A defining characteristic of addiction is that this disease doesn’t just affect one’s body and physical health, but it can take over all areas of life. The downward spiral includes feelings of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, mania, and impulsive behavior. Often symptoms worsen, as do the consequences—jobs and houses are lost, drying up benefits and income; relationships are strained or ruined; and the user may engage in behaviors that conflict with previously-held value systems.
Behind every addict is a story of struggle, a result of underlying causes unique to each individual’s circumstance. Husband and wife team, Damien and Anne Browning, are inspiring examples of what is possible during the road to recovery.
In 2013, the Brownings found themselves confronted with a heartbreaking reality. Beneath the backdrop of the mountainous landscapes in the Verde Valley existed a path of destruction laid by the effects of substance abuse. With both experiencing success in their recovery, they knew that more could be done to help other struggling addicts.
What resulted was the founding of their nonprofit, Steps to Recovery Homes (STRH). Driven by a passionate purpose, the couple maxed out three credit cards to open their first recovery home and design an affordable program modeled after their own recovery journeys.
In just six years, STRH has positively impacted the lives of 245 individuals while maintaining a 48% success rate. Providing more than just a safe home, STRH offers a holistic experience deeply rooted in a community of accountability and powered by social innovation.
Utilizing an example-driven approach, the staff who provide work training and coaching are also in recovery. They model successful behaviors while giving hope to clients who aspire to get clean. In addition to the supportive environment, the Brownings established Miracles Happen Resale Store, an eBay business, and a warehouse for managing donations from around the state. These social enterprises serve as work-training sites, help subsidize costs for the mostly low-income clientele, and provide free home goods to graduates.
For their positive impact, STRH won the title of 2018 Nonprofit of the Year from the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona. That is also why our Foundation is funding their initiative, Project EMPOWeR (Encourage, Motivate & Provide Options Within Recovery), to help increase access to care for 80 men and women.
Studies have shown a co-occurrence of substance use disorders with other behavioral health issues, meaning that one can affect the development of the other. Therefore, if we treat one problem, we can potentially impact both. We are confident that STRH’s approach will lead to lifelong change in the lives of individuals who are desperately seeking treatment in these areas, and we hope that you will consider joining us in supporting this initiative.