Launched in 1967 by an in-recovery priest, Sacred Heart started as a street mission that provided residential treatment for destitute males suffering from alcoholism in a former Catholic school in downtown Detroit—but it’s since expanded. Today, Sacred Heart’s main facility is sprawled across 126 acres in Richmond, Michigan, though it has two other residential locations as well, including New Life Home for Recovering Women in Detroit and Serenity Hills in Berrien Center (as well as a myriad of outpatient locations across Michigan). Sacred Heart takes a clinical-yet-welcoming approach to recovery, with an educational and nurturing tone to treatment that helps residents feel safe.
Accommodations and Food
Sacred Heart’s newly renovated property now has a women-only wing for those 18 and older that also caters to mothers and soon-to-be mothers. Treatment, detox and housing are all under one roof for residents’ convenience and ease while they learn life skills. Additionally, the rural setting keeps clients free of distractions as an effort to prevent them from leaving before treatment is completed. While computers and cell phones aren’t allowed, residents are given access to phones for limited and authorized calls only; visitors are allowed with pre-approved visitation time on Sundays.
Based on the hospital-like interior, Sacred Heart’s facility is designed for those who are serious about recovery. The dormitory-style rooms are carpeted and furnished with twin-sized beds and bunks—private rooms are not available. Kitchen and laundry areas have the basics including a refrigerator, a dishwasher, washing machines and dryers, all to help clients learn responsibility and self-reliance.
Sacred Heart’s dietary staff provides residents with federally-approved cafeteria-like food that adheres to national, dietary guidelines with some special dietary alternatives offered. Sugar and caffeine are allowed, but only during meal times.
Treatment and Staff
After an on-site detox when necessary (generally lasting three to five days), treatment begins with methods including didactic sessions, group and one-on-one therapy. Depending on the strength of their insurance, clients typically have one to three individual sessions per week. CBT, DBT and dual diagnosis support are all provided if needed; while Sacred Heart doesn’t offer EMDR, it does offer trauma informed care via SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
In terms of meetings, Sacred Heart hosts AA and NA gatherings on-site but residents are not required to go; alternatives such as SMART Recovery are available as well, and all options are equally encouraged. Exercise is part of the program so there is an on-site gym. All recreational activities are held within the facility, and other holistic treatment options include crafts and acupuncture. Finally, there’s a family program called “Recharge Sundays” consisting of educational lectures and visitation every other week.
During their time at Sacred Heart, residents will follow a strict daily routine. Mornings are dedicated to group sessions and breakfast, though the bulk of the day is set aside for individual sessions and didactic groups. In the evenings, clients attend NA or AA meetings (if they choose) followed by peer recovery sessions. Exercise is encouraged during free time, with rotating recreational activities held on-site throughout the day. While residents aren’t permitted to leave the grounds, Sacred Heart does provide transportation from outpatient locations to the residential site—these trips are allowed only in medical or psychiatric emergencies.
While there are approximately 150 staff members, the staff-to-client ratio is one-to-five. The clinical primary care staff is comprised of Master’s-level professionals, with nursing and direct care help always on-site. Residents at all locations have access to a staff of LADCs at all times, with an on-call doctor available several times a week as well.
Though the facility is relatively stripped down, Sacred Heard does have a business center with access to the Internet where clients can fill out insurance applications. There is also have a media room with a television, though programming is limited; viewing is allowed during free time between 6 and 8 pm nightly. Other bonuses include yoga and meditation.
Ultimately, Sacred Heart is a well-equipped government program for those seeking an affordable recovery. Its primary rural location can definitely be a refreshing place for self-exploration, and its myriad program offerings provide a diversified curriculum that meet an array of needs.
400 Stoddard Rd
Memphis, MI 48041
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Photo courtesy of Marcin Błuś (Own work) [GFDL (https://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)