At Lake Worth, Florida’s egalitarian, enigmatically named drug and alcohol rehab The Treatment Center (TTC), addicts and alcoholics from all walks of life, from the poverty-stricken to the Wall Street titan, room together in twos and threes while getting treatment for alcohol, Rx pain meds, as well as street drugs like meth, cocaine and heroin.
One of the big draws for some is the rehab’s Christian inclination, as embodied by Medical Director Dr. Adam Bianchini, a physician “specializing in AA literature and Biblical studies,” according to TTC’s website. This Christian inclination is made more explicit with its alternate Road Less Traveled treatment program, a separate rehab track which nevertheless takes place within the same facility. (One former resident said that her best memory from treatment was when she got baptized.) Otherwise, TTC follows a pretty standard 12-step program. Said one alumnus, “I have kept all my notes [from rehab] and use them in my 12-step group here.”
This Christian program isn’t pushed on residents, but it’s there if they want it—and many do. “I was there first and foremost because they had a real Christian program, because without Jesus all hope is lost,” said one TTC grad. Another noted that while religion was emphasized, “No groups were forced upon anyone—so if you didn’t want to hear about religion, you didn’t have to."
Bible-believers and skeptics alike comprise a diverse array of clientele, with no predominant ethnic background—there’s whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics and racially mixed residents, from ages 18 to 65, with the majority under 40 years old. TTC can accommodate a max of 132 residents, and usually has approximately 120 people in treatment. Men and women are split evenly, and gay people are welcomed alongside straights. Occupations and income are where it really gets crazy, though: One resident described being in treatment with “people that had a ton of money to people that were homeless or on welfare,” with jobs ranging from nurses to receptionists to construction workers to even, yes, Playboy Bunnies.
Daily life for TTC residents is busy, albeit somewhat less regimented in terms of scheduling than many other rehabs. Residents are required to attend meetings with their therapists, but are merely encouraged to hit the larger, open-attendance, on-site 12-step meetings. “There were only a few mandatory daily courses/groups,” reported one alumnus. As for chores, there aren’t really any to speak of at TTC, other than making your bed and picking up after yourself.
For those who subscribe to the adage that “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop,” there are lots of different classes and activities to choose from, with a couple favorites in the latter category being walking or running around the paved path that winds through TTC’s 15 acres, or pick-up sand volleyball games. Depending on what color “band” you have—orange/red, blue and green, in ascending order of freedom and privileges—you also can go on weekend beach outings, trips to Wal-Mart and local bookstores, outdoor 12-step meetings, Sunday church service and more. Other diversions include working out at the on-site gym; t’ai chi, yoga, acupuncture and massage (the latter two primarily for those in treatment for pain management) across the street at the Healing Center; horseshoes, card games—including a recurring Spades tournament—and the odd karaoke night, held in TTC’s community room, which also has video games. Said one grad, “They kept us occupied and we definitely had a lot of fun.”
TTC also keeps its residents full, with buffet-style meals served in a cafeteria setting. Although the food isn’t the healthiest or most waistline-conscious, it is tasty and abundant. “It was mostly carbs, but they did serve fresh seafood and salads,” said one satisfied customer, referring to the universally loved salad bar. TTC also holds well-loved “Alumni Night” barbecues every Wednesday—attended by 40–70 alumni each week, for a total of 100–200 people—featuring cookout staples (burgers, hot dogs) alongside more exotic fare such as filet mignon, Alaskan king crab legs, mahi-mahi, swordfish and more.
Snacks and sweets are readily available, but caffeine is strictly off-limits. You can get the taste, though, with decaf coffee on offer around the clock, and caffeine-free sodas on BBQ days. TTC chefs are very accommodating of food allergies or issues, with both gluten-free and vegan residents—as well as one person who’d just had her wisdom teeth removed—reporting back favorably on meals tweaked to suit them.
If you want to call family and friends to rave about the killer weekly barbecues—or to complain about the endless weekly barbecues, which some alumni evidently get sick of—residents are allowed relatively expansive phone privileges, with one hour of phone time two to three times a week, depending on what color band you have. TV (in the community room) is allowed between meetings and in the evenings before lights-out, and there is no Internet unless you have a particular need to go online. Smokers will be pleased to know that TTC doesn’t take the same hard line with nicotine as it does with caffeine, with a smoking porch open at night.