reSTART Reviews, Cost, Complaints




While it’s definitely a cultural and generational affliction, constantly checking your phone and checking out of reality seems to be especially problematic for people who already struggle with other addictions. But online gaming, dating, shopping, social networking, texting and web surfing have become addictions within themselves and treatment is now available at reSTART.

Accommodations and Food

Located in Fall City, Washington—just 30 minutes down the road from Seattle— the program at reSTART is actually quite simple. The facility allows a maximum of seven clients at a time and there is a good amount of free time allotted in the daily schedule. However, with double occupancy bedrooms, don’t expect free time to mean alone time. With no access to cell phones, smart phones, tablets, computers or anything with a blinking light, free time might also feel like a four-letter word to a detoxing tech addict.

And speaking of food, the cuisine at reSTART is described as home-cooked and healthy, incorporating lots of fruits and vegetables and shying away from processed foods and sweets—including soda. Each day begins with a solid, healthy breakfast free of caffeine or sugary cereals.

Treatment and Staff

reSTART’s average demographic tends to be about 25 years old and male (although they have treated a few females). Many of these young adults have lost touch with friends, flunked out of school, dropped out of sports and confined their lives to their bedroom as a result of the gaming and Internet addiction. The negative affects of this process disorder aren’t just social either; many suffer physical afflictions such as obesity and diabetes due to the sedentary and junk food-riddled lifestyle that often accompanies tech addiction. Which is why the program at reSTART focuses less on the reading and writing of the 12 steps (although the concept is introduced and access to 12-step meetings are available) and more on physical activities like Frisbee, volleyball, backpacking, camping, climbing and even kayaking.

There are three stages of treatment at reSTART. Stage one is 45 days—although reSTART points out that the National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA) found that individuals showed better long-term outcomes when they stayed in treatment for at least 90 days. The first stage revolves around “detoxing” clients from anything technology related, getting them acquainted with their peers and counselors—who are a combination of LSWs, mental health counselors and an art therapist—and introducing them to the concept of process addiction and 12-step recovery. This is also the stage where clients begin their individualized treatment through a variety of therapies and classes.

Stage two begins after the mandatory 45 days, when counselors, coaches and staff begin to reintegrate the client into social settings, moderation management and how to put their individualized technologically sustainable lifestyle into practice. This may happen during extended treatment or in reSTART’s transitional living facility (located in Redmond, WA). Stage three is community re-entry which takes place after the client has left the facility. Follow up care in counseling—both individual and family—and educational and vocational couching is available. Clients are also strongly encouraged to seek out Internet and Technology Addiction Anonymous (ITAA) meetings or start one of their own.

Days at reStart begin early. After breakfast, clients move on to chores and exercise (reSTART prides themselves on being CrossFit promoters). Depending on the day, clients then head out to individual counseling sessions or group therapy focusing on CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Psychoeducational Instruction, Brief Solutions Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Training (DBT), Interpersonal Skills Groups, Life Skills Psychoeducation, relapse prevention groups and relationship classes. Specialized activities are also available like Sand Tray Therapy (which sounds deliciously regressive), Pet Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MPSR), guided meditation groups, yoga, massage, 12-step meetings, nutrition and fitness counseling and usually some kind of special project (like making a video journal of their experience at reSTART) or outdoor activity. The idea is to get clients socially acclimated and physically activated so they can get a sense of healthy living and reality.

ReSTART allows minimal exposure to technology and media, as residents can make videos (like the suggested video journaling) and watch some TV (though it’s restricted to sporting events and movies).


Regardless, reSTART does its best to try and make the six weeks clients are in treatment to be as enjoyable as possible. The facility has its own tree house and the unique, multi-purpose space used mostly for meditation, personal reflection and listening to music.

ReStart also has its own in-house mascots—Dakota the dog, Jitters the cat and several doves, gold fish and chickens. Field trips are arranged to downtown Seattle, Olympic National Park and Mount St. Helens, as well as some feel-good group service work like feeding the homeless.

In Summary

Since treating tech addiction is still relatively new and the age-old abstinence-based 12-step program isn’t entirely applicable, it’s hard to gauge how effective the program at reSTART actually is; still, parents of former clients have reported that overall their kids are better and try their best to moderate use post treatment. Since, like with food and sex programs, tech is something that will always have to be watched and controlled, it’s safe to say that former clients of reSTART will be at an advantage if they utilize the life tools they are given during their stay.

reSTART Location

Heavensfield Retreat Center
1001 290th Ave SE
Fall City, WA 98024-7403

reSTART Cost

$20,000 (45 days). reSTART can be reached by phone at (800) 682-6934. Find reSTART on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin, Google+ and Pinterest

Do you have a complaint or a review of reSTART to add? Use the comments area below to add your reSTART review.



  1. I am a former client of The Restart program and while it could be so useful for thousands of people addicted to gaming, it is just a way to charge parents tens of thousands of dollars in order to send their kids to other programs to help them “recover”. Before I go further I would like to state, that while i am used to be a patient, I wasn’t forced to go through this program and actually encouraged my parents to send me to it because I did have a problem. I am not intending to bash the program but rather to inform any interested parent what the process they use to “cure” your child is. I’ll begin with a few positive things about the program.
    1. The first 45 days or “Phase 1” as its called, is the best part of the program. They make you live with other people, so if your communication skills are lacking it allows you to learn how to deal with people living in a house together. They have a former client teach everyone how to workout and the proper way to workout safely along with eating healthy and cooking your own meals. Every month or so we would go on camping trips for a day or two, and while I personally disliked them (i’ve never been into camping) That isnt to say they werent useful and at times fun. many clients there aren’t “outdoorsy” kind of people and these trips allowed people to experience things they never would have before.
    2. Once a week we would have communication courses where everyone would gather in a room and would talk out problems they had with someone in the room or outside of it (using someone in the room a “placeholder” until they could talk to the actual person). It taught proper ways to express oneself without getting upset and yelling. It also had a part two where the second person could respond, however, instead of a traditional response, it was more a repeating kind of a response used to make sure the second person correctly understood the first in order to teach people to listen to what others are actually saying and not be thinking of what you are going to say before they are done. The only problem I had with this was there was no conflict resolution. so if the second person was upset by what the first person said they would switch sides and repeat the process but if no-one was willing to change there was no way to resolve it.
    3. This final one is probably the biggest reason why I don’t think the program is an entire waste of money. thats because I truly believe the staff wants to help and cares about every single person who goes through this program. Especially the staff during phase 1, They were always trying to help and better everyone there and were always encouraging. countless times they helped me through any problems I had and were willing to sit and talk for hours until i felt better. but that leads into the first of many problems with the program.
    1. The Owners don’t care. It is absolutely a way for them to make as much money as possible. and while i understand they have to make money, the cost of the program does not at all match what you will get out of it. They will show up and talk with all the parents and make it seem like they are caring of every single clients recovery, and one owner even does a weekly 30 min check up with everyone in phase 1, thats about it. the other owner is never there and there is actually a joke within the program that she was never actually real. and while it is a dumb joke, its completely factual. I was in the program for just less than 6 months. And I saw her maybe only 3-4 times. This is not representative of the rest of the staff as i said before, but as the faces of the program it was really disappointing to see the lack of effort put into helping.
    2. Phase 2 and Phase 3 are complete jokes. they will make you stay in a run down apartment complex with 3 other people from the program and overcharge you for the rent they pay to the apartment. At the complex they make everyone stay it would cost around $2,000 a month for a single person to live in a two bedroom floor. At restart, you pay an extra $5,000+ every single month to live with 3 other people. and I would say that extra 5,000, that is on top of the rent/amenities you have to pay for yourself, is justified by the program they keep you on to help your recovery, but it is absolutely not!!
    3. The “program” they use in phase 2 and 3 is essentially turn you over to any random AA program and let them do the work of helping you. there isn’t a single thing restart does to help your recovery in these phases besides a one hour counseling session with one of the more experienced counselors. BUT that session is a separate charge from the money you are already paying every month! AA or any of its other programs are the only things that MIGHT help someone in their recovery. ands thats a maybe! statistically only 8-12% of people find success in programs like AA or NA. and you may be thinking that restart has a GA or “gamers anonymous” but NOPE! the only GA was started by a former client and has maybe 1 or 2 people that show up if its lucky and in order to get to it you have to either drive or since most people at restart dont have a car, ride a 30 minute one way but ride because restart refuses to let people use its building for whatever reason. And one of the rules of phase 2 is that you have to go to at least 3 AA like meetings a week. and almost all of them are held in downtown Seattle. So you have to hope someone can give you a ride or else you are SOL.

    I could honestly go on for so much more about the flaws of this program. Overall though, the program is broken and the success rate is horribly low, the few pros restart have are overshadowed by the sole point of making as much of a profit on parents who will pay anything for a miracle fix for their kids as possible. If you are looking for a place that will help your child learn how to communicate with others and social skills then restart is great. but you can find better programs for a much better price.

    I Apologies for this being so long, i just have the unique chance to have actually gone through the program and want everyone to know exactly what they are spending their money on and not what they tell you it will be spent on.

  2. I was just watching a Vice News story on this organization (8/23/2018 episode). Asked about their fees, the director of the program, the revealingly named “Dr. Hilarie CASH” (no, I didn’t make that up), stated “For most people who stay for “about” 8 weeks here, it costs “about” $30,000.” Elsewhere in the broadcast, they state the program generally has 8 clients at any given time. So, that’s a gross income of “about” $1,560,000.00 annually. Apparently, “reSTART” has existed for 10 years, or as defined by their true raison d’être, for ABOUT SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARS. Clearly, the “Gaming Industry” isn’t the only group of $$$ driven parasites preying on these poor fools.

  3. The Restart program is not effective at all. It actually made our son worst. In the past, he was not that rebellious and was still willing to communicate with us despite his gaming addiction. Ever since he’s been at this Restart Recovery program, he became very violent with us. The people at Restart instructed him to follow his wishes and take control of his own life. Hence, he followed his own wishes and was determined to play video games forever. We found him another university after he got kicked out from his first university. He dropped out again in less than a semester saying he felt like doing what he feels like. I acknowledged he was really addicted in the first place. But Restart made it worse teaching him that he should do whatever he feels like as long as he’s willing to take responsibility for it. Ever since then, he never communicated with us anymore – none of the family members. Or he would start yelling and screaming. In the past before this Restart, he was lot more gentle and willing to communicate and was still making an effort to study. After Restart, he’s a completely different person – violent and unable to communicate- which makes it even more difficult to deal with him. And it has remained like this for the past 4-5 years.

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