More than anything, survey respondents raved about the individualized treatment approach: “It was about focusing your energy toward what was good and positive and meaningful for each individual.”
Zion Recovery makes it clear from the get-go that its approach to recovery is rooted in spirituality and that they are not like other treatment centers. In their unique approach, they consider each participant a “Student of Recovery” whose purpose in treatment is to attain the “tools, education, and spiritual connection” necessary to resolve their issues. Zion strongly believes that combining spiritual-based principles with the traditional 12-step program provides more effective treatment for addiction and mental health conditions than typical treatment centers. Part of that spiritual foundation comes from from the serenity of the canyons found at the gateway to Zion National Park, where the facility is located.
Executive Director Robert Beatty has personal experience with addiction. He built Zion Recovery nine years ago after finally discovering a path to recovery.
“I have a personal knowledge of the pain and destruction caused by addiction,” he says. “I watched it destroy my family, my spirituality and my life. I made a decision nine years ago to turn my life over to the care of God, and get busy living.”
In addition to addiction, Zion Recovery offers inpatient treatment for depression, chronic pain, PTSD, and trauma. They also offer intervention help and other family services. Treatment includes equine/adventure therapy — Beatty is an avid mountain climber himself. They also offer alternative modalities such as Theta Healing and Whole Body Light Stimulation.
Most alumni who responded to our survey entered the program for addiction disorders, with a couple seeking treatment for chronic pain. Fellow patients came from a range of income levels, professions, and age groups from their 20s to their 50s.
“We were of multiple religions, backgrounds and occupations,” wrote one respondent. “We all had occupations and family situations that were unique, yet very similar aspects that brought us here. It felt as if we all gave enough of a damn to show up.”
Some residents had a private room and others had roommates, but dividers were available for privacy. Living areas were described as “spacious” and beds as “comfy.” Daily life was described as structured with many activities available in addition to multiple educational sessions, group meetings, and therapy. Though residents are expected to keep their living areas clean, there were “no chores unless you asked for them.”
Amenities and activities at the Zion Recovery include “Yoga, equine therapy, individual therapy, group educational meetings about the 12 Step Program, Pool in summer months.” One former resident appreciated that there was “Plenty of acreage to be able to be outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery.” They even took a memorable trip to the Grand Canyon, which was “magnificent.” A full gym is available, as well as a sauna and hot tub, plus a pool in the summer months. A trainer is available a couple times per week.
Alumni generally rated the food at the retreat highly. Healthy eating is emphasized, with portion control and minimal sugar. Zion Recovery has a dedicated cook who makes all the meals and snacks “like moms make.” Snacks are always available, from chips to fresh fruits and vegetables. One former resident loved the “crock pot meals” and enjoyed eating with the staff “like a big family.” Another described “world class smoothies,” and while one respondent did not enjoy the pot roast, overall the food was described as good healthy home cooking.
When it comes to phone and internet access, most alumni reported being able to use the phone daily during free time. One alum appreciated a break from their phone, saying “I needed to get away from all that stuff, old friend, Facebook, Instagram, too much drama.” Others said that there was limited access to the internet or that online time had to be scheduled in advance. TV is available for watching in the evenings and in between classes if there’s time.
Rules are described as “common sense” and easy to follow. In fact, more than one alum reported that they weren’t aware of any infractions at all. Those who did noted that staff was very calm and respectful in how they handled it, with small violations being met with warnings. More serious infractions are handled privately between the resident and staff.
“I was never put down or made to feel bad, but I would walk through what I did [and] they helped me to take responsibility and that was just what I needed,” said one person.
Treatment at the center was generally described as more permissive rather than staff taking a “tough love” approach. Alumni described a structured atmosphere where they were encouraged to go outside their comfort zones, but nobody is forced to get better if they don’t want to. “It was about focusing your energy toward what was good and positive and meaningful for each individual.”
There are medically-trained staff on site, and doctors who demonstrated “excellent care and concern” are “available as needed via TeleMed Video chat.” Most respondents rated the doctors and nurses highly, praising them for their understanding and individualized, “no cookie cutter treatment.” Another was grateful and credited staff for discovering a heart condition and saving their life. On the other hand, one client was unhappy with the sleep medication they were given while in treatment.
Zion Recovery uses a 12-step program, and former residents report that although spirituality is emphasized, it is not specifically religious. One alum described it as “Not Religious, but Spiritual, based upon each student’s beliefs and experiences regarding Spirituality or Higher Power.” Those who wanted to attend religious services were accommodated: “Utah is mostly LDS, so church services are offered if that is desired.”
More than anything, survey respondents raved about the personalized treatment approach that avoided one-size-fits-all solutions that had failed them in the past. One former resident was allowed to bring their dogs when they couldn’t find a place for them to stay, and others enjoyed working with Robert Beatty himself.
“Robert is the only one that has been able to actually teach the Steps to me in a way I related to,” wrote one alum. “He taught us individually as needed as well. He does take a faith-based approach, but tailored to each student’s experience with their own spirituality.”
Most of the alumni who took our survey report that they are still clean and sober since leaving Zion Recovery, attributing their success to what they learned while in treatment: “I have such a huge tool-box of sober living strategies I developed during my stay,” said one alum. Another agrees: “Going there was one of the best things I’ve ever done and the tools and inspiration I received there have helped me in faith, family, finance, and fitness.”