Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is a life-or-death proposition, and at Serenity House, it’s treated that way. As one of its top brass says on the website by way of introduction: “Treatment centers don’t keep anybody sober.” Regardless, they certainly try; the Texas-based facility was founded in 1984, is currently overseen by president Cindy Weir and a handful of other old-timers and has helped more than 30,000 people start on the road to sobriety.
Accommodations and Food
Serenity House has three locations—in Abilene, Fredericksberg and Wichita Falls, though the latter is reserved for outpatient services. The main facility is in Abilene, and contains 12 detox beds and 88 inpatient ones; it also boasts a reflection pool, 12-step garden and on-site chapel. The other location, in Fredericksberg, is set on 20 acres in the Texas outback, and has 32 beds but no detox. Both are co-ed even though the genders are kept strictly separate throughout their stays, and neither house has private rooms; just like college, bedrooms are spare and each set of rooms shares a bathroom with another pair of roommates. Clients can expect healthy meals complete with plenty of Texas beef.
Treatment and Staff
Treatment programs come in 30, 60 and 90-day varieties, and all are heavy on material drawn from the Big Book. Serenity House also employs a CBT model with daily reflective assignments to hammer home each of the 12-step lessons.
Days begin with a 6 am wake-up, chores, breakfast and a morning meditation. Then comes a block of educational sessions (covering addiction as a disease, life skills and the like) and process groups until lunch at noon. Next is group counseling sessions until 2 pm, followed by time for exercise, study and individual counseling until 6 pm, though these are rotating activities. Finally, there’s dinner at 7 pm, an offsite AA/NA meeting from 8-9 pm and lights out at 10:30.
Though there’s nothing recreational about the programs offered (unless considering twice a week off-site gym trips recreation), what Serenity does best is tough love and hard-nosed AA fundamentalism.
Between its locations, Serenity House has 140 staff members, nine of whom are Master’s-level counselors (with three more studying to be) and 16 who specialize in chemical dependency.
Specialized offerings from Serenity include classes designed for women’s issues and for addicts who are chronic relapsers. Serenity also has a Bridges Program track for young adults, which relies on the same basic curriculum but also caters to coming-of-age issues unique to those in their late teens.
Family services offered include classes on Saturdays where addicts’ family members can participate in group sessions, as well as weekly lectures and family support groups in San Antonio and Fort Worth on Tuesdays. Serenity’s outpatient program is available in both Abilene and Wichita Falls, and is essentially a scaled-back version of the above offerings with nine hours a week of group counseling and one of individual.
Serenity House is upfront about what it has to offer—it is a chance at recovery without any pampering or hidden costs, and relentlessly focused on the AA party line.
1546 N 2nd St
Abilene, TX 79601
3100 Seymour Hwy
Wichita Falls, TX 76301
312 Balcones Drive
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
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