OK. So the Salvation Army Phoenix ARC is a free program. So how can it be a ripoff? Well, if you are an addict looking for help with your addiction, you still want a program that will be effective, right? The Salvation Army is a great organization and the ARC programs in general are good programs for those who cannot afford to drop $20 grand on a 30-day program. But if you are thinking of coming to the Phoenix ARC, you best think again. Like other ARCs, it is a rigorous 6 month program involving work "therapy" (40+ hours per week) and an average of 3-4 one hour classes following work. The work covers room, board and the program. A number of "beneficiaries" as participants in the program are called, have filed complaints about the Director of Rehab, Rosemarie Abernethy. "She is the rudest person I have ever met." "She is a tyrant who purposely makes life difficult for those she dislikes while gloating over her handful of favorites." "She doesn't even attempt to get to know any of the beneficiaries, even those who have been there for many months." "She regularly calls people 'liars' if they don't agree with her and punishes anyone who dares complain about her abusiveness." These are a few of the nicer comments about this person.
More seriously, we have received reports of Ms. Abernethy forcing beneficiaries who are seriously ill to go to work under difficult conditions. Also that she regularly withholds medications (even though they are approved by the Salvation Army's Western Regional Command which oversees this facility). Further, she bullies beneficiaries into taking antidepressants or other meds based on her whims and poor judgment. "She is a registered nurse but has promoted herself to doctor. She thinks she knows better than doctors and regularly ignores doctors advice. She's a lawsuit waiting to happen."
The complaints don't end there. Allegations of homophobia, racism and overall unfair treatment based on protected status is all in a days work for Ms. Abernethy. "She thinks that because this is a religious program, she's somehow above the law, so she can get away with picking on Mexicans and harassing gay men who have the misfortune of being sent to her so-called rehab."
Ms. Abernethy regularly manipulates Arizona's already burdensome probation system to force her will. She manipulates reports to probation officers based on her poor judgment. She even attempted to talk the Maricopa County Probation department into giving her cart blanche authority. She couldn't understand when they, thankfully, said no!
Bottom line is this woman creates an unhealthy and unhappy atmosphere for men and women who are vulnerable and at a low point in their lives. I would avoid this particular rehab and ask questions of other Salvation Army ARCs to be sure they have a better program. We hope that Salvation Army leadership will see the light and do something about this woman who is abusing many around her and damaging the recovery of many men and women in Phoenix. Steer clear of this place!