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Hazelden: Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment Center: Overview

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Based in Center City, Minnesota, The Hazelden Foundation is one of the world’s largest private non-profit alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers.  It offers assessment, residential treatment, aftercare services, and a family program, as well as publishing and a graduate program in addiction studies. 

The idea for Hazelden was born in 1947 when Austin Ripley, a recovering alcoholic, set out to create a treatment center for alcoholic priests. Ripley's "Old Lodge" in Center City was incorporated in 1949, and Hazelden expanded to treat “curable alcoholics of the professional class."  

Through the 1950s, President Patrick Butler built Hazelden's foundation by adopting some of the working principles developed at another Minnesota institution, Willmar State Hospital, among them, treating alcoholism as a disease that affects victims physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

An alternative to jails or mental hospitals, Hazelden provided a simple recovery program based on Alcoholic Anonymous principles, especially the Twelve Steps, whose aim was to help alcoholics shift from a life of isolation to a life of dialogue. This belief that alcoholics and addicts can help one another achieve and maintain abstinence is the cornerstone of the now standard "Minnesota Model" of addiction treatment.

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Guide Author

Linda Mork

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