October 3, 2005
Early starts and baggy clothes are just a couple of the indignities celebrities endure in rehab at the Meadows clinic, says Chloe Rhodes
A stay at the Meadows, the rehabilitation centre where Kate Moss is allegedly beginning her detox, couldn't be more unlike the picnic in a luscious green field that its name suggests. The patch of land that it occupies in the high Sonoran Desert, an hour north of Phoenix, is remote and arid, and the regime it operates is as unforgiving as the Arizona sun.
The £2,000-a-night centre, which is officially registered as a Level I Psychiatric Acute Hospital, specialises in addictions, behavioural disorders and psychological conditions. Treatment is based on a 12-step recovery programme, which was adapted by Pia Mellody, a counsellor and nurse whose father was one of the first to benefit from the original 12-step system developed by Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Mellody method focuses on identifying and dealing with the causes of self-destructive behaviour, which often means retracing events far back into childhood. It's an intensive process, and a gruelling one. Most addicts stay for five weeks, during which time they work with a primary counsellor, have spirituality and nutrition counselling, and recreational or art therapy, attend small group sessions, lectures and community meetings, and watch educational videos.
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, who tackled her cocaine addiction at the Meadows in 1999, said of the rigorous routine: "We were kept very busy. We got up at 5.30am and would be practising tai-chi by six. Then there was meditation, which was followed by prayers. Each day, I also attended group therapy, saw a doctor, a therapist, a family therapist, a shrink - the lot. They take you apart, like a car, and then put you back together again."
For Moss, who is notoriously guarded about her private life, the enforced group activities and regimented days may take some adjusting to. But peer support and interaction are central to the Meadows's brand of healing, and the clinic's strict confidentiality policy means that celebrities can speak openly without the fear of their demons becoming public knowledge.
This is, perhaps, what has made it such a haven for struggling stars. Two years ago, Elle Macpherson spent time at the clinic when she was suffering from postnatal depression; Ronnie Wood checked in to dry out before the Rolling Stones' current tour, while Halle Berry's ex-husband, Eric Benét, has been treated for sex addiction there.
But its high-profile guests can expect no special favours. The emphasis on group support is so strong that patients often share a room with others; no exception is made - whatever your name.
Meal times are also communal. One patient who attended the clinic for depression, gives an account of a typical lunchtime: "I was eating when a small, bespectacled man leapt on the table behind me and, banging his fork for silence, shouted: 'I am a powerful man in recovery, yes I am.' No one looked in the least surprised, and the whole room answered with great passion 'Yes, you are.' "
The road to recovery is rough, and there's no hint of luxury to ease the ride. The compound consists of a series of low-rise buildings and is surrounded by a high fence, which is patrolled by security guards.
Drugs and alcohol are banned, naturally, but so are caffeine and sugar, and smoking is prohibited except in an area known as "the pit".
There is also a strict dress code. T-shirts have to be loose, trousers baggy, and even underwear must be as utilitarian as possible.
When Kerry Katona went to the Meadows to recover from depression, Palmer-Tomkinson gave her some tips: "You can't wear revealing clothes because of the sex addicts. Instead, you wear big bras, big pants and baggy tops. You're taught to respect others' addictions."
For Katona, who spent much of her childhood in foster homes and refuges, the revisiting of her early experiences was distressing, but vital. "I have poured it out," she says. "They spent several days chatting to me about what might be causing the depression, about my past, my history. They needed to get right back to the beginning to get me better."
If Moss's decision to go into rehab is motivated more by the need to rebuild her reputation than a true desire to beat her habit, and if she is just after a rest and a break from the paparazzi, she's in the wrong place. The Meadows makes no secret of its firm outlook. Its guide for patients proclaims: "We are here to work on the serious business of finding our way to living healthier lives." It looks as if Moss is
OTHER HAVENS FOR ADDICTS
By Isobel Shirlaw
The Priory Group
Where is it? There are Priory clinics throughout the UK, each specialising in different addictions.
What does it offer? A free assessment by an addiction counsellor within 24 hours of your enquiry, during which you can speak directly to someone recovering from an addiction. Based on the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step abstinence programme, you should expect one week of detoxification (medically assisted withdrawal from drugs), plus internal and external group therapy sessions. After one month, the Priory offers a year's free aftercare of weekly support group sessions.
How long do you stay? A month, on average.
How much does it cost? £3,640 per week.
Who has checked in? Kate Moss, Gail Porter and Paul Gascoigne.
Tham Krabok Buddhist Monastery
Where is it? About 80 miles from Bangkok.
What does it offer? A spartan, holistic scheme that focuses on physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation. Tham Krabok is loosely translated as "cave of the teaching", but "cave of projectile vomiting" better sums up the rigorous herbal medicinal detoxification process. Addicts are also required to meditate, take a sacred vow ("Sajja") and adopt a life mantra ("kahtah"). A negative dependence on drugs must be replaced with a positive life goal or religious conviction.
How long do you stay? A minimum of 10 days, but no longer than a month.
How much does it cost? Treatment is free but you must pay your own expenses, £2 per day for food plus a donation towards the running of the monastery.
Who has checked in? Pete Doherty, although he didn't manage to complete the minimum stay.
Where is it? The residential clinic is in Wiltshire, but there are non-residential, community and work-based programmes, and a pre-treatment service in Bournemouth.
What does it offer? Clouds House pioneered integrated treatment - the addict's programme begins with both detoxification and psychotherapy. One-to-one counselling and group therapy are compulsory, along with recreational activities, such as art and dance workshops. Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and reflexology, are also encouraged.
How long do you stay? Six weeks.
How much does it cost? £1,540 per month or £9,240 for a six-week course.
Who has checked in? Robbie Williams.
Where is it? There are several treatment centres in California.
What does it offer? The Promises centres look like five-star hotels. Inside, expect full detoxification programmes, one-to-one counselling, 12-step AA group seminars, physical recreation and holistic therapy, such as tai-chi, acupuncture and yoga.
How long do you stay? A month.
How much does it cost? From £440 to £1,080 per month.
Who has checked in? Kelly Osbourne.
|[Home] [Invitation] [In the Ring] [Library] [Five Precepts] [Directions] [Treatment] [Information] [Monastery Rules] [Tudong]|