Amethyst Recovery Center

By The Fix staff 09/24/16

With 12-step and faith-based options, Amethyst gets high praise for its staff (in recovery themselves) and the camaraderie that develops among the clients.

Location : Port St. Lucie, FL
Phone : (888) 241-7124
Price : $12-15,000 for 30 days
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : Yes

Located on the scenic Treasure Coast of Florida, in Port St. Lucie, Amethyst Recovery Center is a dual diagnosis facility that offers four levels of care: Inpatient, Day/Night Care, Intensive Outpatient, and regular Outpatient. It’s relatively affordable, has a staff that is in recovery themselves, and provides continuity through their outpatient services, as clients will still be a part of Amethyst even while living in a sober living environment and transitioning back into their regular lives.

The Day/Night program at the Amethyst Recovery Center consists of roughly 40 hours per week of treatment in various forms such as one on one therapy, groups, and 12-step meetings. The recommended stay is at least 30 days but can go up to 60. The IOP is basically sober living with nine hours of individual and group therapy. After that, comes the regular Outpatient, or sober living, which includes about an hour and a half of therapy along with transitional help such as referrals for mental health, and medical and financial aid to help the client return to society.

People choose Amethyst for a variety of reasons, most of which are familiar to people struggling with alcoholism and addiction. Two important concerns, according to our survey of recent clients, were accommodation quality and location, but the one that everyone agreed upon was treatment quality. “I couldn’t stand looking at myself in the mirror,” one client told us, expressing an urgent need for help, and another said what made the choice Amethyst was that “I could tell the staff actually cared.”

The clientele at Amethyst can be diverse. “We all came from different backgrounds. Teachers, students, mothers, black, white, old and young." This can be a good thing, as another told us, “Through this program I met many people who I would never have thought I would ever associate with, but to this day I consider them family.”

Food at Amethyst was generally rated highly. During the day, while in treatment at the Center, lunch is catered. Back at the residence you make your own breakfast and dinner, with grocery store cards distributed so you can buy your own food and eat what you like. When asked about the food arrangement, most rolled with it and were happy: “Catered lunches were really good….Breakfast and dinners were our responsibility and as a house we cooked together and ate really well. I gained 7 lbs.” As far as what was good and what wasn’t, we got a variety of responses as to the best meal, from pizza to pastas, from chicken Parmesan to Fast Food Fridays. While most clients were very happy with the food, there were a few who complained, including one person who rated the food “awful and cheap.”

There are both chores and roommates here. Don’t come looking for private chefs, maid service and private rooms. But most former residents seemed to enjoy it and see the value in this type of set up. “I had a scheduled day with chores and responsibilities to keep our house comfortable. My roommates all did the same to keep the house in order. We all followed a daily schedule provided by Amethyst to assist us in our recovery and to keep us safe and healthy,” a former resident said. Another reminded us what it was about: “Learning about myself and my emotions and how to live and laugh again. And cleaning was a part of it. I didn’t like it at first, then it made me feel better.” The residences were generally rated highly, but a few former residents were unhappy with the accommodations.

Consequences for rule breakers were considered fair with one alumnus recalling that “depending on the severity one could lose the weekly fun day or if it was severe they [promptly] handled it with contracts or discharge for others’ safety.” Another resident had a cynical outlook: “If you’re a degenerate you can do whatever you want. If you’re serious about your future, you’ll probably get kicked out for whatever.” Many recall there being a happy balance between a tough-love approach and a more permissive approach. “It wasn’t necessarily tough love, but it was based on getting real with yourself, owning up to your past, but really with a message of hope and a solution for living clean and sober. I was so broken when I came in tough love would have sent me running,” a client recalls.

There’s more than therapy, lunch and chores at Amethyst, of course. “We could go to the gym, get massages, trips to various places like fishing and horseback riding,” a recent alum told us. Or, as another put it, “Gym, park, yoga and a weekly recreational activity: Water Park, driving range, beach, painting class, equine therapy and air boating are some examples.” There’s plenty of TV time if you like to watch TV, but no internet available. Phone time was restricted and depended upon where you are in the program. “In the first phase phone time was limited due to our focus on our recovery. Then we were able to do more and have more privileges,” according to a former client.

As far as the actual treatment goes, many former residents gave high praise. There are always licensed staff on duty at the Center and doctors are also available “and they were very helpful and knowledgeable." In terms of therapeutic groups, “They did not just offer 12-step, but many different alternatives such as Smart recovery,“ a recent alumnus said. Another told us, “There were three tracks you could choose from: 12-step, holistic, or faith-based,” and “Religion was only emphasized if you were on the faith-based track.” For others, voluntary church service on the weekends is available. There is a lot of 12-step based recovery here, which mandates finding a “higher power” of your understanding. Among the complaints: one former client felt that there was not enough one-on-one therapy; another wished for more yoga and meditation. No matter the particulars, a common sentiment was "the care the staff genuinely had for all of us clients.” One resident recalled that the "most memorable for me was in talking to one of the staff who shared her story with me and I could really relate and it gave me the hope that I could actually live a sober life and be HAPPY!"

With its three programs, Amethyst provides comprehensive treatment from the early days of recovery through integration back into regular daily life, starting with their Day/Night program, the Intensive Outpatient program, or their Outpatient program which is basically sober living with added help transitioning back to independence. All the way through, Amethyst’s goal is to make available help via counselors and staff who are in recovery themselves. Whether it’s the group therapy, the AA meetings or the sober fun day outings, it seems to work for those who complete the program. “I have never enjoyed life more since completing their program,” one grad told us. Another client agreed: “My experience was life changing. I am happy and healthy today.”

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