Well, the food is really good. They have a chef on-site that makes lunch and dinner during the week. I was only there for three weeks, but I never had the same dish twice. And it’s all really adventurous, which I found refreshing. It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill inpatient/residential food. We had stir fry, pasta, salads, and wraps, just to name a few meals.
As for meal plans, everyone follows the same plan: 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with three snacks (one morning snack, one afternoon snack, and one evening snack). There are a few individual deviations (some people have an extra snack, others might not have an evening snack, etc.), but it’s all based on your personal needs.
You are monitored 24/7 by a recovery coach. During the day, you’re at the center (and there are usually three recovery coaches, and at night you go home to an apartment (one recovery coach per apartment). At the center, the bathrooms are stalls, and a recovery coach has to unlock them and stay with you the whole time. At the apartment, there are private bathrooms, but a recovery coach stands outside the door and talks to you until you finish.
Every weekday follows the same basic routine:
-Wake up, shower, get dressed and ready for the day. The recovery coaches unlock the bathrooms at 5. Certain days are “weigh days” where you’re weighed before you get showered.
-Breakfast at the apartment. Everyday of the week has a theme. I don’t remember it exactly, but it was something like Monday is breakfast sandwich day, Tuesday is bagel day, Wednesday is cereal day, Thursday is muffin day, Friday is cereal day, Saturday is surprise breakfast, Sunday is bagel day. Surprise breakfast is something the chef creates. It’s usually something like a frittata or omelette— something that can easily be transported from center to apartment and then easily portioned. During breakfast, you do have some say as to what you eat. Every day, you’re given sheets where you mark down what you want for snack (you’re given several options, such as apples with peanut butter, ice cream, banana with nutella, crackers and cheese, etc.) and as a side with breakfast (what fruit you want, if you want milk, juice, etc.).
-After breakfast, everyone in the apartment helps to do the dishes
-Then you drive to the center
-On certain days, a lab technician comes to do lab work. Some girls have it done three times a week, some twice, but everyone has it done at least once.
-After lab work, there’s a group (9-10ish)
-Pre-process. Before every meal (even breakfast in the apartment), you process about how you’re feeling. You give your hunger a number (1 being the most hungry, 10 being the most full), explain how you’re feeling about the meal (anxious, calm, distressed) and then set an intention for the meal (such as to be present while eating, to engage in conversation, to not compare your plate to other plates). If you’re worried about anything in the meal, this is the time to talk it out. If there’s a cream sauce and you’re afraid of cream, this is the time to get support from the other girls.
-Post-process. After every meal you process about how the meal went. You give your hunger a number and talk about how you’re feeling.
After lunch, the individual appointments begin. You have a meeting with the clinical director once a week. You meet with the dietician once a week. You meet with the psychiatrist once a week. You have an individual appointment with your therapist 3x a week, family therapy (over the phone) 1x a week, and then a team meeting 1x a week. And once a week, you get a massage. It usually works out so that you have 2-3 individual appointments each afternoon. There’s a giant white board where the recovery coaches write the appointment schedule, in 45 minute increments. There are two outings every afternoon. They’re supposed to be “therapeutic” (i.e., going for a walk along the lake, going to the bookstore to get something to read, etc.), and it’s nice to get out of the center for a while. There’s a LOT of downtime in the afternoons. So long as you’re not in an appointment, the time between lunch and evening group (4-5 hours) is yours. You can read, talk to the recovery coaches, do arts and crafts, socialize with the other girls, go on the computer, use your cell phone, whatever. You’ll probably go stir crazy— the “center” is actually a large room with several small, adjoining offices. They refer to it as the milieu. There are a ton of couches and chairs, it’s comfortable, but confined. It’s also really cold. They have blankets, but bring a sweatshirt and socks. Otherwise, you’ll freeze.
-During this time, afternoon snack is served. People sort of eat it in-between appointments.
-After individual appointments, there’s an evening group. A few times a week, it’s an exercise class, and depending on what “activity level” you’re granted, you can participate. The instructors do a good job of accommodating all activity levels though.
-Dinner. Each dinner is attended either by a therapist or by the clinical director. This person will then lead the final, evening group.
-Go back to the apartments
-Free time until whenever you want to go to bed.
The weekend is less structured. There are fewer groups and a lot more down time. The outings are better though. Each house gets to decide (within reason) where they want to go. Instead of an hour, they’re 2-3 hours. When I was there, we went to get manicures, to the science center, and to the movies. Sunday mornings they take you to Starbucks and you can order a tall of whatever drink you want. Oh, and every day, you’re allowed two caffeinated drinks (coffee, soda, tea, etc.). Sunday evenings is dining out.
Once you get there, you’ll be assigned to a house (they call them casas). There are now three houses: verde, rosada, and azul. I was in rosada. These are literal houses, that are all near each other (on the same block). The houses are the centers you go to during the day. Each house has a maximum of twelve girls, and you’ll spend all day with these girls. Each house is then separated into 3-4 apartment groups at night, meaning that when you go to the apartments, you’ll share the apartment with girls from your house. Some girls share rooms (doubles), others have private rooms. It goes on seniority. When a private room in an apartment is vacated, the girl in the apartment that has been at OPC the longest gets the room.
If you have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Good luck! Work hard! You deserve recovery!