By The Fix staff 03/25/11

The Watershed houses clients at two different locations, one a condo-like complex and the other a somewhat more institutional residence. Those who feel they got the raw end of the living-situation deal are consoled by experienced staff and ice-cream machines.

A bird's-eye view of The Watershed's Boynton Beach location. Photo via
Location : Boca Raton and Boynton Beach, Fla.
Phone : (800) 310-6558
Price : $16,000 for 30 days
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : Yes

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Two different campuses make up The Watershed addiction treatment center, one in ritzy Boca Raton and the other about 10 miles away in Boynton Beach. The latter, which resembles a typical massive Floridian condo complex, has 132 beds, while the Boca location (52 beds) looks more institutional—a long, beige, two-story building with a "clinic-y" feel. The Boca campus also doesn’t feature the sizable outdoor pool and the well-equipped fitness center that Boynton has. Rather, it has a brick and concrete courtyard (known to some rehab denizens as "the cigarette area”), a koi fishpond and a small gym with workout machines. Both locations have the same schedule and food.

All clients are initially treated at an on-site detox that “could be mistaken for a smaller version of the Pentagon” until they are stabilized and can do without detox meds. The facility features double rooms with private bathrooms and blue or beige walls (some hung with pictures), which reminded one person who detoxed here of a 1950s-era psych ward. But patients aren't confined to the area: While detoxing, they still can participate in treatment and attend groups, as well as eat in the dining hall with everyone else.

At Boynton, where men and women occupy different floors of the building, the standard sleeping room is a double with a private bathroom; TVs are in the common areas. At Boca, the in-house refrigerator is filled with snacks like fruit and peanut butter, but full meals are served in an enormous high school-like cafeteria. The kitchen staff at both locations are run by chefs who serve up themed day-of-the-week meals like Turkey Tuesday and Waffle Wednesday. Though some of The Watershed's diverse alumni deride the rehab’s hot meals as “mundane and mediocre,” the daily salad bar and soft-serve ice-cream machine win major kudos.

Facility techs wake clients promptly at 7am on weekdays. Following a hearty breakfast and client-run morning group, patients are expected to show up at their primary therapy group exactly at 9:30am. Despite the fact that groups are kept at a maximum of 10 clients so that no one feels overlooked, “people definitely get lost in the shuffle,” reports a clinician who’s dealt with the facility. Hour-and-a-half-long, gender-specific groups are reportedly the “best thing” about the place. Since the facility specializes in dual-diagnosis disorders as well as trauma and grief, clients spend almost every free hour in specific therapy groups mandated by their primary therapists. Daily groups are dedicated to topics ranging from anger management and chronic relapse to grief, loss and anxiety reduction, along with bi-weekly psycho-educational lectures.

Like many much-pricier rehabs in the area, The Watershed offers full medical detox and psychotropic medication management, intensive education about alcoholism and addiction, and individual counseling services. And, though you won't find such au courant treatments as massage, acupuncture or equine therapy here, the rehab does offer activities like yoga, Zumba and daily pool and gym time. Eschewing some of the more gourmet “cures” offered by more fanciful facilities, The Watershed is happy to remain a meat-and-potatoes kind of place.

On weekends, clients add a little spice to their lives, starting with Friday game nights that feature Monopoly and Twister, while Saturday evenings are reserved for movies and a much-anticipated monthly talent show. Every Sunday, drivers transport residents to outside 12-step meetings as well as to the park and a nearby beach. Most Watershed clients give high marks to the staff, who collectively have decades of experience in the field of addiction and recovery. With so many area rehabs to choose from, The Watershed is definitely a place to check out—especially for those who are partial to tropical temperatures and old-school diversions like board games and talent competitions.

Considering other options? View the top rated rehab centers in the nation

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