Many had the same questions when a British newspaper reported that Kevin Spacey has checked into the same pricey rehab facility as Harvey Weinstein for sex addiction: Is the facility, called The Meadows, a real treatment center? Or a just a desert oasis for celebrities to weather scandals?
People who have stayed at the facility — which can cost up to $37,000 a month — tell TheWrap it’s no joke. Yes, they say, it offers A-list clients amenities like horseback riding, yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture and meditation. But it also helps change lives.
“Pretty much every article written about it makes it seem luxurious. It is not,” said a realtor who went to Meadows for sex addiction and a problem with alcohol.
Added a movie marketer who went for alcohol: “It’s legit. You can do equestrian therapy but on your own time. From nine to five, you have to do the work.”
He said the majority of people during his time there were being treated for sex addiction.
“That’s really what they’re known for,” he said. “Out of the 100 people who were there only 15 were being treated for the traditional addiction. Everyone else was there for either love addiction or sex addiction.”
The Daily Mail reported this week that Spacey was seeking sex addiction rehab as well. The paper said Weinstein has sought treatment at The Meadows.
“It’s absolutely real,” a third former patient who was treated for food and alcohol addiction told TheWrap. “They’re really strict.”
Meals at The Meadows typically consist of a generic salad bar, a main course and a dessert served cafeteria style.
“It was not by any means country-club food,” the movie marketer said. “There was no coffee. The desserts were all sugar-free.”
Guest rooms were not luxurious, the movie marketer said: “I remember not being overly excited about returning to my room at night.”
The realtor said the mattresses were so terrible, one patient had a new one delivered because he couldn’t sleep.
“It was one step up from a college dorm,” she said.
The main draw, according to all three patients, was the facility’s roster of well-known therapists, including Pia Mellody, a celebrated self-help author. The center also has a specialized program for men called the Gentle Path, led by Dr. Patrick Carnes, who was the first to describe sexual addiction more than 30 years ago.
According to its website, the facility “sits on a 14-acre campus in the serene Sonoran Desert” and provides patients with “cutting-edge and personalized treatment programs that address the emotional trauma that drives their self-destructive behaviors and mental health disorders.”
The program includes what’s known as “Survivors Week,” a particularly intense part of the curriculum, in which patients are pushed to confront childhood traumas and play them out in front of others.
“There no escaping it,” the movie marketer said. “You can’t sit back and watch and doodle.”
He said one patient cried so much, his shirt was drenched with tears.
“They put you in small groups of four or five people and you’re forced to relive the most traumatic periods in your life,” he added.
“There were a couple of times I held back on things, but for the most part, the therapists are skilled and are good at spotting what you were hiding from,” the realtor said.
While all three patients described the treatment as rigid, they said some rules were routinely broken.
“When you arrive they make you sign a form that states that you can’t have sex or even masturbate,” the realtor said. “Those who were caught got kicked out. But people were definitely hooking up.”
The Meadows did not respond to TheWrap’s repeated requests for comment.
Two of the three said they had stayed completely sober since checking out, and the third had had brief relapses but has reclaimed her sobriety with help from the tools she gained at Meadows.
“If you go in there to get your wife off your back, you’re not going to recover,” the movie marketer said. “I went there because I was serious — $37,000 was a lot of money for me.”