Texas House of Houston is a non-profit residential facility that was founded by three doctors in 1965. Using the 12 steps, the Therapeutic Community model of recovery and a return to work program, it is dedicated to helping indigent and less fortunate men struggling with substance abuse issues to recover and get back on track with their lives.
Accommodations and Food
Texas House consists of five, two-story apartment complexes that have been converted into a self-contained treatment facility. The cement structure encompasses an outdoor courtyard, landscaped with trees and furnished with a myriad of benches, tables and chairs. Inside, this 90-bed facility is split up into separate units—18 rooms in all. The sleeping quarters are large enough to fit five twin-sized beds and each has an en suite bathroom. Typically, there are only three or four men per room as Texas House doesn’t often reach maximum capacity. For recreation, there’s a Ping-Pong table in the common room, a basketball hoop outside and, on the weekends, clients have TV privileges.
No outside electronics of any kind are allowed on the premises. However, there are pay phones and an ancillary telephone that can be used with counselor approval. Outgoing calls are allowed three times a week.
For meals, a registered dietician plans all menus. Clients also work in the kitchen, helping to prepare well-balanced dishes consisting of fruits, vegetables, meats and breads—whatever the dietician approves. Breakfast items include sausage, eggs, toast and cereal; lunch items include fried chicken, onion rings, tossed salad and a dessert. For dinner, residents enjoy meat loaf, fish, more fried chicken and Salisbury steaks.
Treatment and Staff
A visiting physician assesses new clients at the Texas House for the first few months in order to gauge their progress and determine how to proceed—many of these men are homeless coming into this program. If men have more pressing medical needs, like detox, they’re referred to the Harris County hospital system. For dual diagnosis clients, Texas House refers residents to a mental-health clinic. If the condition is manageable (no hallucinations, delusions or suicidal ideations), Texas House does admit men who are medically stabilized and have a doctor’s letter confirming their diagnosis.
Clients at the Texas House remain in treatment for up to one year. That being said, all treatment is voluntary and clients are free to leave at any time. This facility follows the Therapeutic Community model, where the clients support each other in recovery. They engage in basic drug and alcohol education—personal growth, living skills and proper hygiene—combined with a return to work program and the 12 steps. Clients are expected to find a sponsor and to work the steps. On-site meetings are held four days a week; after 30 days in residence, clients are transported to off-site meetings as well.
Clients also participate in group therapy—specifically process groups, encounter groups and/or confrontation groups (also known as T-Groups)—on a weekly basis. The group uses feedback, problem solving and role-play to basically treat themselves, which can be intensely emotional for everyone involved. In addition to this style of sensitivity training, clients are provided with individual therapy once a month. Treatment methods include CBT and REBT. If EMDR is needed, clients are referred out to a VA or similar facility.
Residents rise at 5 am for breakfast and then a meditation meeting. Daily announcements are delivered before the men do some kind of manual labor for the county. Residents then attend addiction education and living skills groups before lunch. After lunch, they’re given down time. Following this, clients attend an afternoon personal-growth group and more work activities. Everyone sits down for dinner at 5 pm, followed by an AA meeting at 6:30 pm. After the meeting, there are two more groups, free time and then lights out at 10:30 pm, 11:30 on weekends. Visitation hours are on Sunday.
Texas House employs six licensed counselors, each of whom manages 10 men, in addition to 11 administrative people. The majority of staffers are men, and five of these men act as live-in property managers, providing 24-hour supervision in conjunction with overnight techs.
Every Friday night, the men attend a two-hour Family Living Skills program that is taught by a therapist and his wife. For extra-curricular outings, there are barbeques, day trips to Galveston, movie theaters, roller-skating and bowling.
For those who’ve successfully completed the residential program, Texas House offers two years of aftercare, consisting of ongoing group therapy meetings. Once a resident completes six months in residence, the Texas House partners with the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services in order to counsel him in terms of professional goals. From there, later-stage clients are allowed to look for work, start a job and work while recovering.
Texas House believes it is successful because of the long-term length of a client’s stay and the behavior-modification practices. The Texas House has made it its mission to rearrange the skewed thinking of the addict into more helpful patterns. All it asks in return is for clients to stay sober and do some kind of work—both physical work and the metaphorical work of recovery. There may be no cost for treatment, but clients are expected to do physical labor for their keep.
2208 W 34th St
Houston, TX 77018
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