OGDEN, Utah — Aiming to provide a more immersive treatment experience for people battling drug and alcohol addiction, a former Catholic church in Ogden has been converted into a rehabilitation center.
Ryan West opened North Wasatch Recovery in the former St. Mary’s church about a year ago in order to provide continuous care aimed at helping people recover and reintegrate into society, the Standard-Examiner reported.
The vast majority of people who detox only will relapse within three months, so the center offers levels of treatment programs as well as onsite living, West said.
“What we’re looking for are clients who will come here, immerse themselves in day treatment, and at the end of that, step down to a night program and we’ll help them find a job,” West said. “They can live here and work nearby. We’ve made incredible relationships with our neighbors who will hire our clients.”
The center employs a staff of 12 to 15 people and has about 24 clients in outpatient programs. About six people live at the center, though the facility can accommodate up to 43 people.
The center provides a more affordable option for those struggling with addictions, West said.
“We don’t ever want to deny service to someone who wants it and is willing to make an effort, just because of price,” West said. “What we have found, though, is that you have to have some skin in the game. We don’t let people just come for free.”
He told the Standard-Examiner he wants to offer “white-collar treatment for blue-collar people.”
On top of the treatment programs and the efforts to find clients work, the center also uses nature to help replace the lure of addiction.
“We really want clients to take advantage of all we have to offer, both clinically and outside,” West said. “So we do skiing, hikes, day trips to Pineview. We’re avid in the outdoors.”
Delaney Colvell, the administrative director for North Wasatch Recovery, told the Standard-Examiner about her own experience with addiction.
“I was raised by a great family, but I had addiction in my family and was never told about it,” Delaney told the newspaper. “So I played loose and fast with drugs and alcohol — and it spirals out. I always call it the gremlin you don’t feed after midnight. It just lives inside you and if you feed it, it grows and grows and grows and takes over your body.”
The church was opened in the 1950s to serve the small Catholic community in Ogden, which like most of Utah is predominantly Mormon.
In 2008, due to the growing Catholic population, a new parish church was built in suburban West Haven, and the Ogden church building was sold, and the stained glass and other items were transferred to the new church.
There are still reminders that the facility was once a Catholic church, including confessionals in the building.
However, West told the Standard-Examiner their recovery programs are not religious, and do not have an overt spiritual component.
Colvell added that “everyone finds their own higher power” when going through recovery.
Crux staff contributed to this report.