Wekiva Springs Center, which opened in 2004, is in Northern Florida, 15 minutes south of Jacksonville. In a state full of treatment facilities, what distinguishes this hospital? The comprehensive and continuing care; Wekiva Springs accepts dual diagnosis clients as well as those with independent substance abuse issues, mental health disorders and eating disorders. People looking for addiction treatment founded in the 12 steps and CBT, but perhaps with more complicated medical histories, have access to the gamut of services, from medical detox to residential treatment to Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and aftercare planning. All of this in the beauty of the Sunshine State.
Accommodations and Food
Wekiva Springs Center is a 68-bed facility for adults. The vibe is kind of like a chain hotel near the airport; it has everything it’s supposed to have, except perhaps an overall feeling of comfort. The lobby is reminiscent of a doctor’s office waiting room—blue chairs, white carpet, low ceiling. The rooms where clients meet for group are similarly furnished, and somewhat dark. Treatment is treatment, but at Wekiva Springs, clients can make use of the indoor pool and a tennis court, which kind of rounds out the hotel analogy.
Each bedroom at Wekiva Springs has twin-sized beds and corresponding dressers. There are no private rooms, but roommates don’t have to share a bathroom with anyone other than each other. There are gender-specific wings of the building available if living on a co-ed floor is a concern. There is a balance of self-care responsibility here—for example, clients don’t prepare their own meals, but they do take care of their own laundry.
Meals in the cafeteria are served buffet-style, eaten around a group of small tables. Vegetarians can get by; a small salad bar is available for lunch and dinner, but meals are not made to accommodate special requests.
Treatment and Staff
Most clients at Wekiva Springs are dual diagnosis. Recovery for these clients begins with treating, and medicating if necessary, underlying issues like depression, anxiety, bi-polar and post-traumatic stress. Other underlying issues affecting most addicts might be unhealthy beliefs carried over from childhood, beliefs that manifest in low self-esteem and unrealistic goal setting. The program involves psychoeducational lectures and intensive group therapy. Individual therapy is scheduled on an as needed basis. Still, clients should be getting adequate personal attention, with a one-to-three staff-to-client ratio.
Wekiva Springs offers special types of therapy to clients with specific backgrounds; for example, military or ex-military clients are treated with EMDR, EFT, or rapid trauma resolution therapy to work on post-traumatic stress. While each client may have a slightly different program, most follow the same basic routine. Breakfast is followed by a community meeting, yoga, meditation and then a morning process group. In process group, clients discuss their patterns of thinking and how resultant unhealthy habits were previously ways to cope with reality. Such groups can work up an appetite; luckily, group is followed by lunch. Afterwards, clients meet for a stress management group: how to deal with reality. After a break, clients with chemical dependency issues meet for an exploration of the 12-step recovery model. Wekiva Springs uses a particular brand of the 12-step model, however, called Recovery Dynamics, a trademarked approach to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous by the Kelly Foundation. While alcoholics and addicts meet together, other clients have time to discuss how underlying childhood trauma has been made manifest in their actions as adults. After these groups, clients get back together for CBT; led by a counselor, this group allows clients to process emotions through role playing. After both groups, clients have dinner and a well-deserved break. Next up is some variety of 12-step meeting, a guided meditation and then an hour to journal about the day.
Wekiva Springs runs a substance abuse and mental health outpatient program from their headquarters as well as from their Beaches satellite location 14 miles away. Both locations are open five days a week. Some clients step down from inpatient treatment while others, whose circumstances are not so jeopardizing, use outpatient as a jumping off point for their recovery. Clients arrange with a counselor how many groups they can and should attend. Morning group runs from 9 am to noon and afternoon group from 1 pm to 4. There are evening sessions for those people whose work and family schedules don’t allow them to attend during the day. A separate program is also available for seniors, who are provided transport to and from the Beaches location.
An indoor pool, tennis court, yoga, guided meditation and art therapy are just some of the extras offered here.
Wekiva Springs Center specializes in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental health issues—plain old addicts and alcoholics will be in the minority here. This shouldn’t deter anyone from this type of program because, really, are there any plain old addicts and alcoholics? Perhaps with this kind of attention, underlying issues will be identified and getting sober will suddenly become a less daunting prospect.
Wekiva Springs Center
3947 Salisbury Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32216
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