Build Hope Now – Case for Support 

Never has the addiction crisis been as acute as it is right now. People of all ages are suffering from an epidemic that robs them and their families, of all they hold dear — self-respect, dignity, relationships, financial security, hope. Every day, people are dying from substance abuse. For nearly half a century, MARR has been a successful haven for those seeking treatment, producing success rates that far exceed industry norms. MARR’s long-term recovery program provides a solution for those who have lost all hope. In short, MARR saves lives.

We have a chance right now to take our services to a new level. A detox facility will allow MARR to provide an end-to-end solution for those seeking help, and the renovation of Camp Donnie Brown will enhance the nurturing environment that MARR offers to its clients and their families. We need your financial commitment to make this vision a reality.

An investment in MARR is an investment in hope, an investment in a new life for those seeking treatment for substance abuse. The time is now to make this happen.

To donate to the MARR Capital Campaign, please contact Amy Frizzell, Chief Engagement Officer: 678- 993-9045.


MARR seeks to raise $3 million to build an in-house detox capability and renovate a valuable therapeutic facility, which will allow MARR to expand critical services and increase revenues for the long-term security of the organization.


The disease of addiction today is a catastrophic epidemic challenging our communities, and in recent years has become one of our most formidable public health problems. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs the U.S. more than $484 billion annually, more than any other chronic condition, doubling the costs of diabetes or cancer. As too many families know, overdoses cause more fatalities than car crashes or gun violence. Currently, 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and other substances. That is approximately 1 in every 10 Americans over the age of 12, yet only 12 percent receive treatment.

Today, recovery centers and policymakers nationwide are bracing for the coronavirus pandemic to exacerbate the addiction crisis. According to a study by the American Medical Association published in September 2020, alcohol consumption has increased 14% for all adults (over what period?). For women, binge drinking has increased by an alarming 41%. Further, we know that exposure to stressors and traumatic events — such as those encountered widely during the pandemic — affects drinking patterns for years into the future. Nationally, our communities are about to experience explosive growth in substance abuse disorders, compounding the effects of an already-rampant public health crisis.

Safer and healthier communities depend on access to effective treatment and recovery programs. MARR believes (and research proves) that longer-duration treatment programs are more successful in achieving long-term recovery from addiction. MARR’s two-phase residential recovery model offers clients a community-centered approach to long-term addiction treatment. Grounded in the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, our programs integrate individual treatment of the whole person through science-based treatment modalities (therapeutic communities, medication-assisted treatment, CBT, DBT, and trauma-focused therapies), and groups (life skills, anger management, family dynamics, medical, and relapse prevention). MARR’s residential model places clients in a safe, home-like setting in which each individual learns to practice the recovery lifestyle in a sober environment with peer accountability and mutual support.

In addition to treating clients, MARR simultaneously educates, supports, and aids families in recovery.

MARR now believes strongly in the need to add a detox facility to treatment offerings. Following a comprehensive landscape analysis and market research, MARR’s executive leadership has recognized the need to make two strategic capital investments that will allow us to best serve our clients and to create sustainability during the economic instability of the pandemic. These include the construction of a dedicated inpatient detox center onsite as a part of MARR’s core recovery facilities, and the rehabilitation of an offsite rural property (“Camp Donnie Brown”) that is used for client’s retreats, family and youth development programming, and celebrations of the recovery process. By investing in our existing assets and advancing strategic growth, MARR will enhance the high quality of our programs as we deliver sustainable, accessible, residential treatment to families in need.

Organizational Background and Purpose

Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences, Inc. (MARR), was established in 1975, as a private, non-profit organization that provides long-term residential addiction treatment to men and women. We are dedicated to bringing lasting recovery through intensive, high-quality, gender-specific programs.

Accredited by The Joint Commission, MARR is fully licensed under the laws of the State of Georgia. MARR relies on 45 years of experience in the recovery industry. Today, MARR continues to set the standard in long-term residential addiction treatment for chemically dependent men and women. MARR helps clients identify the core issues behind their drug and alcohol abuse and break free from the chains of addiction.

MARR’s program capacity of 112 beds allows us to serve over 600 residential clients and their families annually with our three distinct programs: Traditions Recovery Center for Women, Right Side Up Women and Children’s Recovery Center, and Men’s Recovery Center. MARR’s separate recovery programs for men and women provide a unique combination of relational and clinical programming within a therapeutic community environment. The physiology of addiction between men and women is very different, necessitating a different approach to treatment. MARR provides this through safe and structured environments separated by gender, in which treatment focuses on holistic recovery, helping clients heal physically, mentally, and spiritually. MARR helps clients identify the core issues behind their drug and alcohol abuse and break free from the chains of addiction. All clinicians are licensed and/or certified, as well as experienced in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.

MARR is a critical community asset for affordable care. MARR’s staff works with insurance companies on an out-of-network basis to secure the maximum reimbursement possible without compromising the level of care. MARR’s program fee rivals the total out-of-pocket costs for only one month at most for-profit treatment centers.

Additionally, the state-funded Right Side Up (RSU) program provides residential treatment services to homeless and low-income pregnant and parenting women and their dependent children up to age 13. The program is the largest of its kind in the state with a total of 60 beds and serves residents from over 50 Georgia counties.

With 45 years of experience in the recovery industry, MARR exceeds national standards in its treatment outcomes for clients in long-term residential addiction treatment. The Men’s and Women’s programs have a combined average completion rate of 68% — more than 20% higher than the national average. Our transformational work has changed the lives of thousands of individuals and families.

MARR’s exceptional completion rates demonstrate that our programs are a unique resource to help heal addiction in our communities. We do not believe that short-term, 28-day recovery programs are an effective solution to treating addiction, even though they receive the market share of new clients, referrals, and publicity. Long-term residential treatment programs are an underfunded and often overlooked solution in a field where stakeholders — clients, families, employers’ insurance companies — seek more immediate solutions to the disease of addiction. We are working on all fronts to ensure our programs can remain an accessible and affordable option as more and more families face the crisis of addiction.

“I came to Right Side up a broken and defeated woman. My addiction had taken my pride, self-esteem, and self-worth. I felt that everything was hopeless and I had given up. A caring friend gave me the number to MARR. I took me two days to call the number. There are no words to express the elation that there was a place I could go for help and bring my son with me. God handed me a life jacket and I put it on. I no longer wanted to drown. There was always someone at RSU I could talk to when I needed encouragement. I am now in touch with my higher power. I have faith in my abilities. I realize that God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I got the message. RSU was God’s instrument that he used to save me. I have an attitude of gratitude and just for today, I will love recovery. Thank you – I got my life back!” — MARR alumnus

MARR’S Vision: Capital Investments to Serve the Community and Sustain Effective Treatment

Part One: New Onsite Detox Center Facility Planned to Open in 2022

MARR will supplement our residential treatment facilities through the addition of an inpatient detox center to serve clients facing acute withdrawal. Detox is the process by which all traces of alcohol and drugs are removed from the body as part of a medically safe return to sobriety, ensuring that a person is physically stable and ready to start rehabilitation and recovery. By introducing a detox center into our continuum of care, MARR will be able to serve clients through every stage of treatment, increasing our support and value to families.

Many individuals in addiction attempt to achieve sobriety through the “cold turkey” method of abrupt abstinence from the drug of choice. These methods are not only ineffective but unsafe, especially when attempted without medical support. As alcohol or drug addiction results in the body becoming habituated and chemically dependent on substances, when these substances are reduced or removed the brain must physiologically adjust to the sudden absence of these chemicals, causing withdrawal symptoms: vomiting, hallucinations, seizures, and other unsafe and frightening reactions.

The most effective form of detox is one that is facilitated by trained specialists at a specialist detox center under the care of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Detox centers are an important first step in treatment and are often the starting point for those with addictions to begin participation in a long-term recovery program.

Detox centers are an especially critical starting point for those with long-term alcohol addictions – for whom withdrawal can be fatal — and are an increasingly necessary support for those seeking to recover from opioid addictions. In 2018 in Georgia, 866 Georgians died from the opioid crisis and in Cobb County alone in 2018, 112 people died from overdoses. People with opioid use disorder who do not get treatment are more likely to relapse. Treatment doubles the likelihood of achieving abstinence in periods of early recovery.

As part of its 2021 Strategic Plan, MARR identified the lack of a detox center as the primary area of opportunity to strengthen our program model and the most urgent priority for growth. Ninety percent of our competitor programs include detoxification services, and we know that offering these services will improve our clinical care by providing seamless continuity of care and facilitating long-term behavioral changes necessary for lifelong recovery. The presence of onsite detox services can also directly increase client retention– limiting the attrition, relapses, and medically inappropriate discharges that make addiction such an intractable problem to treat.

The construction of an onsite detox center will not only support stronger patient outcomes by expanding MARR’s range of treatment services but will improve the financial health of our organization. This investment will directly increase organizational sustainability. By investing in a detox facility, MARR will resolve three primary issues:

  1. MARR will meet all levels of long-term recovery care, creating a broader profile of clients appropriate for admission and long-term treatment.
  2. Detox services are typically covered by insurers, providing additional revenues through access to in-network insurance, a revenue source not typically available for long-term care.
  3. MARR will limit attrition by protecting a seamless client pipeline from admissions to program completion. In the past year, nearly a third of residential admissions prospects were unable to enter MARR because they needed offsite detox services. Offering this key entry point to services ensures that clients can choose MARR, and stay with MARR for every stage of their recovery journey.

To advance this critical addition to our services, MARR has initiated a six-month zoning application process that will allow the operation of a detox facility at our Doraville site. This process began in December 2020, with an application filed through the City of Doraville to obtain final approval in June of 2021. CDH Design Firm has finished the design, and we have identified ALPA as the construction company after receiving two competitive bids.

To finance this project, MARR will be conducting a fundraising campaign. To this end, MARR has contracted with Vanguard, a company that works with similar organizations to help identify operational issues, financial issues, and other barriers to business operations. In discussion with Vanguard, they feel very confident that this project would be attractive to funding contributors. Vanguard has completed its assessment to gain insights about how MARR is operating now, what’s working, and opportunities for growth and improvement.

Finally, MARR is undertaking a capital fundraising campaign that will generate a significant percentage of the funds needed for this project. The campaign will be led by MARR Board chair Ken Sternad.

“This detox facility will allow MARR to offer a critical element of addiction treatment that is currently missing from its services. And, it will create a recurring source of revenue that will strengthen the organization for the long-term”. – Ken Sternad, MARR Chairman

*Detox Center Planning and Construction Budget

ALPA Construction:

Detox Buildout (12beds) – $1,282,074

Camp Brown Renovation – $726,038

Operations First-Year – $622,669

Design Fees – $52,982

Attorney Fees – $8,858

Contingency – $200,000

Total $2,892,621


At MARR about 55-60% of our clients need detoxification and in turn, we have to refer them to other facilities. Of those referred out, about 12% do not return to get treatment with us. This is a huge loss. Every individual we lose is a treatment plan that we could have offered, a family that could have stayed together, and a life that could have been saved. The MARR Detoxification Center will allow us to address these losses as well as provide the detox services needed by clients that ask for our help!

The MARR Detoxification Center will accommodate 12 unique patients and projects an average daily client census of 8 people beginning with the 11th month of full operation. Staffed by two full-time healthcare professionals who will provide continuous medical care and oversite, the Center will also utilize a dedicated Business Development professional to ensure a robust source of client referrals.

Once fully operational in Year Two, MARR anticipates annual peak major expenses to include salaries ($412,056), benefits ($102,243), meals ($18,000), medical supplies ($57,600), and overseeing physician’s fees ($66,300). Year Two total expenses will be $766,616.

Year One client treatment revenues are projected to be $829,400. Year Two revenues are projected at $1,971,000.

Please refer to MARR’s Operational Revenue and Expense budget for an explanation of all associated costs and income detail.

Part Two: Renovation and Restoration of Camp Donnie Brown

In addition to the addition of a new detox facility, MARR is advancing plans to renovate Camp Donnie Brown, a 25-acre property on Lake Allatoona in Cherokee County where clients in our gender-separate, long-term residential recovery program can participate in outdoor activities, bonding, and healing exposure to nature.

Access to a natural setting is a critical extension of our onsite treatment services. MARR clients access Camp Donnie Brown weekly as a site for group work and offsite therapies. The camp provides a retreat from the residential site, offering richer and more healing opportunities for therapeutic socialization, exercise, and bonding activities. The self-esteem and stress reduction that comes with immersive experiences in a natural setting are often wholly absent from clients’ lives before recovery. The serenity of the lake, coupled with the wooded surroundings, offers a welcome opportunity for contemplation, introspection, and meditation.

In addition, disadvantaged children of MARR’s RSU program attend Camp Cozy every summer at this property. For these children, their early experiences have been primarily of living with a parent in addiction, growing up in chaotic households plagued by secrecy, poverty, violence, and instability. Natural settings may not have been an available refuge, and the majority have little exposure to outdoor experiences such as swimming, fishing, or hiking. Similarly, for women in recovery, Children who experience the camp express a desire to come again and again, with even deeply behaviorally challenged and acute clients responding positively to the restorative setting.

The Camp Donnie Brown property has been under MARR’s care since 1983 when ownership rights were granted through the Army Core of Engineers. The property is utilized annually for a variety of events and activities that serve stakeholders beyond our core residential clients. Through alumni picnics and retreats, staff appreciation days, and other special events/gatherings, the Camp provides a site for a positive organizational culture of celebration, growth, and connection.

Over the years, MARR has encountered critical needs for upkeep and continued maintenance that limit the usefulness of the property for emerging needs. With the pandemic limiting the possibility of using the site for gatherings, MARR believes now is the opportune time to invest much-needed effort and finances into upgrading the property’s existing structures and facilities (basketball court, volleyball court, outdoor grilling, docks with boats, walking trails and more).

Improvements to the camp will create key positive impacts on clients, alumni, staff, and MARR because they will enable us to:

  1. Provide a safe, comfortable, clean, and pleasant property for the program and organizational activities and alumni engagement (alumni events/retreats, client retreats, staff retreats, and children’s camp).
  2. Improve the quality of clinical care to clients by helping to address the physical components of addiction (therapeutic benefits of our holistic approach: mental, spiritual, physical).
  3. Allow the usage of the property in more versatile ways, such as engagement of prospective donors/sponsors to events, utilizing the property for referral source gatherings, and opening up the property to other underserved populations.

“Camp Donnie Brown is the hidden gem of MARR. It is a beautiful lakeside property that is perfect for creating fellowship, fostering spirituality, and encouraging recovery. It should be cared for and promoted as the unique part of MARR’s magic that it is.” – Stacee Flanagan