The Wheelhouse Philosophy
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ABOUT THE WHEELHOUSE
Since 1952, The Wheelhouse has provided free, long-term residential treatment and support for men struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. What the facility's website describes as "bare-bones" accommodations are located in the Southeast, Texas, town of Deer Park. Residents learn and practice the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous while participating in community activities and working locally.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
Men undergo two phases of treatment at The Wheelhouse, during a total stay of about four months. The first 30 days serve as detoxification and introduction to the 12-step program. While a separate room is available for men experiencing withdrawal symptoms, there are no medical personnel on-site.
Residents have no outside communication during this period, focusing instead on connecting with a sponsor from within the facility's extensive network of former clients or other men in recovery in the surrounding community. This initial phase is also designed for "spiritual discovery," in the program's term.
Following a month of early recovery, clients can stay on at the facility, continuing to study and practice the 12 steps, contributing to the residence's upkeep through cooking and cleaning chores, and obtaining a job off-site. The Wheelhouse photographs online show men also participating in various activities designed to develop job skills, including gardening and minor mechanical repairs.
While official Wheelhouse materials and former client reviews use the language of "God's house" and "miracles," the program does not appear to be strictly or explicitly religious beyond the common 12-step concepts.
Both living and treatment staffing elements are covered by men either currently or formerly in the program. The facility's website also references other counselors in recovery, without details regarding training or licensing credentials.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
According to images and information on the facility's official Facebook page, The Wheelhouse is presently located in a building that opened in 2015. Furnishings are simple, but comfortable, and men stay in shared bedrooms with bunks. The residence houses meeting spaces and a full kitchen and dining area and has outdoor seating and eating areas.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
Rehabs.com has yet to receive feedback from this facility's former clients. However, reviews left on Google and on The Wheelhouse's Facebook page were overwhelmingly positive.
A mix of 35 alumni and affiliated friends and family members gave the center an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars on Google. Several commented on their appreciation for opportunities to help current residents while attending on-site 12-step meetings as alumni. Two reviewers characterized the program as life-saving, and one representative review from a former client, Rob, reads: "I owe this place my life. Great place to go if you need help with drug or alcohol addiction."
Likewise, out of 95 Facebook ratings of The Wheelhouse, only five reviewers awarded fewer than a perfect five out of five stars. While submissions may be monitored by facility staff, these overwhelmingly positive ratings generated an average rating of 4.9 stars at the time of this writing.
Again, a mix of alumni and loved ones reported positively on attending 12-step meetings. A related point made frequently was the value of having so many men with success in recovery available to the residents. "The Wheelhouse gave me a life, and the people here continue to teach and show me how to live it," Jeff wrote in a representative review. Another alum, Wade, wrote that he "wanted to leave EVERY day" during the rehab process, but stayed and benefited from "people that truly care and want to see you recover."
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
In contrast with a majority of alumni reviewers, the sole loved one polled by Rehabs.com gave the facility a mediocre review. Asked to rate their likelihood to recommend the program on a scale of one to five, the respondent selected three stars. They gave the same rating for the effectiveness of treatment.
The program's low cost was identified as a strength, along with policies regarding connection with the outside. However, most other aspects evaluated received ratings of just one or two stars, including opportunities for family participation, options for counseling approaches to fit the client's preferences, meals, and exercise and leisure activities. The reviewer noted that the facility offered "no frills" but could be effective for men "who truly want rehabilitation."
According to the facility's website, the first 30 days of treatment are free, and during the remaining 90 days, residents are asked to pay a portion of their income from employment. The center operates with the assistance of private donations, but does not accept government or United Way funding.
Published on February 2018
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