(AND WHITNEY AND TARA AND KERRY AND ELLE AND DREW)

Six other high-profile clinics
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The Independent Online

For all the coverage of the past weeks, it does not bode well for the long-time viability of a celebrity who, at 31, is already pushing the upper boundaries of age and beauty as dictated by our distinctly unforgiving supermodel-munching pop culture.

One imagines Moss feeling similarly mortified. In fact, if she wanted to give herself a dark little laugh or two over the next few weeks of austere treatment in the Arizona mountains she could do worse than to load up her iPod with a catchy little tune from an LA band called The Negro Problem which sounds as if it was written directly for her:

When she got out of rehab

For the very second time

It was clear that she was painfully embarrassed

She was brimming with clichés...

She was very very very very very very very very very very very optimistic.

But there are compensations. If a public figure is going to do the whole self-examination, self-flagellation, self-help thing, then there are certainly worse places to end up than The Meadows, the clinic in Wickenburg, Arizona, where she is to spend the next weeks hoping to free herself, as the promotional materials have it, "from the pain of the past and move forward to a more enriching life".

The Meadows is nestled in a picture-perfect setting, between the Hassayampa river valley and the Bradshaw mountains, with just enough breeze to offset the unforgiving dryness of the desert sun, with glorious nights twinkling with a thousand stars under a vast and empty sky.

At first glance, it looks a dream-like holiday resort, with stone terraces and perfectly manicured lawns amid cottonwood trees and giant cactuses. Here Moss will have the guarantee of complete discretion, top-notch treatment, and the knowledge that many, many entertainment and fashion luminaries have gone down this somewhat ignominious path before her.

Last year, Elle McPherson checked in here to be treated for post-natal depression. Others include Paul Gascoigne, who finally concluded he had the teeniest tiniest of personal issues with alcohol; Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, also alcohol (and a marriage on the brink of collapse); so-called It Girl Tara Palmer-Tompkinson; former Atomic Kitten member Kerry Katona; actress Drew Barrymore; Whitney Houston (like Moss, reportedly, an overfondness for the white marching powder); Halle Berry's former husband Eric Benet (an addiction to sex, especially with women other than his wife) and on and on.

It is easy to be cynical about celebrity rehab stints, which are often as much about restoring a media image as they are about getting to the root of a genuine psychological or physical problem. Was Michael Douglas really seeking help for sex addiction when he split up with the wife before Catherine Zeta-Jones, or did he just have a movie to sell?

But those in the know say The Meadows is the real deal. And it is certainly no picnic. The place may look idyllic, but it also operates to ferociously strict rules that require the patient to give up nearly every right; to privacy, to choices about diet, to the hours of retiring at night and rising in the morning. Visits from outsiders are strictly circumscribed, which means Moss will not be seeing much, if anything, of her three-year-old daughter, Lila Grace. The treatment depends on the problem, and on the individual's particular make-up, but it can involve anything from scribbling dozens of pages of childhood memories to long walks in the hills around the retreat.

The first thing that would have greeted Moss on arrival would have been a thorough physical and psychological examination, after which she could expect anything and everything, from a rummage around the secrets of her childhood to a careful examination of what exactly was going on inside that willowy body when she shot to fame as the poster-child of heroin chic on the catwalk.

To ease her into the regime, she is likely to be offered the services of a mentor from the clinic's existing patient population. One hates to offer uninformed medical advice from a distance, but it is hard to resist the notion that three square meals a day - if that is what is prescribed - might just do our Kate the world of good.

The doctors and counsellors in The Meadows work from a traditional "Twelve-Step" addiction recovery philosophy, overlaid with hefty slabs of New Age jargon about holistic healing, attacking causes as well as symptoms, and getting back in touch with your inner, innocent child.

"Serenity is about experiencing peace in the midst of chaos," goes the commentary on the clinic's promotional video. A stay at The Meadows, we are told, is about "getting in touch with your own spirit", about meditation and, above all, about the tough choices that need to be made "when the feelings return", feelings, one presumes, that run the gamut from self-loathing to narcissistic self-destruction to straightforward hankering for a hit, or a high, or a hot and heavy bout of meaningless sex with a stranger.

Moss can consider herself somewhat unlucky to have to go through this indignity. It is an open secret - if it can be said to be secret at all - that drugs are rampant throughout the fashion industry. Among those with well-documented addiction problems, past or present, are Donatella Versace, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Moss has herself gone through rehab before. As The New York Times reported this week, certain designers keep "muses" with good drug connections on salary. Models are known to snort cocaine from lipstick-shaped bullets. The phrase, "Do I smell Chanel?" is widely understood to be backstage code requesting a hit of coke. Moss's real problem may not have been so much what she did as the flagrancy with which she did it, and the fact that she got caught. "Her offence was not so much her cocaine use," The Times's fashion diarist Guy Trebay wrote, "as her hubris".

But if Moss can regard her enforced presence in Wickenburg as an unfortunate happenstance, she will find herself in good company. This was once a remote foothill town best known for its horse-riding and its dude ranches. Pia Mellody, now co-owner of The Meadows with her husband Pat, came to the area to seek a way out of her own alcohol addiction back in the 1970s. Soon, she took charge of the budding facility's nursing services and churned out a flurry of books positing, among other things, the existence of a "love addiction" among people who overcompensate for their own deficient self-worth by projecting themselves on to others.

A few years later, Ward Keller, the operator of a hospital services company in Phoenix, brought his anorexic daughter Jena to the mountains in an effort to help her overcome her disorder. He ended up buying an old hotel and turning it into a Christian treatment centre called the Remuda Ranch, these days the biggest single business in Wickenburg. Jena is now Remuda's marketing director. The town has become a veritable colony for the addicted, the compulsive and the simply depressed. And it remains a growth industry. The Meadows has a specialist eating-disorder clinic a few miles from the main 10-acre campus, called Rosewood Ranch. Rosewood's director, Michelle Klinedinst, was a patient at The Meadows in the late 1980s and chose to return professionally after a stint at Eric Clapton's Crossroads rehab centre in Antigua.

None of these places are cheap. Reports of the exact pricing vary, but a six-week stay at The Meadows is likely to cost much more than $1,000 (£570) a day, and perhaps twice that. The clinic believes firmly in continuing treatment long after the initial stint is over, and organises regular workshops and reunions for former patients, referred to as "alumni" as though they were graduates from a college. "Recovery is a lifelong journey," therapist Claudia Black says in the centre's promotional video.

Not everyone in the medical field is impressed with the New Age jargon and dependency culture of these high-end clinics. Over the years, clinicians, especially in Europe, have questioned whether sex addiction, for example, is even a definable thing. They also worry that all the labels - the disorders, compulsions and addictions - do not in and of themselves act as a crutch for a certain breed of spoiled, self-obsessed, vulnerable character type. But in the United States, places such as The Meadows are regarded with something close to reverence.

The kind of person who would willingly check in to such a place clearly has no problem with its touchy-feely language and practices. One newspaper report said at least some of the clinic's patients are released after a night-time ceremony in the desert with a Navajo medicine man, who wafts a white feather in the air to symbolise the lightening of the patient's mental baggage.

One has to wonder how much of this relates to Kate Moss's frenetically unreal life on the catwalk. After she has finished her treatment, will she be able to capture anything close to The Meadows' ideal of serenity in her day-to-day existence?

True, she is likely to be a little less busy for a while. But fashion is an industry with memories almost as short as its mini-skirts. Already, French Vogue has said it would still ask her to guest-edit an issue. And her agent has announced she is on the verge of signing a contract with a prestigious perfume brand.

Will her few weeks in Arizona come to seem like an extended period of downtime, or a real turning-point in her feverish existence? Only time will tell.

* CLOUDS HOUSE

Salisbury, Wiltshire

This is the rehab choice of Robbie Williams and the London Underground (who admitted two staff members for addictions to cocaine and crack). Treatment lasts a maximum of six weeks, followed by onward referral. Treatments promote a "culture and environment in which change is possible", given by a team of psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors. A six-week treatment will set you back £9,200.

* PROMISES TREATMENT CENTRE

Malibu, California

This clinic nestled in the hills of Malibu is popular. Guests have included Ben Affleck, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downy Jr, Christian Slater, Yasmine Bleeth, Matt Perry and Kelly Osbourne.

* PRIORY HOSPITAL

Roehampton, south-west London

One of Priory Group's 15 clinics, this specialist centre has treated the "alleged" drug addictions of Kate Moss and Pete Doherty. Treatment is also available for "behavioural addictions, such as gambling, sex and computing".

* THAI MONASTERY

Thamkrabok Monastery, Thailand

The "Cave of the Teaching" Monastery is run by the abbot Luangpow Charoen and claims to have treated more than 100,000 people since it was set up in 1958. Treatment and lodging are free (donations are welcome) but treatment is intense and involves "withdrawing poison from the body and withdrawing one's soul from the ghetto of darkness". Doherty lasted less than three days.

* SILVER HILL HOSPITAL

New Canaan, Connecticut

Its "medically managed" detox programme has drawn in Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nick Nolte and Diana Ross. Using two main treatments, the addictive disorders programme and transitional living programme,the facility treats dual disorders (drug and psychiatric), as well as eating and psychiatric.

* BETTY FORD CLINIC

Rancho Mirage, California

The clinic that brought the name of its founding First Lady to celebrity infamy. Its patrons have included David Hasselhoff, Johnny Cash, Liz Taylor and Ozzy Osbourne. Treatment is based on learning about the "bio-psycho-spiritual" nature of addiction. A 90-day residential treatment costs £18,500.

Dan McKerrell

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