The ultimate goal of treatment at Ardú is not just sobriety, but to teach clients how to “live with purpose and passion.” According to alumni, they’re succeeding.
Ardú Recovery Center, located in Provo, Utah, offers individualized treatment for patients suffering from co-existing substance use disorders and mental illness while employing a holistic approach to recovery. Residents receive evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy while availing themselves of the many amenities offered by the center. According to their website, the ultimate goal of treatment at Ardú is not just sobriety, but to teach clients how to “live with purpose and passion.”
Clients come from a variety of backgrounds and seek treatment for various issues related to substance abuse and mental illness. “One of the reasons I loved Ardú so much was because we were all from different walks of life,” said one alum. Another described fellow residents as “Mostly middle to upper class, working folks with purpose, visions, and dreams.” A number of graduates said the age range skewed young (20s and 30s), although there were also a few in their class that were in their “40’s and 50’s.”
Daily life at Ardú is structured while providing some flexibility. Clients start the day with two hours to eat breakfast, shower, and use the gym. “It was nice having some autonomy in choosing how to spend that time,” said one resident. After breakfast, clients attend a morning meditation group followed by process groups until lunch, after which they attend more “group, activities and meetings and therapy,” including “experiential therapy every Tuesday.”
Clients work their way up through progressive levels (phases) as they develop the skills they will need to maintain sobriety after they graduate. As they progress, more privileges are granted. Residents attend community recovery meetings in the evening. Weekends are described as “more relaxed,” consisting of “a couple of groups, lots of activities and fun, plus family visits.” One grad appreciated visiting with family, mentioning his gratitude to Ardú for “The ability I gained as a parent to see my kids through a new perspective.”
Most of those in Ardú’s residential program share a room: “There were 2 people to a room with 2 rooms sharing a bathroom.” Residents are expected to keep their rooms clean and help clean common areas on Sundays.
Ardú has rules and guidelines which everyone is expected to follow. Residents generally report a fairly permissive attitude where they were “treated as adults.” Staff’s way of motivating clients is more “encouraging instead of punishing.” They are also expected to hold each other accountable. If a problem comes up, clients are expected to work things out on their own when possible. Staff are described as being “very well trained at conflict resolution,” opting for de-escalation, particularly with detox clients. One resident described “A very person-centered loving approach.” Others describe staff members as being “very fair” and “professional,” with one resident noting, “They took the time to find the ‘why’ behind my behavior and helped me change the pattern of behavior.”
Clients at Ardú are not allowed internet access and TV is available for viewing after 5:00pm and on weekends. TV restrictions differ for detox patients: “I was able to watch TV often but that was because I was detoxing,” said one.
Regarding phone access, residents attain more privileges as they progress through different levels of the center’s phase system. One alum described a phone “black out period,” during their first week. After that, “Phone use was based on phase work so 2 calls the first week 3 the next then 4 and so on.” Clients can request exceptions to this rule. One person recalled: “I was allowed to call my kids every day I was there.”
Everyone seems to enjoy the food at Ardú. Served cafeteria style, the healthy meals are always “Fresh, hot and delicious,” and described as “Gourmet,” “The bomb!” and “On point!!” with no shortage of variety: “We never ate the same thing twice. Every day was a new culinary experience.” Hearty choices like chicken parm, meatloaf and fish and chips are served as well as soups, caprese sandwiches and one client’s favorite – strawberry chicken salad with goat cheese. For those who have specific dietary needs or preferences, “The cooks accommodated every need.” Alumni also said that “Coffee, sweets, and snacks were available at anytime,” and “The refrigerator was always full.”
Many residents reported the activities and amenities being the highlight of their stay. The center has 2 gyms and a pickleball court. They also offer fitness classes and yoga. Clients have lots of ways to relax, such as enjoying the epsom salt float spa or vibro acoustic lounge. There is also a sauna, an oxygen lounge and a cinema with comfy recliners. Sober softball games are played on Fridays and Sundays.
In addition to the many on-campus recreation options, Ardú makes use of their beautiful Utah location by providing weekly offsite activities with the center’s clinical director. Residents enjoy hiking, sweat lodges, rappelling and a three-day camping trip. “Everything was tied back into recovery and we processed our experiences,” voiced one alum who described the experience as “something different that I have not done in any other treatment center that I have been to.”
Alumni described a very personalized level of care provided by Ardú’s full-time medical team. Dr. Blake, who was described as “one of the nicest caring doctor’s I’ve ever met,” by one resident “was there every day of the week and made us a priority the second we needed him.” Another client told us, “Not only did he help me with my detox and mental health, but he was able to get me back on track with all of my general medicine issues as well.” Patients also said there were “multiple nurses” onsite at all times who were able to handle patients’ needs. One client recalled: “I needed surgery while I was in treatment and that was handled perfectly.” Another summed up the general consensus: “I am so appreciative of each and every one of them and the support they showed me from the moment I met them to my last day at the facility.”
Ardú offers clients access to various support groups in the community. One client’s impression was, “12 step is highly encouraged but not presented as the only way.” In addition to AA meetings, clients are also exposed to Refuge Recovery, Addict to Athlete, and SMART. “A little bit of everything was offered at Ardú, they really helped me find my tribe,” said one alum.
Residents are given the opportunity to attend religious services at their house of worship or meet with clergy if they choose, but the center was not considered religious: “Not religion so much as encouragement to develop spiritually (which Ardú defines as ‘connectedness’) which I loved.”
Nearly all of the respondents to our survey have maintained their sobriety since leaving Ardú. One grateful former resident noted, “I’ve been clean and sober longer than I’ve ever had in my entire life.” When asked about their most memorable moments, many mentioned the 3-day camping trip and weekly outings. Others talked about the program itself. “It was completely individualized and tailored to my needs,” said one alum.
Others will never forget the staff members with whom they interacted: “Every single staff member was supportive and compassionate. Give Jen and Jasi a raise.” All-in-all, former residents were very happy with their experience at Ardú. A client who had been to several rehabs in the past put it this way: “Ardú seemed to be doing something different than everyone else,” and that the program “Completely surpassed any expectations that I had.”