Serenity House Spain is an ultra-luxurious 12-step rehab in the small town of Puerto Serrano, which is in the province of Cadiz, Spain. Two hours from Gibraltar, Serenity House is on the Southern tip of the country facing Morocco in Africa. Spain’s best-established English-speaking private addiction facility, Serenity House is such a high-end rehab that they only take five clients at a time. First opened in 1999, Serenity House was taken over in 2010 by an addiction therapist and pastoral director.
Accommodations and Food
The facility is a Spanish villa-style estate with seven bedrooms on 6,000 square feet of rustic property of stunning grounds that are covered in orange, lemon and olive groves. The rooms are all private and comfortable and are equipped with queen-sized beds with wooden headboards, multiple plush pillows, vintage lamps and frames for personal photos. The living room has satellite TV and mp3 docking stations. TV watching is allowed pretty much whenever there’s free time. The pool is giant and calming—think glamorous hotel pool without the crowds.
At Serenity House, food and nutrition play an important role as the center focuses on lowering liver counts and restoring proper functioning to the body. The chef, Abdul Sallak, specializes not only in French and Italian cuisine but also in Mediterranean, Indian, Thai and Middle Eastern (his experience working at high-end restaurants along Spain’s Costa del Sol make him a good fit for the palate of the average Serenity House client).
Treatment and Staff
Serenity House treats dual diagnosis as well as straight-up alcoholism and addiction and has treatment plans of four weeks, six weeks or 12 weeks. It’s 12-step oriented and rounds out group therapy with five one-on-one sessions a week. Clients also attend off site AA meetings Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in Seville (a one hour drive).
Detox is available with help from the High Care International Clinic in Marbella. Serenity House coordinates with the medical team there and their own Dr. Charles Triay so that clients arrive at Serenity House ready for treatment. There are six staff members at Serenity House, giving it an almost one-to-one staff-to-client ratio and all staff members are highly credentialed: the key care worker is a certified 12-step therapist and has been in recovery for 10 years. Others include an addiction treatment M.D., psychologist and counselor with a PhD. The in-house therapist has 25 years experience in the field.
At Serenity House, clients take classes and go to lectures where they learn about their addiction as they go about recovering from it. During the first week, residents learn about the history of alcoholism and addiction, the medical effects, the exact nature of mental obsession and the life-destroying process of addiction as well as the healing power of recovery with like-minded people. The focus the second week is on learning about the concept of a Higher Power and preparing for a moral inventory while finding the willingness to change, learning about character defects and trying to embrace patience and tolerance. The third week is when clients learn about how their addiction affects others, as well as try to find the courage to change, make amends, learn to meditate and get a set schedule for daily life.
If there is such thing as a typical day at Serenity House, it looks like this: waking up and going to the state-of-the-art gym, eating a gourmet breakfast at 8 am, and later having a coffee break and lunch around noon. After lunch is group therapy followed by a walk or another gym session. But the schedule here is quite flexible and fluctuates depending on the client base and what they are comfortable with. This is a rehab that caters to the client and not the other way around.
At night, residents watch a recovery-based movie on the flat screen before lights out at 11 pm. Laptops and iPads are not allowed but cell phones are (though controlled by the staff). Smoking is allowed outside on the balcony overlooking the Spanish countryside. Visitation is allowed after the first week of treatment is completed.
One of the central methods of treatment here is Reiki, which is energy healing using Universal Life Force Energy that removes any blocks caused by physical, mental, emotional or spiritual distress. The idea behind this is that once these blocks are taken out of the body, clients can heal naturally. Holistic treatment is also a major part of the curriculum here with five different available massages: hot stone, aromatherapy, reflexology, lymphatic drainage and remedial sports.
The extras at Serenity House put it into top-notch territory. Horseback riding is available at the local equestrian center with lessons for small groups of two to six (clients can also walk or cycle the path). Day trips to explore Seville and Marbella are always on the schedule as are meditation and yoga.
Serenity House Spain is where the concept of rehab-as-spa trip might have been invented. When compared to the other luxury rehabs, its price (even in Euros) makes it a bargain as well. Their fluid methods of recovery and experience in VIP treatment have created a fairly idyllic center for a new life in sobriety. For those interested in but hesitant about 12-step recovery, Serenity House is just the spot to work through that in comfort. It caters to anyone who pays up and does not disappoint.
Serenity House Spain Location
Address not published
Serenity House Spain Cost
15,000 Euros [$18,568 per publishing date exchange rate] (30 days). Reach Serenity House Spain by phone at 011-34-956-127-371. Find Serenity House Spain on Facebook
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Photo courtesy of WorldForTravel