This south Florida program is client-centered, holistic, and provides a safe and encouraging space for treating addiction and building a foundation for recovery.

Legacy Healing Center, which has locations in Pompano Beach, Delray Beach, and Margate, Florida, is an addiction treatment and behavioral health center that offers Detox, PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program), IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program), Outpatient, and a Family Program. The program is client-centered, holistic, and designed to provide a safe and encouraging space in which people can “relax and feel positive about themselves” while they build a foundation for sustained recovery.

Legacy alumni who took our survey describe a wide variety of circumstances that led them to treatment; for example, one alum “struggled with opioids and amphetamine addiction for over 13 years,” while others were there to treat heroin or alcohol dependence. One person checked in because it was clear they needed “to go through detox with medical oversight.” Length of stay also varied from several weeks to several months. Many clients step down through levels of care as their treatment progresses. Each client’s situation is considered individually and their treatment modified as needed.

Alumni describe “A wide diversity of residents,” coming from throughout the U.S. and abroad, “some young, some older. Some with careers, families, nice backgrounds & some that were homeless with nothing at all, and some in between.” One alum felt that everyone was “Pretty cool for the most part,” while another described some of his younger peers as “young punks.” Another appreciated the diversity: “I got to interact with people that I generally would not have hung out with.” The majority of people who came to Legacy “truly wanted to change their lives for the better.”

The gender-specific luxury accommodations all have flat screen televisions and swimming pools. “Legacy was by far the nicest Detox + PHP + IOP I’ve been to,” said one alum. Nearly all clients are assigned roommates. Residents are required to make their beds and keep their rooms and common areas clean, although there is also housekeeping service.

Meals at Legacy vary depending on which program you are in. While in Detox and PHP, a personal chef does the cooking. In Detox, meals are served cafeteria-style. Once in IOP, residents submit grocery lists to staff and prepare most of their own meals. All levels of care have a weekly pizza night, which is very popular.

Clients praised the chef-prepared meals, which provide “a healthy variety and alternative options based on client preferences.” A couple of favorites were chicken tenders, fish, and steak night. Specific dietary restrictions are always accommodated. Most alumni thought the meals were “great!” while one wished for more variety on the Detox menu. For snacks, “Coffee and juices are provided and a fully stocked/ open snack bar was available daily.” Some alumni were not happy that coffee is only available until 10 am.

Daily life in PHP consists of six hours of clinical groups, one-on-one therapy, and a daily 12-step meeting outside of the treatment center. Clients also have access to yoga classes, massages, chiropractor, acupuncture, and haircuts. On Sundays, there is an offsite activity such as getting a manicure, going to a movie, or having a picnic. “They took us to offsite meetings, as well as day trips to the beach. During free time I enjoyed hanging out by the pool.” There are other onsite activities and amenities for residents to enjoy during their free time, such as equestrian therapy and personal training. “We had a personal trainer come once a week, we were allowed to go to the gym 3x a week.” As part of reintegrating into life outside of treatment, IOP clients are required to find employment at some point during their residency.

When it comes to rules and structure, one alum felt “There was a healthy amount of rules,” which “all made sense aside from the phone calls in detox” (phone use is limited while in Detox). Clients differed in whether they thought Legacy provided tough love or was more permissive. One alum appreciated the strict structure, commenting “That’s what I needed at the time and they knew it.” A couple former clients said there was variation between staff members, with some more permissive than others. One person chalked it up to perception: “I am a bit older and knew the ropes. I did not require tough love, but rather a place to clear my head and get sober…. so for me, it was more permissive.”

When rules are broken, staff are “fair” and “professional” in meting out consequences, which always depend on the particular infraction. One alum who broke curfew got a verbal warning the first time. “But the next time, my curfew would be changed to an even earlier time.” For the most part, people followed the rules. Some clients mentioned that when one of their peers relapsed in IOP, “The staff was confidential and handled the situation well.”

Residents are allowed to watch TV anytime during non-treatment hours. Phone use is more restricted: Clients, generally, do not have access to their cell phones unless prior arrangements have been made. For example, one client who was a working professional was given permission to use their cell phone and laptop, “2-3 hours a day for business purposes.” Otherwise, clients’ phone use is dependent on their level of treatment. After Detox, clients can make brief calls to people on their approved contact list with staff present. Then, after two or three weeks, clients “earn” their phone and may use it for one hour a day. The next stage is being allowed to use the phone while at the house until 10 pm. No internet is allowed unless absolutely necessary and approved by staff.

Medical staff were described as “Very helpful” and “awesome, qualified doctors” who “took the time to understand any concerns that I had.” There are no doctors in residence at the houses but clients can see them daily or when requested. Most former clients were happy with medical staff, and a few said they particularly appreciated the attention to medication details and dosage. One alum, however, felt medication was pushed that was “not always necessary.”

The treatment model at Legacy incorporates the 12-step recovery program and the “spiritual rather than religious” philosophy that goes with it. However, 12-step is definitely “not pushed,” and instead offered as part of a balanced approach. Clients are allowed to choose their own outside meetings, including non-12-step recovery meetings.

When asked about the most memorable part of treatment, some alumni focused on staff: “It wasn’t the amenities that made my experience, it was the way the staff cared about clients and the dedication they had to their work.” Others were impacted by “The friendships I was able to establish with other clients that I continue to stay in contact with.” One client was grateful for the life-changing EMDR sessions: “It was a weight of trauma lifted off of my shoulders. I suffer from PTSD and do not have nightmares anymore, and I can sleep through the night.”

After clients leave Legacy, their relationships with staff and other alumni often continue, with check-ins, follow-up calls, and meetings. “We have a Legacy Group chat that consists of many people I attended Legacy with. We check in with each other, share our struggles, our good times, and sobriety anniversaries.”

Most of the clients who took our survey have remained sober since leaving treatment, crediting Legacy with giving them the tools they need to continue on their recovery path: “Legacy provided me with the foundation that I was able to build and grow in my recovery.” Many are thankful for the comprehensive treatment they received, with one alum praising Legacy’s “transparency, authenticity and professionalism.” Overall, gratitude was a common refrain: “I am grateful to be alive, grateful to have my life and family back…as well as my career. I definitely have Legacy to thank for this.”

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Thu, July 16, 2020| The Fix|In Legacy Healing Center

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