Arms Acres: Restoring Hope to Broken Lives
Painter, designer and philanthropist Winifred Arms was certainly an amazing woman: As the story goes, her second husband, Robert Arms, was a recovering alcoholic, who was known for his compassion to those who were suffering with addiction and would even bring them into his home.
Ironically, Robert Arms was killed by a drunk driver in 1971.
In the years following his death, his wife Winifred continued their dedication to the cause of helping alcoholics into recovery. She opened the doors of Arms Acres in March 1982. Mrs. Arms died in 1995.
Arms Acres is a 154-bed licensed facility, providing inpatient treatment for men, woman and teenagers suffering from addiction to alcohol or drugs. The facility is situated on a tranquil 54-acre site in Carmel.
Arms Acres is licensed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
Director Patrice Wallace Moore explained, “We offer a multi-disciplinary treatment plan. The team at Arms Acres includes physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, certified alcoholism and substance abuse counselors, social workers, family specialists and activities specialists.”
Is Arms Acres an Alcoholics Anonymous based program? Moore said, “No but the Alcohol Anonymous program is provided. We use the evidence based (program), which is the recovery process of individuals who have both serious mental illnesses and substance abuse problems.
“This service is provided by a multidisciplinary team of specially trained staff who provide individualized services such as case management, counseling, and education and substance abuse treatment. Many people with these two disorders are able to recover and live full and meaningful lives with their friends and families.”
Moore also mentioned Arms Acres’ fully staffed detoxification program where treatments are designed for patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including physical or psychiatric complications associated with chemical dependence.
Cathy Sacer, program director at Arms Acres, said the facility is not an ordinary drug and alcohol institution. “Our facility has a pool and offers equine facilitated psychotherapy and even acupuncture for smoking cession and we have a dietitian on staff.”
Sacer added: “We believe another important aspect of recovery is helping the family as a whole.”
Arms Acers provides 14- to 28-day, 24-hour-a-day treatment programs for men, women and teenagers.
Naura Slivinky, who is the associate director of community relations, said, “this is a family disease and as such we feel family input is a big part of a person’s recovery... I am willing to meet with individuals and families anywhere to assess an appropriate treatment referral free of charge.”
Slivinky also said, “Arms Acres believes the need for family to be involved is key to a patient’s recovery.”
Another unique aspect of Arms Acres is the adolescent program, a 28- bed in-patient program that provides drug and alcohol treatment for teens ranging from 13-18-years-old and their families
Adolescent case worker Mary Baker said, “Teenagers come in with dependence on drugs and alcohol sometimes dual diagnosed with psychiatric issues problems in school, problems with legal entanglements usually secondary to their substance abuse.
“Most of our kids come in resistant to treatment but what we offer them is an opportunity to take a break from using and see if we can help them make some changes in their lives.”
Baker also said, “There is an element of hopelessness in kid’s lives and what we do here is to instill a sense of hope back in their lives where before they had just given into despair.”
The recreation director, Michelle Mormino said part of the treatment is planting seeds of possibility: “Even with the toughest kid if we can just plant a seed that says that there is another lifestyle that they can live and there are other healthy choices that they can take. Planting the seed in the most defiant patient is vital because perhaps they may get it later on.
Arms Acres provides an adept 24- hour professional staff that may seem to go unnoticed by some, but many of the patients remarked on the personal difference all the Arms Acres staff makes in changing their lives.
Several cited specifically Supervisor Dennis Fernandez and his evening counselors, including; Maureen, Clara, Debra and Bob and, on the overnight staff, Melissa, Amanda, Cathy and Ray, to be among the kindest, caring staff they have ever encountered.
Detox and rehab and women’s nurses Erna, Noreen and Ellen are always there to listen and quick to give a kind word to patients who need a just little extra understanding.
One patient said, “And sometimes a smile and a kind word is all it takes to turn someone’s day around.”
Arms Acres also provides a fully staffed out-patient program, as well. It can be reached at 845-225-3400.