A child of privilege, Michael Rosen grew up in Bel Air and graduated from Beverly Hills High before becoming a racecar driver. He was handsome and outgoing—and a drug addict. At the age of only 25, Michael was found dead in a hotel room in the Fiji Islands.
Michael’s House opened its doors in 1989 as a mother’s response to her son’s drug addiction and subsequent death. Far from an emotional reaction, though, Arlene Rosen put a lot of thought into the type of treatment center she wanted to lend her son’s name to and pursued the professional expertise to make it successful. Already holding a Master’s degree in psychology, Rosen took courses at other treatment facilities and went back to school to study marketing. She also pulled from her experience living with a drug addict. What she didn’t know, she picked up along the way, growing into the role.
As for the name, Rosen used the term “house” because at that time her two daughters were going through the important right of passage of moving into houses of their own, and she says, “I decided Michael should have a house too.”
In those early days, she traveled from the Los Angeles area to Palm Springs regularly in order to be on site several days each week, remaining very hands-on. While she may have lost her son to addiction, the legacy of Michael Rosen lives on through all those helped by the work of Michael’s House and his determined mother.
Rosen’s goal was to create a program that was less rigid. After watching her son emerge from three stints in treatment still addicted, she knew something needed to be different. Family participation, giving patients the time they needed to come to grips with their disease, and a flexible program that allowed for the needs of each individual became cornerstones of the program.
In 2006, a Nashville, Tennessee-based organization called Foundations Recovery Network (FRN) came on board to help Arlene grow Michael’s House, which began as a 24-bed, gender-specific facility. Today, FRN has expanded Michael’s House to include three campuses with 120 beds that serve men and women in a residential setting. They have also established a separate, thriving outpatient program.
Their unique, award-winning integrative treatment approach is based on extensive research, supports the many facets and needs of the individual, and ensures the greatest possibility of achieving lasting, successful recovery. The current Michael’s House multidisciplinary team includes consulting physicians and psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, alcohol and drug abuse counselors and nurses, all of whom have been cross-trained in the principles and practices of treating co-occurring disorders.