Located in Bisbee, Arizona, roughly 90 miles southeast of Tucson, Verhelst Recovery House is a men’s residential drug and alcohol treatment facility that relies on 12-step recovery and cultivates self-sufficiency. Bisbee is a small city of only a little over 5,000 residents and was historically a mining town. Those seeking affordable treatment should be happy to note that their labor while at Verhelst helps pay for their room and board.
Accommodations and Food
Verhelst accommodates clients in a home that is over 120 years old, and the intimate facility sleeps no more than 11 residents at a time. Each room is shared by four men with twin beds, basic furnishings and two shared bathrooms per room. There is also a kitchen, dining room and common area in the house. During their stay, which typically lasts six months, clients are assigned a variety of weekly household chores.
Cooking duties are also primarily up to the clients, and food for breakfast and dinner meals is provided by the house via public assistance (Verhelst works with each client upon arrival to set up a food stamp plan which covers meals.) Residents are expected to take care of their own lunch.
Treatment and Staff
Verhelst Recovery House’s recovery program is primarily a spiritual one, thus clients should not expect any kind of CBT, DBT or dual diagnosis support during their stay. With that in mind, the treatment regimen at Verhelst is simple, requiring daily 12-step meetings. There are five AA/NA meetings held in the house each week and two held off-site. Clients are required to attend all of these meetings each week. These meetings are also populated with members of the local community, and are usually led by a representative of local AA chapters. Occasionally, guest lecturers also visit the house to share their experience, strength and hope and to discuss principles of lasting sobriety.
The program at Verhelst places great importance on securing steady employment, enabling every client to become a contributing and responsible member of society. Clients spend their days performing a variety of manual labor tasks—such as landscaping or weeding—in exchange for room and board. Typically, residents work four-hour days before returning back the Verhelst House and attending meetings. After the day’s work and meetings are completed, residents can enjoy personal time in the evenings until the next day’s 6 am wake up call. Free time is largely spent doing 12-step work, completing chores or socializing with other residents in the house common room.
It’s worth noting that Verhelst only has two proper staff members, the head of the program who oversees scheduling, attends meetings and handles employment organization and a house manager who serves as a general peer counselor. While it is not a lock-down facility, there are strict rules about leaving the house unsupervised. After a period of several months, clients may receive day passes and Sundays are reserved for family visits. There is no medical detox offered at Verhelst. Those in need of this service are referred to the nearby Community Bridges facility in Benson.
As mentioned, a resident’s work day at Verhelst pays for their room and board. However, these expenses are covered by the first 16 hours that a client works each week. The remainder of their payment goes into their own personal savings which they receive as a check regularly.
Aftercare at Verhelst consists of clients attending house meetings after their stay is over at no charge. Furthermore, Verhelst maintains close contact via regular phone calls with alumni for at least a year after their treatment.
The program at Verhelst Recovery House is no-nonsense, based on the spiritual principles of the 12-steps. Clients can expect to be employed with a variety of manual tasks during the day followed by an evening 12-step meeting. Though the facility may lack frills, those participating in the program can expect fellowship and a long-term residential experience big on personal empowerment and the mechanics of spiritual recovery.
Verhelst Recovery House
936 Tovreaville Rd
Bisbee, AZ 85603
Verhelst Recovery House Cost: Free (room and board covered through daily work). Reach Verhelst Recovery House by phone at (520) 432-3764 or by email at [email protected]. Find Verhelst Recovery House on Facebook and YouTube
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