What Does "Community for Life" Mean?
“Community for Life” is one of MARR’s most deeply held values, and a phrase we repeat quite a lot. It’s also the theme of this year’s banquet. So what does it mean?
For us, it means translating the 12 Steps into our daily actions and interactions with others–or to put it another way, “practicing these principles in all our affairs.”
For 47 years, we’ve seen that when our clients and families remain engaged with 12 Step fellowships and practices, they find the support they need. They continue to cultivate the inner resources they need to participate in their communities, whether it’s in their 12 Step groups back home, in their spiritual communities, or anywhere else.
In short, "community for life" means that our clients and family members realize that they never have to be alone again.
This also frequently means that they remain connected to MARR–as much and as often as they choose to be.
To help with this, we have a robust and very active alumni network that stretches out across the United States. We have multiple events on a weekly basis in which alumni volunteer and participate. We also have monthly speaker meetings where an alumnus returns to tell her or his story. Clients who remain sober are also invited to come back once a week every year to participate in “Renewal Week,” attending day treatment groups and staying in the residences at no additional charge. Clients who relapse, are never shamed and are also invited to reintegrate into the MARR community as they reenter sobriety. We also have a full-time alumni coordinator, who reaches out to our alumni and organizes special events like white water rafting, our annual picnic, monthly speaker meetings, and alumni business meetings just to name a few.
What does “community for life” mean? In short, our clients and families experience firsthand that they never have to be alone again.
And as an organization, we are committed to practicing what we preach. The 12 Steps are not just a central part of our treatment, they are the guiding inspiration for what we seek to embody as a staff. Our approach to treatment is to cultivate a clinical setting that reproduces the total acceptance, accountability, clear-eyed love, and lifelong support modeled so well by 12 Step fellowships. It is only by emulating these qualities that MARR can provide this “community for life” for our clients, their families, our alumni, volunteers, and one another as staff members.
The longer that clients and families are suffering from the disease of addiction the more dysfunction and confusion the disease introduces to the family. Treatment at MARR provides a period of therapeutic stabilization for the client and the family unit as a whole.
This is where MARR’s model of therapeutic community comes into play. For clients, the therapeutic community provides the supportive daily structure for the hours between 12 Step meetings and talks with their sponsors to help clients integrate the 12 Step principles into all aspects of their lives.
MARR introduces families to the practice of therapeutic community through counseling, support groups, and education to encourage and support families to pursue their own recovery and build their own network.
Think of MARR as the critical care team that helps to stabilize clients and families who are in acute condition. Everything we do here is designed to help support the 12 Steps as the guiding framework for lifelong recovery from addiction for clients and their families.
Through MARR, lots of the people who remain involved have experienced firsthand that practicing the principles behind the 12 Steps and participating in “community for life” is a perspective-shifting, life-altering experience. You don’t forget the people you were with when this light comes on. You want to stay connected to those who helped you to realize this.
That’s another reason why MARR is a “community for life.” Whatever our current affiliation with MARR may be (alumni, staff, volunteer, family member, supporter, etc.), many of us choose to stay because it was through this entity of MARR that many of us learned how much we love being part of a vibrant and active community, seeking to practice 12 Step principles in all our affairs.
So come join us to celebrate 47 years of community for life at this year’s banquet. It’s a night you don’t want to miss.