Denise is a dedicated licensed mental health provider with nearly 30 years of mental health, co-occurring and substance use disorders experience. Prior to joining American Addiction Centers, Denise served most recently and for the past nine years as the Executive Director of Behavioral Health Services for Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. Denise is a proud graduate of Nova Southeastern University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and holds a license in the state of Florida.
Recovery First Treatment Center, Fort Lauderdale
Paying for Treatment
- Insurance is Accepted
- Financing is Available
- Medicare is not Accepted
- Medicaid is not Accepted
Servicing Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding community, at Recovery First we know that when it comes to recovery, no two people are the same. That’s why the same treatment plan doesn’t work for everyone. At Recovery First, our main goal is to offer you freedom from your addiction through a personalized continuum of care. Throughout each level of care, you’ll receive an individualized plan of treatment catered specifically to your needs. You may move through treatment levels by moving from one facility to another. You’ll also find that the curriculum stays the same as you progress through treatment, keeping you grounded in the same main principles. So whether you started in detox at our Hollywood facility or came directly into the partial hospitalization program at our Ft. Lauderdale facility, you’ll be learning the same concepts and ways of thinking. We’re proud to offer our clients a diverse array of therapiesaimed at helping you change maladaptive thinking, work through issues such as grief or trauma, and increase your motivation for positive change. Changing the way you think about yourself and the world around you will increase your chances of lifelong success in recovery. Some types of therapies we might integrate into your plan of care may include dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which helps you learn to alter your emotions and build better relationships with people, or process group therapy, where you work with others in recovery to talk about past experiences. Beginning your recovery is turning point in your life, and often an overwhelming and scary step. We want to reduce your burden and help you relax as much as possible. That’s why we have a number of amenities and features in our programs. From a stocked gym and recreation rooms to apartment-style living, our Hollywood location has just what you need to feel comfortable in rehab. A highlight of our Ft. Lauderdale location is its proximity to the beach. The feeling of warm sand between your toes and the sound of the turquoise ocean waves lapping upon the shore are just a short, five-minute walk away. Our goal is to help you feel as good in treatment as possible so that you can give all your attention to your recovery. our recovery doesn’t end whentreatment ends, and neither does our support. We offer a number of alumni and aftercare groups to help you stay on track and complete your goals. Recovery First offers a number of alumni and aftercare support sessions to keep you motivated and on track. Our alumni program hosts monthly events where you can learn to socialize and have fun with other people in recovery without using drugs or alcohol. You can also come to our aftercare meetings, which are held Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m. at our Hollywood facility, to talk more in depth about your recovery.
Recovery First Treatment Center, Fort Lauderdale Reviews and Ratings Details
The following is based on a combination of Surveys of Alumni, Staff, Loved Ones, and Reviews and Ratings from around the web.
Reviews at a Glance
I can't say enough great things about this place. The staff genuinely care about you and want to help. If you are ready to get clean and learn a new way to live, then come to Recovery First.
There is nothing provided for the weekends. The marketing strategy is good but it doesn’t deliver. They don’t explain the Financial responsibility until you are well in your treatment. They are un...
While the medications they gave me worked for my detox everything else was a disaster. The staff were missing clothes they had washed for someone, the beds were lumpy and uncomfortable, several people...
The thoughtfulness and consideration of the staff was bar none. Their professional demeanor was impeccable and so appreciative when I was at my absolute lowest.
They were more worried about getting the most from insured patients more than helping sick people.
Please if you need help for recovery from alcohol or drugs, don’t go here. All the photos on their website are fake. The facility is old and rundown. The beds are terrible and you have to buy your o...
This place is a joke. They don't care about their clients, only the money. Poorly run, ridiculous administration and rude. Keep looking there are better facilities. This one is a joke.
very good place staff is amazing as well as the counselers
All of the staff were excellent. They changed and saved my life. They for me in 3 months what doctors could not in 10 years. Yoga, classes, medical, staff and administration top notch and in some case...
I have been to a lot of treatment centers, from Posh to state run. Fortunately I was lucky enough to make it back. This is one of the best!!! Dont expect a luxury spa experience. Lol, that is NOT what...
Helped save my life definitely recommend. Individual needs were met.
Amazing. Personable and always there to help.
It was the best rehab I have been to-Staff was great. Leaders.
Meals were prepared and serve by clients to themselves. Organization.
I had a very positive and life changing experience at Recovery First West Palm Beach. The staff was fun and they continue to contact me even after ive come home. I met a lot of good people that I stil...
Strengths: the staff and the groups. Weaknesses: more gym days. when i first got here i was very critical and ungrateful so i thought this place sucked, but as time went by and became more grateful i ...
Strengths:classes, staff, therapists, are the best. Stay positive at all times.
Strengths: Good staff. Weaknesses: tv speakers. I like outside meetings because it introduced me to 12 step.
Group, going on outings were strengths of the facility, but the comunity was a downfall. The tech's were awesome, loved outside meetings, loved the wellness center, loved art therapy.
I did the 30 day program. Singer Island is not a country club experience, but if you participate in the program and cooperate with your fellow clients it will be effective in establishing sobriety. Mo...
Group speakers, especially Jorge. Budget cuts reducing staff at location. Family weekend only once a month and it happened very shortly after my arrival. Website pictures are misleading, but don't let...
The positives: -Their commitment to us to help us though this -the programs offered for us -the facility its self. Some negatives: -the tech's attitudes and understandments -miscommunication. I ...
The instructors. The housing was ok. Needs better housing and food.
My son has been to 4 other treatment facilities. This one was located in a good neighborhood and had senior staff that understood what everyone from the addict to the family was going through
Get complete treatment. All good to me.
Giving believable hope. Low numbers of staff. I had a really good experience and would recommend this place a thousand times over.
This facility saved my life. I am so grateful for this place! When I came I wanted to turn and run (was used to a 5 star hotel like detox) but you can trade anything for the incredible staff. I've lea...
Good staff members. Lack of activitys on weekends. Therapist are a good help along with other staff members.
Good therapist. Don't keep there word on some stuff. It's a good facility very good group sessions.
Staff, professionals, location were good. Communication between staff was poor. The staff, including medical professionals were well equipped to helping me discover myself; my needs were excellently m...
People genuinely care, will help you and really work with you if you want their help. Sometimes the driving situation is frustrating, more staff in recovery would be nice. This place honestly chang...
Good facilatators Property could be cleaner and staff sometimes curse at clents
Excellent groups and proctors Therapist wasn't that hands on Changed my life/perspective
Organized and structured well. Inconsistencies depending upon who is working the shift. If you are willing to give up the drugging and drinking, this would be the place to come. They have a solid prog...
Nursing staff, accomadations, respect from staff Staff did not equally spilt aa and NA meeting. The vast majority of meeting were na... I.e. Only attended 1 aa meeting in the first 14 days of treatmen...
The groups were good. Some of the techs were bad. Changed my life
We can cook our on meals. Some staff are lazy and don't do what they suppose to. I have learned how to humble my self and control my anger.
Decent treatment center.
Instructors are very good as well as the therapists. It's dirty and not well maintained I had a positive experience here at singer island and would recommend it to anyone.
Programs were good. Techs and property were not..
Medical Psychological analysis Diverse programming Willing to meet individual needs were all good features. Food provisions need change Need to do more classes and activities by separating by ag...
Staff member are always available to comfort patients. The staff is really understanding and helpful. Groups are really focused on recovery. They take us to outside meeting. They do alumni once a mont...
Teaching us how to live again, budget, do things we haven't done since we were using. Case manager, alumni and some techs were great Housing could be improved Some techs should put more into their j...
Group atmosphere, alumni meeting, Bethanne, family therapist (Stephanie), yoga (Rita), most staff were good. Disorganized at times, Matthew (facilitator), accommodations nothing like the pictures onli...
Treatment groups, outside meeting availability, yoga massage and gym use etc, beach therapy were good. Accomadations, food program were not that great. Great experience, fantastic community, lots of f...
Good friendly staff
The staff are very helpful in anything and there are great groups and therapist
The amount of tech's, the companionship of the "client"/patients, the friendliness of workers. Organization skills, need to be improved. AAC has changed my life completely, I feel like I have already ...
Great clientel but RepetTive
Clinical staff is amazing. They really care and share experiences with the clients. Tech staff is spread too thin. Med line doesn't run smoothly every night. If you are willing to apply yourself and o...
Needs more extra curricular activities such as kayaking, hiking, and outdoor activities. I have found and learned the tools I need in order to be sober on the outside. I have learned that the fellowsh...
I enjoyed the whole thing, everyone was really helpful, everyone really care
The BHT Technicians the therapists were good. Also the clinical director and the alumni facilitator. the coarse schedule and preparation. Outside activities and some effectiveness of the therapists. H...
The groups were a strength. I liked the facility and I would recommend it.
Good counseling, not enough techs, lack of feedback from techs. It was a good experience for the most part. Lack of communication between the staff on property was frustrating
Fellowship was good, No out side contact as need it. It was a big help in my life
Great experience over all, gives you the tools needed to stay clean and sober but ultimately recover is up to the willingness of the individual.
Case managers are awesome. Tech staff is unorganized and doesn't tell the clients what they are doing until the last minute. Tech's are horrible drivers. The techs at property are unprofessional and r...
There was an environment that allowed for healthy group bonding, a lot of the therapy ended up coming from the men in this program. There were times that the techs were really slow and there were man...
People that care about you. The doctor googles diagnostics. I like how you get your own apartment and get to cook for yourself.
The strenghts that the facility has is recovering addicts to also tell their recovering stories to help clients learn. The facilities weakness would be to get a little more proper training for the sta...
The techs were really good. The doctor left a lot to be desired.The Dr. did not know enough about why I was sick and discounted my diagnosis. I felt not taken care of.
A few caring staff were good but a few techs didn't want to take us anywhere
Overall most of the staff was great
Strong attendance but bad scheduling. Positive attitude . Great tools and great experience
The therapist was good and some of the staff was very helpful and willing to help me also made it possible for me to get blood work done without insurance. Lazy techs were a drawback.
Structure, routine, outside meetings, activities were all good. I had a great experience at this facility. I got used to going to meetings and sharing in groups.
Counseling was a strength. leisure activities and the techs were weaknesses. I feel a lot better
Therapist was good. Communication with clients, and organization needs to be improved. It saved my life
The clinic was awesome, however the techs at the property were horrible. They were Very disorganized, rude and didn't follow through with request. Have the property techs retrained to be organized ...
Making individuals aware of underlying issues that need to be addressed in order to be happy and successful in recovery. The "techs" are often unprofessional and ignorant, handling things insensitivel...
Groups counselors were good but there was lack of communication. Great! Learned a lot!
Unorganized. Boring, incompetent. Don't come
Therapists are great. Resident staff could've been better. It was fun
Great therapy groups and Anna travers is the best!!! Some of the techs need to be retrained. I thought this was a great facility and the therapy was beneficial.
Therapy was awesome, groups were great, everything well done and well planned. This is the place to come to if you want to get better. Has helped me tremendously
Groups are good but Not enough one on one therapy. Suggestions for meal planning, proper eating and grocery shopping skills
Groups were a strength. One and one time needs to be improved. Very straight forward and right to the point. Staff is as well very helpful with whatever you're in need of.
Groups every day are the most helpful. Everyone is very supporting and friendly, and are willing to help you. No health plan. I got a scholarship to Singer Island and it was the best thing that has e...
Great groups and facilitators, Address problems beyond just the addiction Very helpful case managers, Structured day, Good amount of strictness Website is not representative of what the facility tru...
Wholistic therapy, beach, art and music groups. Lots of clients. Warm weather in sunny south Florida
Good support but inadequate housing and not many therapy options Not many accomadations
It is very well organized, the overall condition of the facility is great. The staff is more than fair in all aspects. I can say that it is the nicest facility I have ever seen and would recommend thi...
Need more money for food. Singer Island saved my life. The staff are amazing and the facility offeres the needs of any addict who want to get clean and sober
Staff was a strength. Cleanliness was not. Great Staff
Staff was a good, leisure, outings need to improve. I had a good time/treatment at this facility and would recommend it to others
Enjoyed my therapist, Enjoyed the community, felt like it was my extend family. The staff is more than willing to help you achieve your goal for recovery. Also personal makes you feel at home.
Counseling, Case Managers , Doctors and Nursing Staff, were all strengths. Some of the techs are not nice and have attitudes. My experience was amazing ,I was taken thru this journey and at the end th...
I had the best experience ever and they helped me out tremendously.
Positive staff and counselors, but kinda poor residential place. I enjoyed my stay.
Good counselors and techs. The residence is awful, they lied about where we stayed. I would not recommend this place.
It is a great place the staff really care
Great treamtment center with family focused care.
Staff was awesome. I felt they really cared. Organization and explaining schedule could be improved. Definitely helped me get on the right path to 12 step recovery.
The staff is very personal. They take true pride and care into the clients. Many of the staff were addicts themselves so they could relate to the clients and better understand to tend to their needs. ...
Strengths: Many of the techs are recovering addicts themselves and they share their experience, strength and hope. The therapists are compassionate but also intuitive in that they will see through you...
Strengths: -Coordinated Events -Productive Groups -Safe & Clean. Weaknesses: -Could Use More NA/AA Education Other Then Attending Actual NA/AA Meetings. My first rehab experience, and definetly what...
Groups meetings etc. were strengths of the facility. Techs on duty at night not enough protection. I got the help I needed everyone was extremely concerned and very nice
Strengths: 1 on 1 with therapist group lectures. Weaknesses: housing space medications helped a lot.
Strengths: great staff, amazing BHTs, comfortable living, strong groups and wellness options. This treatment facility has helped me so much in my recovery and has made me more confident about staying ...
Strengths: The groups, the therapists, the staff, the facility as a whole had many strengths. Weaknesses: Understaffed. The structure of the facility made it very easy to learn how the days went, the ...
The meals were fantastic and the amenities were good . Cost was a bit much. This place is an extremely good rehab center.
Im looking for a treatment center for my daughter its deugs shes addicted to. She only has minnesota care she needs rehab fast can u help
Strengths: Beautiful grounds, lovely food, helped me overcome my addiction, clean facility and good staff. It is simply the best there is.
- Individualized Treatment
Some facilities have an addiction treatment protocol that all patients or clients are expected to follow, while others customize or individualize treatment based on a person’s unique needs and circumstances. Factors that may affect treatment decisions include age, lifestyle, medical conditions, type of drug, religious beliefs, etc.
- Family Program
Research shows that the odds of successful, sustained recovery from addiction are far higher when family members and loved ones are involved in treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction often have genetic roots, whether related to substance abuse, mental illness or both. Family dynamics also play a role and, often, family members are the first to realize a loved one has developed an addiction. Also, it’s important for family members to understand and embrace the lifestyle changes that are required to sustain recovery.
- Creative Arts Therapy
Writing, making art or engaging in theater can be deeply therapeutic for people working to recover from addiction. Many facilities offer one or several forms of creative arts therapy as a way to help patients learn to express their feelings in productive ways.
I learned a lot about myself and my addiction.Mohammed
Singer Island has changed my life this rehab give me so much help an educated me on my addiction. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else to try and get my life back.Anthony
The clinical staff was phenomenal the yoga instructor and wellness staff as well.Caitlin
I appreciate the activities that we do on the weekends and the special privileges we get. Some of the staff genuinely care about us. I love my therapist miss Anna, I also like where we stay.Amber
Denise O'Connell - CEO
Richard Seely - Medical Director
Dr. Seely received his medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Jefferson University in 1979 and went on to complete his residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Seely brings nearly 40 of experience as a practicing psychiatrist to his position as medical director at Recovery First. Prior to coming to Recovery First, Dr. Seely practiced at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, working alongside Recovery First CEO, Denise O’Connell.
Armi Gutierrez - Director of Nursing
Armi has served as the Director of Nursing and Infection Control Officer for Recovery First Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale since 2018. She supervises all operations of the nursing staff. Armi holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Arellano University in Manila, Philippines. Her career includes more than 30 years of nursing and healthcare experience in hospital and outpatient psychiatric and substance abuse settings. Before joining Recovery First, she worked as Clinical Nurse for an Internal Medicine private practice primarily serving the geriatric population. She brings a wealth of expertise with strengths in crisis prevention, risk management, quality assurance and nursing maintenance. Armi’s devotion to high-quality care earned her awards for nursing excellence in behavioral health from Broward General Medical Center 4 years in a row. She is passionate about helping others turn their lives around, stating “Working in Substance abuse and Psychiatric and mental Health setting gives me the opportunity to serve the most vulnerable clients who are usually at their lowest point in their lives….Seeing these same patients at the end of their rough journey to being able to manage the challenges of everyday temptations and gaining insight of what they had gone through is truly a fulfilling experience.” She currently resides in Parkland, Florida and has 3 daughters.
This Center is Known For...
- Private Gym
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
- Wellness Program
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
- Ambulatory Detox
- Yes Detox Services
- No Behavioral Disorder Treatment
- Yes Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
- Yes Outpatient Services
- No Sober Living Home
- No Day School
- No Private Rooms
- No Pet Friendly
- No Exceptionally LGBT Friendly
- No Men Only
- No Women Only
- Beach Community
Licensing & Memberships
- Joint Commission
More ResourcesContact Information3100 East Commercial Blvd.Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308
How Our Helpline Works
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the Recovery.org helpline is a private and convenient solution.
Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).
We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you.
Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither Recovery.org nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.
For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page.