By The Fix staff 03/25/11

Marworth is a rehab respected for values as rock-solid as the walls of its stone mansion building. The cops, doctors and others who come here expect progress, not pampering.

Marworth rehab. Photo via
Location : Waverly, Pa.
Phone : (800) 442-7722
Price : $28,000
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : Yes

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Looking down on Marworth from the air, the mammoth former mansion, sprawled across 70 acres on the family estate of a former Pennsylvania governor William Scranton, could be mistaken for Brad and Angelina’s chateau in the French Riviera.  But on the ground it actually turns out to be a comfy and decidedly unpretentious rehab nestled in the rural Pennsylvanian countryside. Founded in 1982, Marworth has never been a destination of choice for Malibu’s nose-candy divas or Manhattan’s pampered trust fund babies. Still, over the years, it has built up a stellar reputation as a successful rehabilitation center for ordinary people who are serious about their recovery.

A roll call wakes up clients every morning at 7 a.m. sharp and is repeated throughout the day to keep tabs on clients. Those hoping to escape the watchful eye of their overseers and find solace in the arms of their peers should think twice about signing on here, as men and women are “extremely segregated,” though casual conversation between genders isn’t forbidden. And be forewarned that repercussions for breaking the rules are steep because of the rehab's widely respected “honor code.” "No matter what rule is broken, there is likely to be a peer spying on another which results in a kind of tattle-tale party," reports a client.

Although the clientele here varies by age, profession and sex, a sizable contingent consists of health care workers and law enforcement officials since the facility offers special programs specifically tailored to treat these professions and they have a contract with New York City unions.

The name of the game here is individualized treatment plans that are tailored to clients’ needs. There are two morning groups after breakfast and two more after lunch that deal with relapse prevention, trauma, and dual diagnosis education.

While clients are initially expected to obey a long list of rules and responsibilities, after a few weeks they move onto phase two and are allowed to attend outside A.A. meetings. (Alcoholics from the area pour into Marworth for A.A. meetings every night.) The staff members here, who are mostly in recovery themselves, are widely praised as well-informed, efficient and detail-oriented.

All groups and services take place in Marworth's stone mansion, where the breathtaking exterior matches the interior—with colonial furnishings, paintings of the Revolutionary War and leather and crochet-topped sturdy sofas and chairs.  Rooms are doubles with twin beds and all contain a desk and closet, with “pieced together” artwork and shared hallway bathrooms. TV lounges are only accessible during the evenings and are the sole media fix allowed since phones and personal computers are not permitted on premises. The wings of the mansion separate the men and women and the surrounding fields and forest; some clients find this relaxing. “I really felt like I was getting away from it all,” reports a satisfied alum.

Marworth offers a variety of serviceable food, recreation and therapeutic options for clients with varying tastes and needs. Typically “heavy, All-American meals like meat, potatoes and corn on the cob” can be substituted for healthier vegetarian or lactose-intolerant alternatives. Their recreation program includes ropes courses, trust falls and “experimental learning” based on recovery related topics (such as group solving and confrontation).

While many rehabs seem to model themselves on either prison or country clubs, Marworth is neither—you’re not likely to find a single masseuse on the premises, but neither will you be submitted to lockdowns or demeaning dressing-downs.  Indeed, the facility’s most attractive attribute is its brisk efficiency and unwavering sense of purpose. Run with factory-like precision, it’s dedicated to educating patients about the facts  and perils of their disease. Which suits most of its clients just fine.

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