This year, there is a big movement in Indiana to "accredit" or "certify" halfway houses or recovery houses through an organization known as the Indiana Association of Recovery Residences. The incentive that's being dangled, like the proverbial carrot before the horse, is money. Certified facilities are promised that the State of Indiana will pay for everything from housing ("rent") to transportation for clients to drug tests to payments for those of us who work as recovery coaches with our clients. They will receive this money through a program called Recovery Works.
At Celebrate Freedom, we hope that things allow us to one day become certified. However, there are reasons that we are being more cautious than most of the houses in Indiana...and we'll wait until we're sure that our fears are groundless. What are our areas of concern?
1) Several years ago, another similar grant program offered money. This one was called Access to Recovery, and it caused a lot of shady characters to start homes....because, hey....MONEY. I personally witnessed people dramatically cooking the books to show that more covered expenses happened in their house than actually happened....in order to get more money. To keep these houses operating (and bringing in the money), the organizations would appoint anyone as house manager. If he had 5 or 6 weeks sober--BAM--he was now in charge. Compare this to Celebrate Freedom, where we won't even consider a staff member with less than a year clean and sober...and even that has us a bit cautious.
2) The folks at Hazelden (who run the Betty Ford Center) have research on their website that shows that a 12 Steps program is more effective than licensed counselors at helping a client achieve permanent "never-using" sobriety. Yet the criteria for receiving funds from the State focus overwhelmingly on the licensed counselor rather than the proven peer-to-peer methodology. We at Celebrate Freedom want to make sure that we used evidence-based practices that will work best with our recovery house residents--not just the ones that bring in more money.
3) We want to see how much control Recovery Works and INARR want to have over the facility. Ours is unapologetically a Christian recovery house. So when their Code of Ethics talks about embracing diversity, which we support, we want to make sure that this is not code for saying we must hire people who will contradict our Biblical Articles of Faith.
Celebrate Freedom is not quick to run where the money is just for the sake of money. We have worked to develop an ethical and strong residential recovery program. And we simply want to make sure that nothing that we do which works and that nothing we believe as Christians is com[romised.