They still face the sting of unwelcoming neighbors and the stigma from bad-apple operators in their own ranks, but overwhelming evidence suggests that these may be the best times yet for recovery residences in the continuum of services for addictions.
In developments ranging from Ohio legislators’ commitment of cash to Florida home operators’ rush to embrace standards of quality, sober home operators are changing the language of treatment and recovery. They also are transitioning in many communities from ugly stepchild to bona fide partner with treatment facilities. Continue reading »
Often I am asked ‘where can I find a good halfway house?’ That can be a difficult question to answer these days.
The term ‘halfway house’ has come to mean different things in different parts of the country – for instance in Pennsylvania, a halfway house is a structured residential treatment center, whereas in Florida it might be a transitional residence following treatment. Additionally, the term halfway house tends to be associated with some stigma – there has been much in the news about ill reputed operations and overdoses at halfway houses.
The language used to describe the residential milieu is misleading, confusing, and can have negative connotations.
The good news is the industry has evolved to become far more professional and intentional in its language, primarily through the efforts of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR). What was once known as a halfway house, three-quarter house, transitional house or sober living home now falls under the heading of recovery residence. Continue reading »
There are a vast number of recovery residences, sober living homes, and transitional living programs that are currently operating and new ones open up each day. How do you know which programs are providing quality services? The following questions can help you to identify organizations that are operating at a professional level and following industry standards. Continue reading »
The following comes from the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
A resolution on the importance of recovery proposed by the United States at the 57th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was approved on March 21st in Vienna, Austria. This resolution marks the first time in the more than 50-year history of the global anti-drug regime that the concept of recovery was formally accepted and supported by United Nations Member States.
Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli said: “This is a historic moment. For too long, the recovery movement has gone without a voice in the global conversation about drug policy. Talking about recovery, exchanging experiences and programs, and sharing successes at international forums like the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is a critical part of a public health approach to preventing and treating substance use disorders and reducing the global drug problem. The resolution codifies the commitment of countries to decrease the stigma associated with substance use disorders and to address them like other chronic health conditions.”
Mr. Botticelli further noted his appreciation for the support for the resolution provided by many nations, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and also for the assistance and advice provided by the many American and international non-governmental organizations that were present in Vienna for the CND.
The resolution, entitled Supporting Recovery from Substance Use Disorders, recognizes that substance use disorders can result in chronic relapsing conditions and that recovery support initiatives help to prevent relapse, facilitate re-entry into treatment when needed, and promote long-term recovery outcomes. The resolution also calls for an end to stigma, marginalization, and discrimination against those in recovery; promotes international exchanges on best practices related to recovery support initiatives; and encourages the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to disseminate globally information about evidence-based recovery support initiatives. The resolution, which was co-sponsored by a number of countries, was approved at the UNODC meeting on Friday, March 21, 2014.
In the words of Beth Fisher, Hope Homes Founder and CEO, “This is a big deal!”
Check out this great article written by Shannon Brys at Addiction Professional on our new Loft community in Charlotte, NC.
Substance Abuse and the Criminal Offender
By Sonia Torrey, Counselor for Hope Homes Atlanta
Is substance abuse treatment for the criminal offender worth the time, effort and money?
Research shows that the benefit is markedly significant for society as a whole. Offenders who either use drugs or sell them have the ability to change the course of their life for the better with treatment. Such changed individuals once released from prison can become more productive members of society which also helps to reduce the amount of crime with their changed behavior. Staggering numbers of note indicate the benefit of substance abuse treatment. “In 2007, it was estimated that the cost to society of drug abuse was $193 billion (National Drug Intelligence Center [NDIC], 2011), a substantial portion of which—$113 billion—is associated with drug-related crime, including criminal justice system costs and costs borne by victims of crime” (2). Well then how much does treatment cost? Is treatment a financially sound option? $14.6 billion is the amount estimated for health costs, hospitalizations and government specialty treatment for drug abuse, far less than the costs incurred from drug related crimes (NDIC, 2011). Continue reading »
Women’s Retreat on Lake Alatoona
The Atlanta and Birmingham women’s communities had their annual retreat on Lake Alatoona in Clanton, GA. The weather was perfect! The women enjoyed a variety of activities including kayaking, canoeing, sunset cruising on a pontoon boat, and swimming. They also participated in many recovery oriented activities, among which guided meditation and a 12 Step walk were favorites.
“The residents were active and really enjoyed all of the water activities. They talked about the previous positive experiences with lake activities in their lives,” said Birmingham counselor Adrienne Kelly. “Also, many of the women mentioned that it was the first time they had been on a lake sober or even held a Solo cup without alcohol in it. So for me, I feel like the retreat was an opportunity for the residents to face their fears and it allowed them a safe environment to practice vulnerability and having fun without substances.”
One of the residents said that the retreat “was an important reminder that I can’t do this alone and that I don’t have to. It was a wonderful celebration of recovery. It made me recognize that I can trust and lean on wonderful, smart, dedicated women in recovery!”
As the Outreach Coordinator for Hope Homes, I often encounter a lack of understanding about recovery residences. I recently read a policy paper put out by The Society of Community Research and Action entitled “The Role of Recovery Residences in Promoting Long-term Addiction Recovery” that addressed many of these questions. I have used the information and research put forward in the paper to compose a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” about recovery residences.
What is a Recovery Residence?
Recovery residences are abstinence-based living environments that provide mutual support for three elements of recovery:
- Improvement in overall health (physical, emotional, relational, spiritual)
- Positive community involvement (work, school, volunteer organizations, recovery communities)
“I have more than I want or need. I now realize I should appreciate it more.”
This statement was made by a Hope Homes resident after participating in a service learning experience organized and led by HH counselor Marc Pimsler.
On Saturday, May 11, one of our Atlanta men’s communities volunteered with Kashi Atlanta. Kashi Atlanta serves meals to 500 of Atlanta’s homeless every week. Twenty-two Hope Homes residents, along with HH counselors Marc and Andy, made 150 meals and then distributed the meals at the Peachtree and Pine Homeless Shelter. The men’s community will continue to volunteer with Kashi Atlanta every month.
Marc organized the service learning experience for his residents because he believes that working with the homeless is an important aspect in healing addiction. “It is mere circumstances,” he states, “that separates many in recovery from the homeless that they are serving.” Marc says he learned this from the founder of Kashi, Ma Jaya. “Through service,” Ma Jaya says, “you will realize that you are not the doer, and that God or Love is working through you. Any act of service becomes a state of surrender to something bigger than your ego. In this way the ego is put to rest.”
Marc says he has seen the many residents brought to tears as they serve the homeless. “I have seen with my own eyes the hardened of hearts soften following this intervention” Marc states. “What the homeless give us is far more than we could ever give them.” In the words of Marc’s co-counselor, Andy: “This was a VERY powerful experience for our residents! Well done, Marc!” Hope Homes is fortunate to have such dedicated and passionate counselors.
Some quotes from our residents on their experience:
“It was weird being around the homeless, but now I feel really bad about complaining about anything ever.”
“It was really eye opening. I feel so lucky.”
“I was just one step away from being on the other end of the receiving line.”
And one last quote from Ma Jaya: “You receive the benefits when you serve the poor and the sick without looking for a reward, doing it for no reason or purpose, except maybe the joy that it brings you. Even if your motives may not be so pure in the beginning, do it anyway. Eventually, it will purify your heart.”