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Bella Monte Recovery Center

Address : 68111 Cll Las Tiendas, Desert Hot Springs, California 92240

PHONE : 800-974-1938

Official Website

A unique approach to — and setting for — addiction treatment.

By Daniel Vaillancourt
Photography by Dan Eslinger/Kaminsky Produtions

“We’re a loving, compassionate facility that helps people find their purpose and heal their pain and trauma,” says Erin Snow, program director of Bella Monte Recovery Center, a licensed detox and residential treatment for drug and alcohol addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders (Associate MFT #80065). It focuses on treating the underlying suffering that can prevent sustained recovery. “As a result, our clients find a clean and sober life that’s productive, healthy, and happy.” It’s the only such treatment center in Desert Hot Springs, which in and of itself gives Bella Monte an edge. “We overlook the entire valley,” continues Snow, who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University and her master’s in marriage and family therapy from Cal State Long Beach. “We’re above the chaos. There is something serene about that.”

Serene indeed. If Bella Monte looks like a luxurious spa resort, it’s because that’s exactly what the property was in a prior incarnation. “It works wonderfully because there are lots of community areas along with private rooms,” Snow says, adding that thanks to the natural hot springs that flow through the area, “our pools and Jacuzzis — even our bathtubs — have mineral hot spring water that comes from underground. That’s really a healing perk I haven’t seen elsewhere. We have such beautiful views. It’s a great place to just let go and relax.”

Thanks to its medium size (32 beds as opposed to, say, Betty Ford’s 80) Snow and her colleagues — including Clinical Director Coleen McCleery (Independent MFT #F.0000126) and Medical Director Dr. Allison Botwin — pride themselves on the personal attention they can lavish on their residents. “I know each and every one of our clients by name,” says Snow. “They’ve been in my office. We’re all an integral part of each person’s treatment.”

Two other important facets that set Bella Monte apart from the 25 other such institutions in the Coachella Valley are its unique First Responders and Native American programs. The former (staffed with certified first-responder counselors) started with the firm belief that underlying trauma — the chief culprit in chronic relapse in any given addict population — must be thoroughly addressed. Snow and her team realized that first responders are some of our community’s most traumatiVzed members. “Many of them have PTSD,” says Snow. “But they’re in a culture and in a society that tells them, ‘Man up! This is the work you do. Just go grab a beer after work!’ Having feelings and then unraveling due to the horrors they witness on different calls is not ‘acceptable.’ So we started a specific curriculum that lets them know it’s OK if a particular call haunts their dreams every night. We say, ‘Here’s how we’re going to heal that; here’s how we’re going to help you protect yourself going back into the field.'”

The same specificity went into initiating the Native American program. “In working with desert tribes and those around the country, we found that many of our Native American clients living on reservations have undergone some of the most horrific trauma from a very young age,” says Snow. “Here, substance abuse, sexual abuse, violence, and abandonment are generational. The trauma is complex. And no two tribes are the same. So by being students of the culture, and being able to meet them where they are, we can treat the pain that has caused these people to want to numb themselves.”

Beyond all this, the one aspect of Bella Monte that makes it a true desert rarity is its close involvement with clients’ family members. “We have a three-day Family Program every six weeks that focuses on family self-care, healing relationships, and setting realistic boundaries for after treatment,” Snow concludes. “We believe the more family and support involved in treatment, the more likely the client will be successful in recovery after treatment in their transition back into life.”

 

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    Administrative and Clinical staff at Bella Monte Recovery Center.

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    The facility at Bella Monte has two jacuzzis and a pool that are fed by underground natural hot springs.

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    Bella Monte Recovery Center.


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