Utah Valley’s mountainscape has beckoned thousands of outdoor enthusiasts to its scenic views, including Richard Losee.
“I’d dreamt of living at Sundance,” Losee said.
Losee, the founder and owner of Cirque Lodge Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Center, said he found an acre of land where he could build. Over time, plans for the land morphed from a personal residential lodge to a wellness center, and finally, to an addiction recovery center.
Losee said when addiction hit a close family member, the family looked through many facilities and other options for help.
Wanting to hit the addiction head-on, Losee’s licensed wellness center in the mountains became an adult drug and alcohol addiction recovery center. That was just over 20 years ago.
While Losee was helping heal people at his Cirque Lodge in Provo Canyon, his father, Richard Losee, former owner of Bullock and Losee Jewelers, purchased the Osmond Studios on 800 North in Orem.
“Dad wanted to have the largest jewelry store in the country and a place to store his car collection,” Losee said.
While other treatment centers were closing, Cirque lodge was expanding. People loved coming to the mountains, Losee said. That was in 2002, about the same time as the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
Losee’s father ended up never getting his jewelry store; instead, Losee bought the old studios from his father in 2003 to expand his business to a second location.
“I could visualize what could be done here,” Losee said.
In the new Orem facility’s first years, Losee was met with a few challenges with the city and some neighbors; one issue included Losee’s desire to use a helicopter to transport residents between the Orem facility and the mountain tops, which is done a few times a week.
“The community is now more accepting,” Losee said. “We didn’t start this for the wrong reason and we haven’t stayed in it for the wrong reason. I’ve been approached to sell it many times and by many organizations.”
According to Losee, the industry is again seeing a reduction in addiction recovery facilities. That means Losee is building again.
“It seems like the right time to build,” Losee said.
Those traveling on 800 North in Orem will notice construction to the front west side of the Cirque Lodge. Losee is building a new three-story wing that will have living facilities and lounge areas.
When Losee got ahold of the original building plans and realized the building had been designed to have a third floor, he decided to add on living facilities and an eating and lounge area.
Cirque offers individualized treatment plans, Losee said. Some residents stay 30 days, while others stay up to 90 days or longer. A few have stayed as long as a year. The new facilities being built will offer accommodations that will be more conducive to longer stays. Currently, the entire Cirque Lodge Orem facility can have up to 200 residents at one time.
The center features experiential treatments including ropes courses, equine therapy, wall climbing, music therapy and more.
Residents also walk, climb and bike the trails in Provo canyon. Losee said enjoying the mountains is part of the healing process and is a big selling factor for residents.
Losee said family involvement is very important to the residents’ recovery. Families are invited every three weeks to meet with their loved ones and to gain tools for when they return home.
“We help families understand it’s a disease and they (the residents) need support,” Losee said
His experiences with residents and their families have given Losee a keen understanding on the importance of having support systems and families willing to adopt tools to use in recovery.
“This is 100 times the best thing I’ve been involved in,” Losee said. “It is also gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, and sometimes people die.”
Cirque Lodge has helped over 6,000 individuals since 1999. The center is primarily a cash pay organization with some insurance being utilized. Last year there were residents from 42 states. They mostly came from California and Utah.
“We are an abstinence-based program,” Losee said. “We’re bucking the trends. We use a 12-step based program from Alcoholics Anonymous. We like who we are.”
When residents reach level seven of the 12-step program, they can do more outside of the center; some go to school or get a job but return to the center at night.
Losee said there are many great stories from Cirque residents. One of his favorites is of a man dying of cancer.
“The gentleman was in his late 70s. He had terminal cancer and when asked why he came to the treatment center, he said ‘I want to die sober,’” Losee said.
Losee has all three of his children, a daughter-in-law and grandchildren all working between the two facilities.
Gary Fisher, executive director of Cirque Lodge, has been with Losee from the very beginning, as have many others.
“My executive team have been with me for those 20 years,” Losee said. “That is such a rarity to be together that long.”
Cirque Lodge employs 127 people and has a number of community outreach programs and service projects.
Along with the professional help, mountain views and dedicated personnel, Losee said he is happy to be in this community.
“We do want to be good neighbors in the community,” he said. “I hope we’ve earned their trust of Orem. This work is so important.”
Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at email@example.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter- @gpugmire