Prospect House is to alcoholism/drug treatment what WNOP used to be to local radio -- unique, fun, seriously committed to its mission, effective and under-funded. The one BIG difference is that we're still in operation. We have been providing long-term residential drug and alcohol treatment for a third of a century, at the same compact campus in Price Hill, with the same phone number we started with.
We have grown to a total of 60 beds (up from 35 at the start), and we have gradually evolved a more structured and effective program, able to deal with the drug-du-jour as well as the tried-and-true. We were "holistic" before that became a buzzword, and we will be that way after it has gone to buzzword heaven.
We help men with the almost stupefying array of problems they bring with them to treatment: legal troubles, medical troubles, dental troubles, employment troubles---it goes on and on, and yet these problems, so sharp-edged and painful upon admission to the program usually are resolved by the time a resident is ready for discharge, about six months later, or, in the case of the men in our transitional housing component (part of the same campus), about 18 months on average.
Providing long-term treatment to low-bottom alcoholics and addicts compares in complexity to reorganizing a beaver dam back into living, growing trees and bushes. It is one of the most profoundly anti-entropic human activities available. Our joy is to put our men back to work, or into college, and back into functioning families, as effective and honest husbands and fathers, men who can work, and men who can love and be loved. Men who can pay taxes, men who can vote. This is as radical a transformation as any hospital's med-surge floor could hope for-and maybe more so.
And the transformation happens a little more than 2/3s of the time, according to an outcome study we conducted on everyone who came through the program from 1990 to 2000, a study which took 3 men 7 months to complete. So we know that what we do works---the combination of group work, individual counseling, didactic classes, a structured, safe day, maintained by a staff infused with a caring attitude, a staff who are all in recovery.
We don't know anything that other people don't also know. Our "secret ingredients" are three: persistence-sticking with a model that works; time-maintaining a per-diem cost low enough to allow us to continue to be in control of the length-of-stay; and the one-room schoolhouse idea of the "older" residents mentoring and nurturing the "younger" ones, until the younger become the older and the circle completes itself yet again. This way of harnessing innate spiritual generosity is essentially the institutionalization of the 12th step of A.A.. As it has worked well in A.A. for 78 years; so has it worked here since 1970.