If your favorite Hollywood starlet or sports hero vanishes for a few months to seek treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s possible they’re at a facility in west-central Iowa. Mike Vasquez, spokesman for St. Gregory Retreat Center, says they’ve quietly been serving clients from across the country since January of 2007.

“Most people from around the U.S. search us out,” Vasquez says. “The reason most people in Iowa aren’t aware of our existence is we’ve only had 13 people from Iowa over the last three years go through the program out of the hundreds, almost a thousand now. We run vans to the Des Moines airport almost every day, picking somebody up from Maui, Alaska, L.A., New York, all over.”

St. Gregory is headquartered in Des Moines with a 20-bed women’s facility in Adair and a 32-bed men’s facility in Bayard. Vasquez says they use a proprietary substance abuse treatment program that’s not available anywhere else in America.

“We’re really the program where that successful Wall Street investment banker who truly wants to make a change, as opposed to going to a celebrity spa, who wants to go to a place where the research supports what’s going on and is going to pay for it,” Vasquez says. “Or that family in Philadelphia where it’s their 20-year-old son and if they’re going to pay, they’re going to pay for the best, most effective program they can find.”

While the facilities can discretely handle celebrity cases, he says everyone is treated with the same respect and privacy. “We do get the NASCAR drivers, the professional athletes, the college athletes, very successful business people, in addition to people who may have just a good job and great insurance,” Vasquez says. “Because of its success, the program is fully covered by all commercial insurance.”

He says traditional A-A-style drug rehab and alcohol treatment programs only have a success rate of between ten-and-12-percent. St. Gregory, he says, offers an alternative to those 12-step programs.

Vasquez says, “University research has proven the modalities we use, brief intervention, motivational interviewing, cognitive therapy, with about a 65% long-term success rate because we talk to every graduate every week as part of our program.”

He says many traditional programs only last 28 days because that’s a length of time commonly reimbursed by insurance companies, not because it’s an effective time frame. The program used at St. Gregory runs eight weeks, which Vasquez says allows sufficient time to instill and practice the new learning before applying it to one’s life back home.

For more information, visit: www.stgregoryctr.com. By the way, St. Gregory is the patron saint of desperate, forgotten, impossible or lost causes.