Bella Monte Recovery Center

By The Fix staff 07/31/17

Each room in this Coachella Valley facility, which offers individualized holistic 12-step treatment, has a "Jacuzzi tub that pulls fresh, hot, therapeutic mineral water" from their own well.

The outside of Bella Monte Recovery Center, a Spanish style building in the desert, in front of a brilliant sky
Location : Desert Hot Springs, CA
Phone : 800-974-1938
Price : $15,000 for initial 30 days; $10,000 for each consecutive 30 days
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : No

Bella Monte Recovery Center is located in Desert Hot Springs, California, in the now-famous Coachella Valley, just outside Palm Springs. A rapidly-growing and affluent area, the natural hot springs have long been an attraction for those wishing to soak up its legendary rejuvenating, revitalizing and rebalancing effects. In fact, each bedroom at Bella Monte has its own jetted Jacuzzi tub that pulls fresh, healing, hot mineral water from the center's private well.

Bella Monte Recovery Center is a competitively priced, 12-step based, holistic treatment center for alcohol and drug abuse, licensed for 38 beds, even though 18-24 are the usual number of clients at any one time. Their approach to treatment may be 12-step, but it is also individualized and holistic. "Many centers say that they offer individualized treatment, but we honestly do believe that there is no one size fits all approach that is effective for all clients," says an admissions counselor. "Our treatment plans and therapeutic modalities truly are designed for each individual."

Some of their treatment modalities are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Expressive Arts (dance, poetry, music), Somatic Experiencing Group, Meditation, Equine Assisted Therapy, Empowerment Group, Lifeskills, Multi-family Processing Group, Relapse Prevention and 12-Step Groups. Every client gets more than 40 hours per week of individual and group therapy. As part of their holistic approach, they also utilize journaling, to promote insight and self-awareness; massage, allowing for release of stress and for clients to relax in a healthy manner (though this may be at some additional charge); meditation, sauna, swimming (in pools filled with natural hot mineral water), yoga, physical fitness, proper nutrition, expressive arts and recreation including things like trips to local attractions and conventions, hiking, rock climbing, bowling, etc.

Aftercare is also a priority at Bella Monte. They begin to help make an aftercare plan for clients while they are still in treatment, helping to point out relapse triggers and to identify behaviors and relationships that could cause relapse. They have an alumni network and clients are pointed towards local support groups and meetings. There are also weekly relapse prevention sessions while in treatment: "After leaving Bella Monte I had relapsed once more," a recent client confided. "They helped me get back on track by pointing me in the right direction. Since then I have been sober for 21 months."

"My fellow residents ranged from old to young, mostly younger crowd around my age of 18-25," a former patient told us. Another described his fellow clients as, "A mix of middle-aged and very young ones. All backgrounds, levels of income, orientation."

Alumni praised the food at Bella Monte: "Meals were catered and healthy for the most part. We always had healthy options. Even if the food being served was not healthy, we had a salad option at every meal. Always had snacks, coffee and other beverages available at all times.” Another told us the "snacks were on point." There were very few complaints about the food, but someone did mention there was "too much chicken. It was usually always good, but served way too much. Sometimes twice daily." And when asked what clients disliked the most: "Costco pizza on weekends for dinner was the worst," another former resident told us, "but not bad at all," they added.

The accommodations at Bella Monte were also highly rated. Bella Monte offers beautiful views of the Coachella Valley and each room has a nature-inspired palette to create a sense of tranquility in the patient. There are chores assigned to residents, but apparently nothing too tough. "Chores were minimal, but I think a good addition to treatment," a client said. Another provides a good overall description of the daily life: "Daily schedule was breakfast followed by med call and meeting around a fire for a daily reading and setting goals for the day. After optional gym/fitness there were various group meetings followed by lunch. In the afternoon, there were two classes/meetings followed by personal time. Dinner was followed by an outside AA/CA/CA/etc 12-Step meeting. Personal/study time, med call and then lights out. I had two roommates while I was there....There was a weekly rotation of chores with a 'captain' and checklist for tracking completion." Access to phones and the internet is allowed and tv time is permitted. "Those who brought cell phones could use them everyday before dinner. We could watch TV in one of two common rooms after the outside meetings on week nights and more on weekends," said one alum.

The medical care at Bella Monte was inconsistent, according to our survey-takers. The doctors “were seldom seen,” said one client. Another felt they were "not too concerned with overall personal well-being." But not all alumni were displeased: "The doctor came on site regularly. Any needs I had were met." Another found them "Very helpful but sometimes long wait time to see them."

Bella Monte’s program 12-step based and "the way my counselor worked the steps with me was exactly what I needed." Also, alumni valued the camaraderie: "The most memorable moments for me were sitting at the campfire and fellowshipping with clients and staff."

Was religion emphasized? "No specific religion was, just a God of my understanding and I was ok with that," a former patient said. "Religion was appropriate," another relates, "I am a Christian with a deep faith. My faith is what keeps me sober. They didn't emphasize or suppress religion."

Alumni characterize Bella Monte as more of a permissive program as opposed to “tough love.” However, "There were rules to be followed and we followed them like grown adults." Another alum felt the program “was permissive. clients could work at the pace they wanted. I wanted to get sober..." But everyone agreed the consequences for rule infractions were fair. "Rules were clearly defined at the beginning and fairly enforced," another former client said. If there were violations, "It was all discussed at a community meeting and all clients could express their feelings and opinions," a recent grad added.

Overall, the former clients we contacted had a great experience at Bella Monte. "I wouldn't be here today without the help of Bella Monte and all their staff and their program," one told us. Another is grateful for the continuing connection after treatment: "I have been to several treatment facilities and I have never felt a better bond with the people than I had here. I left Bella Monte and many people stayed in contact. I was always able to talk to someone if I needed help and I felt at this treatment [center] they were not just trying to run me through the system. I believe they actually cared about my well being."

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix