About AZ House
There are many treatment centres who help people to overcome alcoholism and drug addiction – there is no monopoly in this industry as the majority of success is dependent on the residents’ commitment and willingness to change.
AZ House is a Residential Therapeutic Community, offering residents the chance to learn how to live in a community, develop self-discipline and become respectful contributors to society, alongside freedom from active addiction.
The fully funded program, which is 12 Steps based, offers residents the opportunity to disconnect and focus solely on their recovery. To begin with, their contact with the outside world is extremely limited and all outside activities are monitored by staff; this strict but encouraging system helps residents to develop a strong foundation. We hope this opportunity to focus so intensely on their recovery, which they are unlikely to have again in this way, will serve them for the rest of their lives. The second stage of the programme supports residents to develop self-sufficiency and to seek employment. Once settled into a job, whilst also reliably maintaining their responsibilities and commitments to the house, residents begin the process of re-establishing themselves into society and become ready to plan the next steps of their new way of life. However, there is no rush to leave house and residents are encouraged to stay as long as they require.
Currently, there are not many treatment centres who cater for the Jewish community, especially regarding orthodox requirements. AZ House offers observant Jews the opportunity to focus on their recovery, whilst maintaining their religious practice. However, by no means does the treatment centre prosthetalise Judaism, we do not believe in forcing people into religion if they do want it. Many residents may not be observant and we are sensitive to this: secular, religious, non-Jewish – all are welcome.
History: The AZ Backstory
AZ House is based on the successful addiction recovery model and philosophy introduced by Jack Mullhal in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1991.
Jack’s driving force was the belief that a chance for sober living should be available to anyone determined to overcome their addiction, regardless of their ability to pay for the help they need. He first opened Freedom House, which has successfully supported addicts to achieve recovery for over 20 years; and several other houses followed thereafter.
Jack’s dream was to create a therapeutic community environment, in which addicts and alcoholics could initially focus solely on their recovery, supported by peers and knowledgeable staff; then progress to develop the skills required to successfully live independently. Finding work and participating in household responsibilities were fundamental to the program he developed. Jack, who got sober himself through Alcoholics Anonymous, put the 12 steps at the center of his program, requiring residents not only to attend daily meetings, but also to get a sponsor and work the steps, whilst also attending facilitated groups.
AZ House was opened in 2016 after it was recognized that there was a lack of free residential recovery opportunities available in Israel. Named after Avroham Ze’ev Olive, a 23-year-old young man who sadly never achieved recovery, the AZ House aims to provide a much-needed service, which has been proven successful time and time again.
How It Works: The AZ System
Part 1 - Initial Stay
Opportunity to disconnect and focus only on recovery
Contact with outside world extremely limited
All outside activities monitored by staff
Restricted for first 2 weeks, need to be with one other resident or staff member at all times
Develop a foundation – first and last time the resident will have the opportunity to focus only on recovery in this way
Time to devote solely to recovery
1-3 months – group therapy and activities. Daily AA meetings are a requirement
Residents have to do shores and maintain campus
Learn to live in community, develop self-discipline
Become respectful contributors to society
Group facilitators run majority of groups
No cell phones
No cash – if allowed, must provide receipts
residents do not hold onto their own medication
Not a police-type situation but must follow the rules
Part 2 - Looking for work
Time to move forward, they begin next step to become self-sufficient
Begin looking for job and maintain responsibilities and commitment to house
Staff available to help but don’t do the work for resident
Help available to become citizen and obtain work permits etc
On days when not looking for work – participate in groups and campus upkeep
Access to cell-phone for employment purposes only
Part 2 is considered a privilege, as it requires being invited to stay for the second part of the program
Go through the 12 Steps – no LFW until done with Steps
Part 3 -Three Quarters
Opportunity to re-establish themselves in community ns re-establish new way of life
Earned by being a good example in the house and deemed as a role model to new residents
Earned after they are able to pay 1st
6-month commitment, but residents can stay as long as they want
More freedoms: cell phone, TV, laptop
Allowed on own without staff
Not required to go to therapy and group sessions, but encouraged to do so – and also facilitate groups.
Encouraged to attend AA and keep contact with sponsor – set themselves up to leave the house.
Create exit plan with staff
No rush to leave house, encouraged to stay as long as required to develop foundation