The Rich History of Alina Lodge

Every great venture begins with a dream, Ina Travis had a dream of creating a retreat for alcoholics to come where they could work the steps in a relaxed atmosphere. Alina Lodge is the evolved result of that dream. The Lodge was originally modeled after the spiritual retreat/farm High Watch Farm in Connecticut. To build her dream she enlisted the help of friends Al Silverman and Geraldine and Tom Delaney. After Ina’s untimely death shortly after she started the Lodge, Mrs. Delaney assumed leadership of Alina Lodge.

In the early days of the Lodge, people stayed only 2 to 4 weeks; there was a pool and dances on Saturday night. Mrs. Delaney, always innovative, changed the program over the years to meet the needs of people seeking recovery. The stay steadily increased to an individualized, long-term, indeterminate length of stay to treat the “reluctant to recover” relapse prone client. Mrs. Delaney often said that the guests made all the rules. She observed what worked and implemented rules and structure accordingly. Her tough, no nonsense, non-permissive, 12 Step approach to treatment was instilled in the staff . Mrs. Delaney instituted a smoke free policy in 1985 and Alina Lodge became the first nicotine free rehab in the United States. Criticized by many, Mrs. D held firm in her conviction that smoking is an addiction and she wouldn’t allow smoking in her program.

In 1993, after 4 decades of operating Alina Lodge, Mrs. Delaney stepped down as Executive Director and became Chief Executive Officer Emeritus. The search began for a replacement for Mrs. Delaney. Jim Mell, former Family Director stepped in as Director for several years. In 1998, Mark Schottinger was recruited as the new Executive Director to help carry on the traditions of Alina Lodge, as well as updating the Lodge’s services and facilities. The goal was to keep the no nonsense, non-permissive model that had proven so effective and add a multi-disciplinary approach allowing Alina Lodge to treat co-occurring disorders and multiple addictions. This proved to be successful as more people benefited from the Lodge’s services.

In 2008, Michael Hornstein was recruited to be the Interim Executive Director and The Board asked him to make this permanent in 2009. Michael has brought a sense of stability and adheres to Mrs. Delaney’s structural program. Having had that close personal friendship with Mrs. Delaney as an alumni, allowed him insight into her innovated philosophy as well as her understanding for the necessity to change with the times. He brings that with him today which has helped Alina Lodge return to the forefront of the treatment facilities.

Alina Lodge has now pioneering institution in addiction treatment for over 65 years. Building on our history, experience and strength, the Lodge will continue to improve, be innovative yet remain true to its clinical roots.

Ina's Story

Ina Rudolph was a German actress who married Neumar Trevis, an artist and art critic. During the war it became evident to the couple that Nazism was in error. She and her husband gathered as many of their possessions as they could and quietly made arrangements to move to Holland. As the situation in Nazi-ridden Germany worsened, Ina assisted many of her close friends to escape from the country. Ina used a passport that she had “borrowed” from one of her brothers as well as her own passport. With these documents, many Jewish couples gained safe passage from Germany. Each time Ina did this, she placed her life in jeopardy. This kind of selflessness was to characterize her life.

A heavy pattern of drinking began for Ina and she discovered all her efforts at abstinence were in vain. At the sudden death of her husband, she contacted AA, knowing she must recover. Ina was filled tremendous gratitude to all of her friends in AA. In an effort to repay her debt of gratitude, she began working at a sober house as a cook at Ailanthus Hall in Parsippany, New Jersey. After the Hall closed, she convinced Al Silverman, a friend and attorney, to assist her in purchasing a house for alcoholics in Kenvil, New Jersey in 1951. This was the first Alina Lodge, named for Al Silverman and Ina Trevis.

Ina’s dream was to start “a place in the country for recovering alcoholics.” She found the property in Hardwick Township, outside of Blairstown, New Jersey, known as Little Hill. The property was run down and in terrible condition, however, there were over 80 acres, and an old house with a long and beautiful history. Part of the money was loaned to her with unsecured notes from Tom and Geraldine Delaney. This became the new site of Alina Lodge. A small group of trustees and volunteers were enlisted to help run the Lodge including the Delaneys. Unfortunately, the untimely death of Ina from a heart attack shortly thereafter, left the small group to run the Lodge themselves. It was then that Mrs. Delaney assumed leadership of the Lodge.

Over 65 years later, thanks to the dedicated efforts of staff , volunteer and trustees, Ina’s dream lives on.

 
 

Mrs. Delaney

Mrs. Delaney’s first introduction to AA was when her brother Oscar sobered up with the help of Bill Wilson. It was 7 years later, after battling her own alcoholism that she found herself, one of the first women, in the rooms of AA.

“Mrs. D” was a pioneer in the field of alcoholism treatment and was instrumental in the treatment and recovery of many alcoholics and their family members. She inspired thousands of people to regain their lives and to live sober. Through her own example of 50 years of sobriety, Mrs. Delaney helped people come to believe that ‘hope can become fact”. She believed it - she lived it and devoted her life to helping alcoholics, addicts and their family members. She felt that with discipline, structure and “tincture of time”, recovery was possible. Although she was tough as nails, those who knew Mrs. D knew she truly loved her guests. As she said, “I loved them enough to tell them the truth”.

Mrs. Delaney spent a lot of time with Lois Wilson and the Alanon women in the early days since there were so few women in AA. As a result, she became a strong believer in treating the family and developed one of the first in-house family residential programs. She often said the family can undo in five minutes what has taken five months to put together.

Mrs. Delaney was loved and respected and yes, feared by many - there is a large group of alumni who got sober by attending Alina Lodge and yet another group who sobered up when threatened with a visit to “The Lodge”.

Born in Stonington, IL, Mrs. Delaney was the wife of the late Thomas F. Delaney. She received her formal education at Knox College in Galesburg, Il and the University of Illinois. She was honored with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Seton Hall University and has received numerous awards throughout her career.

Over 65 years later, Mrs. Delaney’s legacy lives on at Alina Lodge. All of us at Alina Lodge are grateful to Mrs. Delaney for fashioning a brilliant program that continues to save lives and restore hope. We are honored to carry her traditions and teachings.