The following are excerpts from the observations and recommendations of professionals in the field of addiction recovery services. Full version are available upon request.
“…you’ve thought this out perfectly. Now I’m wondering why more programs aren’t operating like Riverbank. I’m convinced that if more programs did use your model, we wouldn’t see such poor outcomes. This isn’t hyperbole. I saw the results up close. I believe Riverbank House incorporates every facet that is conducive to long term recovery. I appreciate that you introduce the men to different kinds of on-going recovery supports realizing Alcoholics’ Anonymous is not the only option available. Meeting them where they’re at philosophy is just another way you show respect. I love that the men must avail themselves to sober coaches in addition to sponsors for those choosing AA. It’s all about being connected and you model that so well.
The program is best described by the word Synergy (i.e., the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.) The program covers, from my observations again, the four elements of life: Physical, which refers to our health, diet, exercise and sleep. Mental, which refers to our vocation in life which we pursue through training or schooling to refine the skills and talents that we were given. Spiritual, which refers to the principles in life that we have developed. Social/Emotional, where we need to surround ourselves with positive people, places and things.
I love the concept of the businesses that Riverbank House owns and operates training these young men new job skills. It seems that Randy hears of something a client may need and then it happens, yoga studio, recording studio, certifications, whatever they may need like magic it happens. The environment at Riverbank is very calm comfortable and feels very healing. The homes are fantastic and very comfortable for those that live there. The property is also beautiful with outstanding landscaping, a river that can be used for client activities, and a wonderful livable treehouse. The staff is welcoming and seems like a family, both to each other and to the clients. I could feel the connections clients and staff have with each other. I know as a therapist that healing is helped through relationships and fellowship and I see this happening at Riverbank House. I would not hesitate to refer a client to the Riverbank House for treatment.
I was surprised and thoroughly impressed by Riverbank House staff, clients and programming. This is such a unique and groundbreaking recovery program; focusing on building healthy relationships, truly being a part of the community, building self-worth, and offering opportunities to explore recovery. The staff is knowledgeable and answered my many, many questions, and the clients I met were so great–kind, respectful and engaging. I really appreciated getting to see the different businesses and talking to the guys that work there, hearing that they may have had little or no prior experience and many have now found a skill they are passionate about. I see Riverbank House is truly offering holistic recovery in a beautiful environment.
I’m extremely impressed!! Your Recovery Community is “as advertised” and a true benefit to young men in early sobriety and healing. Not once did I hear anyone giving lip service to treatment or programming. In my presence, your young men walked the talk and it was refreshing to meet so many with passion and purpose. Most who I met had been to multiple residential treatments programs in the past and ALL said they had found an amazing space with you.
It is fair to say the aesthetics of your property are a plus, but they’re only a small part of the beauty that is Riverbank House. Artfully reworked historic homes nestled together and across on the banks of a beautifully peaceful river — if that’s not enough, add your landscaping, rocks, woodwork and treehouse, and it easily puts you over the top. With your housing and properties, I’m beyond impressed again as you allow and encourage your young men to Join In to create & build things lasting and important. This is monumental as You Give them purpose from the beginning on and I don’t know many others who can say the same.
Admittedly, I enjoyed the EXPERIENCE portion of your program the most. You seem to offer tons of experiential experiences from trips to Niagara Falls, summer camp outs, winter ski trips hiking the trails, kayaking on the lazy river, to jet skiing on Lake Winnipesaukee and hosting a BBQ for the community when you’re all done. You offer real life experiences by affording these young men the opportunities to “launch their lives” in your café or furniture shop. You teach skills and trades. You look for what works and what is needed, then you put it in place. Your client wanted to be a personal trainer so you created a gym for your community and the community of Laconia. You had artists & healers come through your doors so you set up both yoga and recording studios to assist these men in reaching their artistic goals. You even created opportunities to enter the crazy field of addiction recovery by helping your young men train and study for their credentials then putting them to work as support staff and peer support.
While all of this is amazing, it’s not the “icing’ on your cake. You ICING IS IN your community. I witnessed the building of a community of younger men who are learning a new level of purpose, love and acceptance. I met men 23 to 40 who said they were learning to be OK and even like themselves a little better today. This comes from your team. You’ve helped these boys to look underneath their issues and challenges and you’ve helped them to find both their purpose and maybe a little pride. You’ve taught and shown them that they are WORTH IT and this is why I think you shine.
At Riverbank House you have residents with varying lengths of sobriety living and working together which creates a social norming environment, which both fosters and encourages recovery because men are able to look to their peers for the skills, tools and behaviors that foster lasting recovery. When you have a young man with 4 months of sobriety working with a person in detox, or another man with 6 months of recovery working with a man with 2 years of sobriety, you begin to see how effective the social norming component is. When you tour Riverbank house you don’t feel you are in a treatment center, rather, you feel at home, in a neighborhood with a community of support all around. If you are considering a long term program for men, I suggest you consider Riverbank as an option. The social norming component is highly effective changing behaviors and leading men towards a life of recovery.
During my visit I was accompanied by several men who are currently in the program. All of them carried themselves with dignity while executing their responsibilities. They all were a pleasure to be with. I had the chance to kayak with one of the clients. He had been in the Riverbank program for three months. He had tried several other programs and now at Riverbank feels like he is part of a family. Since Riverbank also has a music studio he is able to pursue his love of music. He is already a fine example of what the Riverbank staff are instilling: responsibility, healthy self-care, and people skills so necessary for community interaction.
This visit to Riverbank House gave me a sense of hope for the first time for men who had been involved in the Opioid crisis. It is also the answer for men who have been to multiple treatment programs. It is a community where all learn life skills and bring each other along a path of recovery. I highly recommend the Riverbank House.
Why the Riverbank House? It is not a clinical, sterile, lock down setting where residents are isolated from the larger community. Rather, residents are encouraged to learn how to live out their recovery both inside the therapeutic community and the community that surrounds them. Residents shared that a large part of their recovery is not only about learning how to stop addictive behaviors, but also how to live life again within the community. Routine, mentoring relationships, accountability, and time help residents build these life skill muscles that have been idle, while they were in their addictive behavior. An important part of the Riverbank Program is their philosophy that there are “many pathways to recovery,” which encourages residents to be open to new ways of living by participating in meditation and mindfulness, process groups, yoga, 12-Step, SMART Recovery, Relapse Prevention, etc. Continuing education and finding employment is something residents also work on while at the Riverbank House when they have sustained 5 months or more sobriety. There are many employment opportunities and experienced provided: Woodworking, Construction & Landscaping, Karma Café & Art Gallery, Yoga & Fitness Instruction, etc. Riverbank House “places no limit on the duration of stay.” What this means is that residents are encouraged to stay longer than the initial commitment that residents make – some say, “I’ll try it for 28 days,” most stay beyond that initial commitment of 28 days and find that the length is key to their recovery. Effective treatment takes time, because it requires time for healing a person’s whole self – mind, body, spirit. Experts and evidence-based providers are finding that long term care and continued care promotes long term recovery.
I am referring people to Riverbank House. My friend Joyce Sundin visited Riverbank and spoke so highly about your program. Reading your materials, I agree that this is the gold star of treatment programs with its emphasis on a continuum of care and long-term stay. I feel comfortable recommending Riverbank House just on the basis of Joyce’s glowing endorsement and your philosophy confirms my confidence in your programs. I hope your program is cloned in every state in this country.
It was great to see the wonderful work you are doing. I was very impressed with the program and the whole team. Keep up the great work!
The Riverbank House is an amazing recovery program. The first thing that struck me was the enthusiasm and commitment to sobriety of the residents. What you have developed is a sober community that provides fertile ground for those struggling with addiction to have enough education, support, coaching, and time to grow and become strong in their recovery.
I would tell the client that the recovery program at the Riverbank House is unique and special. Riverbank House offers a long-term program for men which I highly recommend for success in recovery. Clients that I have referred are making tremendous strides in their recovery and are happy to have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing recovery community.