Association for recovery residences takes initial steps | Addiction Professional Magazine Skip to content Skip to navigation

Association for recovery residences takes initial steps

March 2, 2011
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Group will take first efforts toward national standards in May

Achieving the first key milestone from discussions that began with three states represented last fall, leaders operating recovery homes have received incorporation papers that make the National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR) an official organization.

Now working on achieving official status as a nonprofit, NARR leaders in May will take a significant step toward fulfilling their primary goal in forming a national association. They will conduct a retreat to take a first look at establishing national standards of operation for the sober residences that have become a prominent but loosely organized component of aftercare across the country.

“We want to establish core standards. We expect to work on identifying six to eight essential skill sets, in a structure like what the [addiction] counselors have,” says Beth Fisher, president of the Georgia Association of Recovery Residences (GARR) and executive director of Hope Homes, Inc.

Since Fisher and leaders from Michigan and Connecticut began weekly phone discussions last October, participation in the discussions has grown and has involved leaders from about 10 states. Other goals for NARR include serving as an information clearinghouse to assist new entrants into the growing recovery home industry, and offering all sober home operators a national advocacy voice.

“We have to have a platform to do some advocacy,” Fisher says. “The NIMBY syndrome toward our homes plagues every state. We’re also often asked to break the confidentiality of clients. We have to have some legitimacy.”

A lack of professional standards governing the services and operations of recovery homes is widely seen as having held back the industry’s overall standing in the addiction treatment community. Only a handful of states have even had state-based associations representing the interests of recovery homes and legitimizing the field; Fisher’s GARR is unusual in that it also serves as an accrediting body for Georgia residences that are committed to professional standards.

The May 19-22 retreat in Atlanta (the working days are the 20th and 21st) will set the stage for the later drafting of national standards for recovery residences. Those interested in participating in the retreat may contact Fisher at (404) 558-1485 or for more information.

NARR also has learned that its first organized meeting as an association will take place on Sept. 20 as part of the 2011 National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD), a conference sponsored by Vendome Group, the publisher of Addiction Professional. On that same day, Fisher will be a presenter for a conference workshop session titled “Professional Levels of Care and Universal Language for Recovery Residences.”

The Sept. 17-21 NCAD meeting will be held in San Diego; visit for more information about the conference.