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Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation was formed in 2015 based on an idea the writer of this narrative co-founder Robert Bedford envisioned. I believed that the “Brain Disease” of Substance Use Disorders (SUDS) must be addressed on a longer continuum of treatment than currently existed through community based treatment and support. To achieve this vision one thing was certain the Myths, Stigma, and Discrimination associated with SUDS, Co-existing disorders, and community based support programs must be addressed and removed from our communities. Co-Founders Dr. John Synder and Myself discussed this vision and identified the two key components we believed necessary to achieve our goal. First, a solid community of certified recovery houses that could add to the current treatment model of inpatient and outpatient Drug and Alcohol treatment facilities, community based support programs, and sober living homes. Second, a comprehensive education and referral network designed to present information to families and their communities about the nature of Substance Use Disorders and the responses available that break down barriers to seeking treatment and long term recovery.

To address the first component the Co-Founders and a group of Montgomery County recovery home owners had a series of meetings and exchanged ideas on our vision. From these meetings The Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation's Recovery Residence Compliance and Certification Manual was developed. The manual is designed to structure a recovery residence that will to dispel myths associated with recovery residences and break down barriers to opening them that arise from current community zoning practices. These current practices prevent the development of well managed “family style” recovery residences from opening in common residential areas of communities. Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation uses the Compliance and Certification manual in testimony at zoning board hearings to establish the case for change in practices that stop variances from being approved for recovery residences in R1 and R2 residential zoning. We believe the relationships formed and the final results of these meetings demonstrate how Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation could serve as an example of how recovery home owners, treatment providers, non profit organizations, and their communities could become actively involved and work together to seek a solution for long term recovery from SUDS.

We do not receive any monies from recovery residence owners for this advocacy work. Any financial needs in accomplishing our vision are maintained through our non profit 501(c)(3) donations toward our mission and the volunteer staff of professionals that accomplish our mission. Our relationship with recovery home owners is solely to help them establish and hold them openly accountable to a higher standard of excellence in the recovery residence community and the communities they serve. We refer residents only to recovery residences that agree to the quality and standards outlined in our manual. We will fund a referral for up to two weeks for any recovery residence that is certified by the certification process outlined in our Compliance Manual. We look to a future when all recovery homes are certified and held accountable to a set of standards equal to or higher then those we have established. We continue to improve our mission and vision by having discussions on inspection procedures and compliance standards with Recovery Community Organizations, State Officials, and other recovery home owners across the State in an advisory capacity. We hope to one day assist in the creation of a fully self funded certification and inspection process supported by State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and State government using our success as a template for the future. We believe our efforts will sustain our vision and assure that every individual seeking recovery from SUDS and Co-existing Disorders receives the highest standard of support and continuous treatment available within their communities.

To address the second component of our vision we have developed education and resource programs we believe stand on their own merit. These programs present information about Substance Use Disorders (SUDS) and the resources available at professional, mutual aid group, and community service levels of recovery support. These programs serve in the effort to eradicate this major health crisis from our communities. Our education efforts present the concept that SUDS is a “Brain Disease” and the hard scientific evidence that supports this concept. We further explain how the concept of “Brain Disease” affects the whole family in the attempt to reduce stigma and offering the family an opportunity to recover together. We bring this education to the general community in our efforts to demonstrate how the whole community is effected. We believe these efforts assists us in the attempt to dispel myths that prevent many individuals and their communities from seeking treatment solutions to this serous health crisis. We connect the individuals and their families suffering from SUDS to professional and community resources that can significantly increase their opportunity and probability of long term recovery. We assist in developing recovery residence programs that provide the residents with financial aid for residency, properly balanced nutritional meals, and basic life and social skills that increase the probability of a successful recovery residence experience. In short, we attempt to show the value of “family style” certified recovery residences in the development of long term community supported treatment options. This effort ensures the highest probability of achieving the quality of life necessary that increases a recovering persons motivation to remain engaged in recovery.

To maximize the impact of our efforts we collaborate with other Non-Profit Organizations and local political representatives exclusively for support of our educational, occupational, and charitable efforts to fulfill our vision. We do not solicit, request, or campaign for any political cause or election. Our relationship with State and local political figures is an effort to increase their awareness of the health crisis SUDS has created and the community and statewide responses being organized to address the crisis. We believe the connections we are creating by educating our communities, creating community based occupational opportunities, and our charitable fund raising efforts will become the stepping stones to dispelling the myths and stigmas associated with SUDS, recovery residences, and the people who suffer from these disorders.

We are a Non Profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and everyone who is involved with Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation internally or outside the organization serve one common purpose. We dedicate our efforts to see the health crisis of Substance Use Disorders and the Myths that create the Stigma associated with the disorders eradicated from our communities. Everyone in the organization is a volunteer. We have no paid persons on our “staff”. The future of our organization depends on fund raising efforts, donations, and grants to continue the programs in our communities. Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation will continue to expand on our education programs and continue to improve on our compliance and certification manual for recovery residences to be certified by us throughout the State. We will continue to raise monies to scholarship any person seeking recovery that can not afford to pay for a certified recovery residence. We believe our work with communities and their Zoning Boards Statewide will create a standard in recovery residences that will allow them to exist in any residential community in the State without prejudice per the Americans With Disabilities Fair Housing Act. We will continue to sponsor events in our effort to increase awareness that recovery from SUDS does take place and that people in recovery from SUDS have a place in all residential communities. We will continue to develop a Statewide plan toward our vision of developing long term recovery housing for all who seek recovery one community at a time. SPIRITUAL TRANSITIONS located in Southwestern Bucks County PA is the first recovery residence specifically designed for individuals with the dual condition of Substance Use and Co-existing disorders. Residents taking medications restricted in most standard recovery residence can reside here due to the structure of the program and design of the residence. Residents with just SUDS can and do reside and recover together in this long term recovery residence program.

© 2018 Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation





The mission of Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation is to address Substance Use Disorders within our communities. We strive to alter the views toward individuals who suffer from Substance Use Disorders which leads to the stigma, prejudice, and shame that prevents many of these individuals and their families from seeking treatment. We accomplish our mission through Free family and community education programs that provide hard scientific evidence about Substance Use Disorders as a “Brain Disease”. We also assist in the development of recovery residences that emphasize the importance of a family home recovery environment as a key component of recovery using Family Systems Theory in the structure of the recovery residence. We work to dispel myths that lead to discrimination and resistance toward developing “Family Style” recovery residences in common residential communities. NIMBY “Not In My Back Yard” “ serves no purpose other than to further stigmatize people in recovery and undermine their attempt to lead a normal life in their own communities. Stepping Stones Recovery Foundation strives to provide the solid knowledge and support necessary to understand the need for people seeking recovery to receive Professional Treatment and Community Based support in their effort to make a full recovery from substance Use Disorders possible.





Our vision is to witness a change in attitudes toward individuals suffering from Substance Use Disorders that will make it possible to discover more effective long term treatment solutions and improved community based recovery support options. We believe in the integrity of the human spirit to be the foundation of any recovery effort. We seek to foster this spirit by providing aid to individuals and their families who seek to enhance their opportunity for a successful long term recovery from Substance Use Disorders. We envision a time when recovery residences will exist, in any residential community, a person recovering from Substance Use Disorders chooses without the stigma, prejudice, and discrimination that currently undermines their recovery and our mission. We envision a time when the free education we provide about the “Brain Disease” of Substance Use Disorders becomes the Stepping Stone to dispelling the myths that prevent recovering individuals and their families from receiving all the resources necessary for a full recovery from these disorders.

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