Turtle Lodge Recovery Home is a residential substance abuse treatment program for members of the Sierra Tribal Consortium—an organization that includes the Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, Big Sandy Rancheria Band of the Western Mono Indian Tribe, Table Mountain Rancheria, North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, and the Picayune Rancheria of Chuckchansi Indians of Coarsegold California.
Turtle Lodge is located in Fresno—a mid-sized city in central California half-way between Los Angeles and Sacramento. All recovery programs are tailored to the cultural and specific needs of Native American men and women 18 and older who struggle with chemical dependency and alcoholism.
In addition to the residential track, Turtle Lodge has an outpatient program, a sober living facility and aftercare. Treatment incorporates therapy, the 12-step method of recovery and Wellbriety—a concept unique to the Native American recovery communities. Combining concepts from AA with the Native cultural value system, Wellbriety describes the evolution of a person’s recovery into a whole, balanced individual who demonstrates sobriety as well as mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness.
Accommodations and Food
All clients reside in the Lodge—a long building sectioned off to create gender-specific living areas, then divided into separate “dorms”. The men (up to nine at one time) live in the back two sections in four shared rooms. The women (up to five at once) live in the front section. Each section has a shared bathroom and a common area for relaxing, studying and watching TV.
Residents are responsible for all food preparation with specific assignments given every three weeks. If clients aren’t practiced at cooking, other residents in the community teach them the needed skills. Meals are eaten communally in an effort to promote a family and home-like atmosphere.
Residents are not permitted visitors or cell phones until they’ve been in treatment for 30 days. There is a television in the facility and residents can watch during breaks after 4 pm on weekdays.
Treatment and Staff
Prior to admittance, potential clients are assessed and an appropriate plan of treatment is devised. Turtle Lodge has two phases of recovery; Phase One is a 30, 60 or 90-day residential track with 20 hours of group and/or individual therapy each week, three 12-step meetings and one family therapy session. Group therapy topics include relapse prevention, relationship skills, social responsibility, motivation, parenting and how to integrate better into the tribal community. Groups are led by LADCs and the staff-to-client ratio never exceeds one-to-five. Clients with co-occurring disorders are connected with an off-site psychiatrist. Clients requiring prescribed or over-the-counter medication must maintain communication with a medical professional.
Residents are also required to participate in cultural and traditional activities such as ceremonies, gender-specific gatherings, Pow-Wows, talking circles and learning traditional American Indian drumming techniques and songs unique to their specific tribe.
On a typical day residents rise at 5:30 am, perform assigned chores and then eat a communal breakfast. At 7:30 am clients report to the on-site gym—Turtle Lodge places great importance on physical activity and healthy exercise habits as an integral part of total health and recovery. After a day of group therapy, educational sessions and 12-step meetings, clients retire with lights-out at 11 pm Sunday through Thursday and 12 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
On Thursday evenings families are invited to visit, and on Tuesdays the facility hosts a Wellbriety meeting—a social support format that adapts the 12 steps to accommodate Native American culture and spirituality. The staff also coordinate volunteering opportunities for clients to aid in building skills and self-esteem.
Phase Two is a sober living facility that houses just 2 clients at a time who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to recovery and motivation to change. Residents who’d like to apply to the Phase Two’s sober living must be employed and must limit their stay to nine months.
Turtle Lodge also has an outpatient track—a 90-day program offering counseling, education and outreach as well as prevention services for young people in the community.
Residents who would like to attend the aftercare weekly meetings can do so for three to six-months and can also meet with a counselor for a monthly one-on-one session.
Sierra Tribal Consortium, The Lodge’s governing body, also offers a year-long Batterer’s Intervention program to break the cycle of domestic violence. Case management is available for clients with court issues.
The Sierra Tribal Consortium’s Turtle Lodge Recovery Home has successfully treated generations of Native American men and women struggling with substance abuse. With an emphasis on physical health and being of service, residents emerge from treatment with a stronger sense of self and the awareness and coping skills to aid in long-term recovery. Through its use of The Recovery Medicine Wheel and Wellbriety, Turtle Lodge ensures residents learn recovery principles consistent with their cultural experiences and spiritual beliefs and can demonstrate total wellness—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Turtle Lodge Recovery Home
10 West McKineley Ave
Fresno, CA 93728
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