St. Gregory Retreat Centers Reviews, Cost, Complaints

St. Gregory Retreat Centers


St. Gregory Retreat CentersSt. Gregory Retreat Centers Review

Michael and Rose Marie Vasquez founded St. Gregory in 2006 to combine the most recent scientific research with best-practice substance abuse treatment in an integrated program with gender-specific retreat centers in beautiful rural Iowa.

Accommodations and Food

The men’s facility holds 56 residents in Bayard, 65 miles northwest of Des Moines, while 28 women are housed in Adair, 55 miles west of Des Moines. Retreat facilities consist of deluxe semi-private suites with shower and bathroom. Sleeping suites, classrooms and common areas are all on one level. Housing is fully handicapped-accessible.

Free laundry facilities, plasma televisions, a computer lab and free long-distance telephone services are provided. Caffeine is allowed in both the detox and the residential programs and tobacco is permitted in the residential retreats, though clients are encouraged to continue use of patches after the initial week of detox.

Food is planned by a registered dietician and prepared by chefs in the retreat kitchens. Each dining room features a salad bar; hot foods are served buffet style. Family-style seating offers a residential atmosphere.

It should be noted that St. Gregory Retreat Centers Recovery Program policy specifies that anyone who drinks or uses drugs while enrolled be expelled with no refund. Frequent, random drug tests are conducted at unannounced times and locations.

Treatment and Staff

A team of physicians, nurses and other professionals manage detox symptoms and guide the process of breaking chemical bonds of addiction in a certified withdrawal management facility. Tobacco is replaced with nicotine patches during this initial week of treatment. All detox clients spend approximately one week in the Des Moines clinic before traveling to their respective treatment locations.

Treatment at St. Gregory’s usually lasts for eight weeks, with one year of aftercare.

Recovery plans are evidence and empowerment-based. This program is not 12-step in origin. This is a SMART recovery based program co-currently treating substance abuse and eating disorders, and providing pain recovery programs without narcotic pain medications. Professional staff uses CBT and Behavior Modification Training to equip clients to handle difficult emotional situations without the use of drugs or alcohol. Neurocognitive Therapy restores information pathways in the brain that often become distorted during addiction. Neurochemical Therapy helps to lessen cravings after treatment. An extended (12 month) Health and Wellness Program integrating nutrition, sports, physiology and lifestyle training provides opportunity to restore the body. Comprehensive Life Planning and Recovery Life Coaching provide clearly planned goals and objectives for the period after initial treatment.

One year of aftercare and recovery coaching, utilizing SMART recovery, is provided. At any point within the 12 months following successful graduation from the St. Gregory Recovery Program, alumni may return for a period of seven weeks for a reduced fee.

The staff is a multi-disciplinary team including physicians, nurses, counselors, personal trainers, dietician, chefs and life coaches. Focus is more on credentialed staff than on peer counseling; 65 to 70 staff members serve the residents, making the client-to-staff ratio almost even. The Des Moines, Adair and Bayard centers have a total of 160 employees.

Breakfast is served between 7:30 and 8:30 am, followed by two program sessions in the morning. Lunch is from 12:15 to 1 pm. The afternoon includes one program session and an hour for study and reflection. Health and wellness activities are scheduled between 3:30 and 5:30 pm, followed by the dinner hour. Nightly planned in-house activities and occasional outings start at 7 pm and the house is quiet by 11.

Time and space for meditation is provided, and religious observance is encouraged at St. Gregory Retreat Centers. It’s up to each individual client to decide whether and how to use these resources. No specific spiritual or religious practices are imposed, and each resident’s personal beliefs and preferences are respected.


Recreational facilities include sauna, basketball court, workout rooms, bicycles, pool table, disc golf and table tennis.

In Summary

“Where science meets recovery,” St. Gregory Retreat Centers use the latest in brain-functioning research to teach management of depression, anxiety and stress. This is the place for those who eschew the 12-step model. In this recovery approach, it is believed that understanding emotions, learning how to deal with them, and practice in making good choices is the only way to resume a purposeful life without addiction.

St. Gregory Retreat Centers Location

608 North St
Adair, IA 50002

St. Gregory Retreat Centers Cost

$13,250 (30 days). Reach St. Gregory by phone at (888) 213-1678 or by email at [email protected]. Find St. Gregory on Facebook and YouTube

Do you have a complaint or review of St. Gregory to add? Use the comments area below to add to your St. Gregory Retreat Centers review.



  1. Best thing that ever happened to me for both myself and my family. I totally have to respectfully disagree with the above reviews. The leadership showed love and compassion when I was literally on deaths doorstep. I owe the world to this program. But most importantly thy taught Me that I really owe myself the world bc I am the one that did the changing. Yes self empowered I do feel thanks to them !

  2. This is an underfunded, poorly maintained and under managed facility. A clear lack of leadership leaves the very capable staff poking at what could be. The foundation of the treatment plan is sound, again lacking leadership and execution. I will be finishing the program as I paid cash, but it is only because I desire a change. I would not recommend this facility or current program execution to a self paying, self motivated person. Unfortunately, there are few options for Catholics to include faith in recovery. While this is advertised strongly at SGR, it is only advertised and is not executed as such in reality.

    Several members of the individual staff (councilors, activities staff, site nurse) are quality people who treat this as more than a 9-5 gig. Unfortunately the decision authority is in the hands of individuals who either don’t care or are incapable of executing their vision.

    • This sounds a bit worse than the typical rehab (we’re familiar with 2). I think you may really *love* Catholic in Recovery (they are on Facebook and have a website–founder is Scott Weeman) meetings, which are NOT a rehab, they are 100% Catholic and they are free. I was a little put off by the negative cast of 12-step programs by St. Gregory’s. The people who are willing to follow them do very well. I wonder what the success rate is of St. Gregory’s participants? Anyway, I would love to believe that someone has the best thing since sliced bread (for my dear son), but this doesn’t seem to be it. My son, by the way, has had the longest-term success through attending 12-step meetings and engaging with a sponsor. May God help us all.

  3. I’m VERY disappointed with St Greg’s. Why are they so against a 12 step program? I’ve heard wonders about the 12 steps. This “SMART” deal seems ridiculous. It totally changed my husbands way of thinking for the worst. Very strange with this “self seeking and self empowerment” junk.

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