Dumbo is known for being an artist enclave and tech hub, but the vibrant New York neighborhood may now find itself on the forefront of the addiction recovery industry with the recent opening of the nation’s first Phoenix Life Center.
Part of the 50-year-old Phoenix House rehabilitation organization, which operates in 12 states and Washington, D.C., Phoenix Life Center is the first area facility to offer a full spectrum of detox, residential and outpatient treatment under one roof.
But that’s not the only first for the seven-story luxury center that is housed in a former paint factory. In addition to medication-assisted treatment, patients of Phoenix Life Centers focus on their strengths and health and wellness in their recovery efforts.
“We’re trying to get people to reconnect to their natural rhythms,” Dr. Kamala Greene Génecé, the facility’s director, said as she gave Metro a tour last week. “Someone who has a full, comprehensive recovery plan that includes exercise, diet and recreational activity has a significantly higher chance of succeeding in long-time recovery.”
Patients will not only undergo daily seminars, group and solo sessions, they will also have access to a gym, yoga and meditation classes, art therapy, beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline, the ability to choose their own mattresses and pillows and a menu designed by Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Andy Marcellin to help reduce cravings.
“Some patients go into facilities saying they can’t eat any of this, and that can be a trigger to them,” Marcellin said. “In our patient evaluation, we ask them food allergies and preferences.”
Metro tasted a sample menu that featured cabbage with cottage cheese and macerated blueberries, ancient grain porridge with puffed rice and fresh peaches and swordfish with sweet potato succotash and buttered leeks.
“It’s all about keeping the ingredients as simple as possible so they can actually taste the flavor,” Marcellin said. “When it comes to recovery, food and nutrition is key, especially healthy fats and a lot of seafood.” Keeping it simple also ensures that the patient can easily “continue this same lifestyle when they leave,” he added
Rise of Phoenix Life Centers
By 2020, Phoenix Life Centers expects “the majority of our facilities to be Phoenix Life Centers,” Communications Director Ashley Womble said.
The Brooklyn facility, which is called Riverwalk for its close proximity to the Dumbo waterfront, currently has four residential patients. With some floors still under construction, Génecé anticipates Phoenix Life Center will reach 85 percent of its 125 capacity by next fall. It can also treat about 200 outpatients.
The center has been well-received by its neighbors, Womble said. “People really understand that there’s a problem, they’ve seen the news stories about people dying from opioid overdoses, and I think they’re happy there are some solutions.”
Client reaction has been positive as well so far. “Everyone has been giving us feedback on how welcoming it is, how open it feels,” Génecé said. “We are attempting to emphasize that recovery is a positive process and reduce the stigma. We believe that there is no one door to come into treatment, and we believe that if people see we’re going to build upon their strengths, they don’t have to have fear, anxiety or stigma coming into treatment.”
For more information, visit PhoenixLifeCenters.org or call 844-815-1508.