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The Retreat


The RetreatThe Retreat Review

Hidden amongst the red oak trees of the Big Woods Preserve in Greater Minneapolis, Minnesota sits a brick and shingled English Tudor style Catholic-retreat-turned-treatment center. Once run by nuns, the spirituality of the facility’s roots still permeates the halls and the building’s old-school architecture while the peaceful rural surroundings offer additional serenity to The Retreat.

Accommodations and Food

Men and women are kept completely separated and assigned daily chores. Out of 62 possible residents, the program allows 41 men and only 21 women. It has a program catering to the 60+ crowd, although the average age is supposedly 38. Males are assigned their own private rooms (a rehab rarity) and females are dispersed between a shared quad and private dorms.

All clients are expected to keep their rooms and personal space clean. Chore schedules change on a weekly basis and can range from cleaning to being a peer leader (who’s responsible for taking attendance and making announcements). Any concerns from the group are addressed in a weekly community meeting and clients who have broken rules or are causing problems are either asked to openly take responsibility for their actions or risk being asked to leave the program.

As far as cuisine fresh produce in salads alongside American main courses can be expected. Examples include pizza, pasta, chicken and salmon. Breakfast is continental, but you can have as much of it as you want throughout the day. Staff will take clients to a local grocery store to pick up any perishable items they’d like

Treatment and Staff

The program of recovery offered at The Retreat is strictly 12-step. Days begin with a morning meditation and simple breakfast followed by a Big Book study—a volunteer-led group focusing on the main text of Alcoholics Anonymous. Then there is a group focusing on the 12-step approved book Living Sober and a recovery-related lecture before everyone breaks for lunch at noon. Afternoons are filled with 12-step work and personal time granted at some point in the afternoon, where residents are free to exercise at the on-site gym, run, hike around the seven-acre campus, or shoot hoops.

Nights are reserved for 12-step meetings, which are held on-site by local alumni and the strong recovery community, followed by a 10th step group where those new to 12-step get to learn how to take daily inventories of their behavior and recognize their attributes and character defects. Evening time is also when personal phone calls are permitted from either the facility’s free house phone or pay phone (no personal cell phones allowed). Neither is Internet access allowed for the entire time spent at The Retreat, which is anywhere between 30 and 90 days. In fact, no electronic devices—iPods, iPads or laptops—are allowed and neither is TV, with the exception of movie nights and big cultural and sporting events. Reading is permitted but is restricted to recovery-related or spiritual material that can be found in abundance in the facility’s on-site library.

Clients are catered by 17 full time staff members, most of which are patient coordinators and support staff. Three LADC specialists lead the crew. There are no on-site psychologists or psychiatrists but The Retreat has ready to access to many of those professionals in the Wayzata community.


There are no New Age or holistic treatments available, although there is daily yoga class.

In Summary

At the end of the day, The Retreat is an option for those who absolutely need to remove themselves from their toxic environments and get on an accelerated course to the 12 steps at a bargain basement price. However, those with co-occurring disorders might be served better at a dual diagnosis facility.

The Retreat Location

1221 Wayzata Blvd E
Wayzata, MN 55391

The Retreat Cost

$4,700 (30 days). Reach The Retreat by phone at (866) 928-3434. Find The Retreat on Facebook, YouTube and Google+

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