Villa Veritas, a New York-based rehab established in 1973, began in the unlikely setting of a candy store in Astoria, Queens. Jim Cusack, with five years of sobriety under his belt, decided to open up the back room of his shop to other alcoholics who were looking to find a taste of sobriety. Now it’s a 12-step facility in Kerhonkson, New York whose name, translated, means “the house of truth.”
Accommodations and Food
Villas Veritas strongly believes in separating men and women in order to ensure that everyone focuses only on their recovery, without the distraction of co-ed fraternization. The facility was once an old hotel, and has a female house and a male house on the property with 52 beds evenly split between them.
The accommodations here are nothing fancy; everyone sleeps three to room, all of which are dorm-like spaces with minimal decoration and twin-sized beds. Group rooms have a similar feel, with pale pastel coloring and older furniture. Private rooms are not available, as Villa Veritas warns that private set-ups have the highest rates of suicide among rehabs.
In terms of eating, guys eat with guys and girls eat with the girls at Villas Veritas. All food is made fresh daily by two resident chefs, and a typical meals could be anything from grilled chicken to burgers to homemade soups or chili. A salad bar is also available at every meal, as is caffeine.
Treatment and Staff
Villas Veritas offers the unique opportunity for men and women to receive specialized attention according to the specific needs of each gender. Unfortunately the facility does not offer detox on-site. Still, the men’s program includes includes group therapy, individual therapy, recreational activities, trauma therapy and AA meetings while the Women’s program includes all of the above plus nutritional education, physical health, creative arts workshops and domestic abuse therapy.
A typical day at Villas Veritas starts at 7 am with morning medication followed by room check. Clients are all assigned chores ranging from mopping the floors to cleaning the bathrooms. At 10:30 am, morning lecture group begins followed by lunch. Step work goes from 1:30 to 2:30 pm followed by recreation time, which can include swimming or walking. Clients are given time to do their own laundry from 4:30 to 5:30 pm and then there’s free time until dinner. Days wind down with an AA meeting and an optional 20-minute meditation. Clients have time to relax and watch movies from 9 to 11 pm before lights out.
The staff is split by gender, once again keeping women with women and men with men. Each set of staff has seven certified counselors, with specializations including substance abuse and social work. They also have support for those suffering from AIDS and an MD on-site for both programs during the day.
Though there aren’t tons of extras, an indoor pool is available to clients during recreational time. An onsite gym is also available with a staff personal trainer to help clients properly achieve fitness goals and avoid injury.
Villas Veritas even encourages loose fitting clothing so as not to draw attention to the body. A co-ed AA meeting happens every other week but beyond that, clients are separated by gender at all times. Technology lovers may also struggle here as television time is reduced to one set movie per night. Personal cell phones and laptops are prohibited. Phone use is limited to two incoming calls and one outgoing call. Clients are required to schedule in their outgoing call at the beginning of each day. Downtime is restricted to on-site activities only. No weekend trips to the movies or town are allowed here.
For those looking for a strict 30-day treatment program with few, Valley Veritas will provide a great foundation and introduction to the world of 12-step based sobriety. The open land and small-town feel of upstate New York allows clients to disconnect from the outside world and hone in on their personal journey of recovery; still, some may find themselves with cabin fever after a while.
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