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Clinical support at heart of Boston-area recovery homes

July 10, 2012
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Relationship with service provider is enhancing homes' credibility
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 In a community with a youthful vibe and traditionally strong recovery support, an operator of recovery residences is filling a largely unmet need for safe and sober housing for Boston-area young adults.

Hopewell Recovery Services’ 21-bed Strathmore House for men and 11-bed Lincoln House for women have become favored referral sites for individuals graduating from prominent primary treatment programs such as Hazelden and Silver Hill Hospital. Hopewell executive director Joshua Benton considers Hopewell’s relationship with clinical services provider Beacon Addiction Advocacy Group to be a cornerstone of the post-treatment services it offers.

“We rely on the clinical team quite a bit,” says Benton. “Parents and loved ones trust clinicians.” Clinical services include individual and group counseling and family support; the program has a 12-Step foundation but also incorporates stages of change, relapse prevention and other clinical strategies.

The median age of residents in the men’s house, a remodeled brownstone in Brighton, is 28. At the women’s house, a Victorian home in Dorchester, the median age of residents is 23. Residents typically stay six months to a year, with the first 30 days largely featuring an intensive schedule of group counseling and other clinical services. Residents progress to a daily schedule weighted toward volunteer, educational and work pursuits, and Benton says the setting of individualized recovery and life goals is featured prominently throughout residents’ stay.

Benton says the female residents tend to present with more co-occurring issues in addition to their substance use problems. He characterizes the women’s house as having “half as many beds but twice as much work,” but adds that it is filling a significant void in specialized recovery residence services for women in the New England region.

The programs offer a heavy dose of chores and responsibilities for residents, within a structured environment that also involves three drug tests per week administered by an outside provider that visits the homes. Breakfast and lunch are prepared by residents with food provided by the house, and dinners are professionally catered by a local restaurant.

While the program offers a safe environment and comprehensive clinical support, Benton says the emphasis remains on demanding personal accountability in residents’ daily living. “They really have to want it, and take ownership in their own recovery,” he says.

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