Prescott House

Prescott House

By The Fix staff 03/25/11

The "recovery capital of the Southwest" is home to a rehab where the only drug is testosterone. Those who conquer the high ropes can forge brotherly bonds that will last a lifetime.

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A group of men in front of Presscott House
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Location : Prescott, Ariz.
Phone : (866) 425-4673
Price : $15,000 per month for first two months; $12,500 for 3rd month, $9,000 for 4th month
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : No

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For men navigating the stormy seas of dual diagnosis, relapse or mental malaises, ranging from video game addition to PTSD, relocating to Prescott, Arizona—a remote mountain town pressed up against the pristine wilderness of Prescott National Forest—may be the last, best hope for recovery. Once a dusty frontier best known for a notorious thoroughfare called "Whisky Row," in the past decade Prescott has morphed into the recovery capital of the Southwest: The town is home to a dozen different recovery homes and hosts nearly 200 12-Step meetings a week.

A sprawling frat house that bans booze and bongs but tightly embraces brotherhood, Prescott House draws a group of men of diverse financial, cultural and sexual persuasions that commonly take up residency for five-to-seven months in one of the compound’s 10 four-bedroom houses. Each resident is housed in a private room and accommodations are immaculate but notably modest. Clients are expected to do their own laundry, help keep the premises sparkling clean, and prepare their own meals (though a dietician is on hand to assist patients who require special diets.) Coffee, tobacco and sweets are all allowed.

When they’re not holed up in process groups or in town attending recovery meetings, clients can usually be found kicking back with the rest of the P-House guys at the compound’s central building (a tricked-out hangout complete with a set of pristine pool tables and a massive plasma TV), out back tossing around the football, or on the deck grilling up dogs and puffing on cigarettes. Every so often, clients and staff will hike through the mountains to "enjoy the power of nature" and embark on high rope course challenges.

Just like in a fraternity house where older brothers reign in a position of authority over newcomers, incoming clients are appointed a more experienced “buddy” to supervise their excursions in the outside world. Though hazing was reported in at least one case, when a senior member was pulling pranks on the new guys, the staff work to ensure that the bad apples don’t spoil the whole barrel.

While life as a new resident means following tightly regimented protocol—including a ban on cell phones and MP3 players--soon after check-in, clients are allowed to volunteer at homeless shelters and places like the Boys and Girls Club, have low-commitment, part-time paying jobs (10-20 hours a week maximum) at places like the Y.M.C.A., Wal-Mart and McDonalds, and take classes at the local community college.

Back on site, residents are expected to participate in individual and group therapy sessions (which includes access to the on-staff psychiatrist and doctor) and to engage in weekly “male bonding” sessions like baseball, board games or bowling. Guidelines for recovery are tailored to each client’s personal issues, and transgressions are swiftly met with consequences that are custom-made—and sometimes universally enforced. “Once word got around that I was getting a bit out of hand talking to the ladies at my volunteer job, they cracked down and now nobody can talk to girls,” griped one P-House grad.

Staff try to push the clients in unique ways—“One time, the therapist had me listen to music on an iPod and do an interpretive dance,” a recent alum reports—and the program is long and tough, but P-House grads report that it’s quite effective. Some clients drop out, unable—or unwilling—to endure Prescott House’s extended, intensive approach. But the successful client often discovers that he is a “new man,” and after completing the residential program, is encouraged to look around town for a pad of his own, often throwing in with fellow graduates to embark on a life of sobriety – bi-weekly outpatient meetings at P-House included. And the bonds of brotherhood formed are ties that bind. Three-and-a-half years into recovery, one grad proudly declares, “I’m still in touch with all my P-House boys. I’m getting married, and my best buddy from P-House is my best man.”

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