Guiding Principle #1

Effective Addiction Treatment Requires Long-Term Care

The 28-day in-patient program geared toward alcoholism and endorsed by healthcare insurers in the 1970s is a wholly inadequate approach to opioid addiction, but it is often the only model that feels familiar.

Riverbank House does offer that “traditional” 28-day program, but we encourage the long-term residential care model recommended by experts in the field of opioid addiction.

By the end of a 28-day stay, the majority of our guests enthusiastically commit to long-term care of 90 days or more.

The Riverbank House model provides residential recovery services of unlimited duration — with multiple entry points, individualized pacing of independence, a wide variety of residential options and levels of support, and flexible transition timing.

“Remaining in treatment for the right period of time is critical. Research tells us that most addicted people need at least three months in treatment to really reduce or stop their drug use and that longer treatment times result in better outcomes.”

– US Department of Health and Human Services


“Research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate lengths of treatment. Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited or no effectiveness, and treatments lasting significantly longer often are indicated.”

– National Institute on Drug Abuse


“Individuals need to be engaged for an adequate length of time. Participation in outpatient or residential programs for less than 90 days is of limited or no effectiveness.”

– Center For Disease Control


“The best single predictor of post-treatment outcome across all modalities is length of time in treatment. Compared to those with less time in treatment, the odds of positive outcomes at one-year follow-up are five times greater for clients who remain involved in treatment for more than a year.”

– Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network


Guiding Principle #2

Responsible Recovery Care Addresses the Brain Impairments that Can Hinder Success

The very real physical damage caused by addiction is too often overlooked in favor of an outdated treatment approach that is limited to “talk therapy.”

Contemporary research has sounded an alarm: opioid misuse causes acute and lingering neurological changes in the brain.

These changes impair impulse and behavioral control, healthy emotional response, judgment, gratification delay, memory, and the brain’s reward circuitry. Our SOLO NO MORE program engages body and brain in activities specifically designed to address the impairments caused by active addiction. Left unattended, such neurological damage threatens recovery and motivates self-destructive behavior in men.

SOLO NO MORE offers a critical synthesis of cutting edge research with practices proven to promote brain repair and physical healing while helping men develop the skills to maintain lasting health and wellness.

“The Brain Can Recover- but it Takes Time!!”

– The Recovery Research Institute of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital

“In addiction there is a significant impairment in executive functioning, which manifests in problems with perception, learning, impulse control, compulsivity, and judgment. People with addiction often manifest a lower readiness to change their dysfunctional behaviors despite mounting concerns expressed by significant others in their lives; and display an apparent lack of appreciation of the magnitude of cumulative problems and complications. The profound drive or craving to use substances or engage in apparently rewarding behaviors, which is seen in many patients with addiction, underscores the compulsive or a volitional aspect of this disease.”

– American Society of Addiction Medicine


“Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. Drugs of abuse alter the brain’s structure and function, resulting in changes that persist long after drug use has ceased. This may explain why drug abusers are at risk for relapse even after long periods of abstinence and despite the potentially devastating consequences.”

– National Institute on Drug Abuse


“When an addict quits, what’s left is emptiness. In this respect, dealing with addiction is similar to battling feelings of anxiety and depression: getting rid of the problem is only the first step. Once the addiction or the negative emotions are gone, the void needs to be filled with some positive behavior for the change to take root. There can hardly be a better option than physical exercise. After all, this is what we’re supposed to be doing — moving in the world.”

– John J. Ratey, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain


Guiding Principle #3

Responsible Addiction Treatment Promotes Many Pathways to Recovery

Contemporary research in the field of addiction science, particularly in response to the national opioid epidemic, reveals that a one-size-fits-all approach to recovery is not optimal in the treatment of opioid addiction.

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have helped millions of people around the globe recover from alcoholism. When AA was founded in 1935 and for decades after, the 12 Steps were virtually the only means of recovery visible and available to people with alcohol use disorders.

Experts now suggest effective treatment of opioid addiction should incorporate multiple avenues to recovery.

Riverbank House provides exposure to and experience with the 12 Steps through the evidence-based practice of Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF); regular supervised attendance at local 12 Step meetings is a daily habit for members of our community.

The 12 Steps, however, are one of many pathways to recovery honored by Riverbank House.

In response to contemporary addiction science, our program offers exposure to multiple recovery pathways such as Smart Recovery, the resources of the Buddhist Recovery Network, the practice of mindfulness, and an eclectic menu of self responsibility practices.

Riverbank House is the only addiction rehab in Northern New England to actively practice and advocate for the “many pathways to recovery” approach endorsed by experts.

“Recovery occurs via many pathways. Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds—including trauma experience—that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery. Recovery pathways are highly personalized. Abstinence from the use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications is the goal for those with addictions.”

– Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

“No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society.”

– National Institute on Drug Abuse


“We believe that everyone has a right to recover from addiction to alcohol and other drugs and that there is no one path to recovery. There are a growing number of pathways that people across our country are taking on their recovery journeys. There is no one pathway to recovery and the journey can be guided by religious faith, spiritual experience or secular teachings.”

– Faces and Voices of Recovery, National Recovery Advocacy Organization


“Recovery from substance use disorders can be achieved in many ways and through multiple different pathways.”

– The Recovery Research Institute of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital


Guiding Principle #4

Successful Recovery Requires Practice within a Safe Community

An acute care institutional model that confines the patient during addiction treatment does not prepare the person for a real life in recovery.

The Riverbank House recovery community model, constituting an actual small city neighborhood, provides experiential, hands-on, real world practice in the daily maintenance of abstinence, self-responsibility, true brotherhood, and upstanding citizenship.

Residents of Riverbank House volunteer to maintain local hiking trails, frequent the local library, develop career skills with local businesses, participate in local recovery activities, prepare meals for their housemates, budget and plan family vacations to places such as Niagara Falls or camping trips in the White Mountains, rake the backyard, walk the dog, and do the dishes.

Riverbank House men learn to become responsible citizens, respectable neighbors, honorable family men, and loyal friends upon a foundation of accountability, sustained recovery practices, wise personal choices, and therapeutic support that encourage a full transformation of personal identity.

“The Four Major Dimensions that Support a Life in Recovery

  • Health—making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being
  • Home—having a stable and safe place to live
  • Purpose—conducting meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society
  • Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope”

– Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

“Substance use disorders (SUDs) often erode social functioning, education/vocational skills, and positive community and family ties. Thus, recovery involves rehabilitation—relearning or reestablishing healthy functioning, skills, and values as well as regaining physical and emotional health.”

– National Institute on Drug Abuse


“Engagement in health promotion activities which promote personal responsibility and accountability, connection with others, and personal growth contribute to recovery.”

– American Society of Addiction Medicine


“Recovery communities and support services are a critical component of ongoing care for people in recovery.”

– Recovery Research Institute of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital



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