basic life skills.
Rules and Regulations
Prior to admittance, clients must have undergone primary care at a residential treatment facility and have passed a drug and alcohol screening. Typically, a minimum of 30 days of sobriety is required. An assessment with a case manager is the next step, followed by an individualized treatment plan. Length of stay varies per the client’s needs.
Independence House allows residents to attend school or work during the day. Those who are not working or in school must look for work or participate in a job-training program. Staff members assist clients with this process.
During the first 30 days, curfew is 10:30 pm, seven days a week; after which, curfew is bumped up to 11 pm. Besides working or being in school, residents must attend five weekly 12-step meetings and provide signed attendance slips as proof. Additionally, residents must jot down detailed notes about the meetings. These notes describe how they benefited, or didn’t, from the meeting.
At Independence House there are four weekly in-house AA/NA meetings that make attendance more accessible. Additionally, residents participate in evening recovery groups that are both clinical and psycho-educational. Group topics include self-esteem, relationships, life skills, relapse prevention and recovery.
Random drug and alcohol screenings are conducted. At Independence House, relapsed residents must leave the premises immediately to ensure safety of the entire house. Usually, these clients are referred to a local detox facility. After clients complete their length of stay, case managers help them establish an aftercare protocol that includes attending 12-step meetings, participating in transitional care and going to alumni gatherings.
Staff including a residential house manager that lives on the premises.
Phoenix House’s Concerned Persons Group is an educational, no-cost program where clinicians discuss the disease of addiction, discuss treatment options and provide information on early recovery. The program is held Wednesday evenings at the Counseling Center in Arlington as well as online.
From its inception, Phoenix House has strived to provide little or low cost care to clients suffering from addiction and substance abuse. This sober living home provides a place for men and women to maintain their recovery while also rebuilding their lives. Since the numbers are small, residents receive ample personal attention.
Phoenix House Mid Atlantic
1727 N Fairfax Dr
Arlington, VA 22209
Phoenix House Independence House Cost: Sliding scale (30 days). Reach Phoenix House Independence House by phone at (703) 841-0703, opt. 1 or (844) 421-5687. Find Phoenix House on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram and YouTube
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