Humanitarian Social Innovations is pleased to welcome Bridge Beyond Addiction to our community of social entrepreneurs.
Bridge Beyond Addiction, a Lehigh Valley-based nonprofit, seeks to combat the growing incidences of substance abuse in its community and across the country. The organization was founded by four mothers whose children suffered from addiction: Angie Staub, Carol Livingston, Donna Carty and Emily MacGowan.
Through their involvement with their children’s journeys toward recovery, the four women noticed a pattern of substance abuse treatment and relapse: patients often struggle to stay sober post-treatment because they lack the funds to move into a sober community, the costs of which are not covered by insurance. They knew they had to do something to interrupt the cycle of relapse.
“Many individuals coming out of in-patient care or detox do not have the initial funds to go directly to aftercare, and this is not covered by insurance. So, they return home or to people and places where their addictions spiraled out of control,” said Angie Staub, Board Chair and founder. “Our experiences over the years show that a sober recovery community can be key in a person maintaining their sobriety after the initial 30 days of in-patient or detox.”
A Bridge to Recovery
Seeking a way to make recovery more attainable for Lehigh Valley community members during the critical post-treatment phase of recovery, Staub, Livingston, Carty and MacGowan formed Bridge Beyond Addiction. The organization targets men and women aged 18 to 45 living in the Lehigh Valley, who have a strong desire to get sober.
The nonprofit “provides a bridge” between treatment and independence by giving financial assistance in the form of grants to individuals entering sober living communities — helping them avoid triggers of relapse and making it possible for them to work towards sobriety in a safe, supportive environment.
Grants are based on the cost of the recovery residence recommended by the patient’s clinician. While Bridge Beyond Addiction does not recommend residences for patients, it requires that residences be accredited by a government agency, certified by a respected association or meet the core National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR) criteria for Level 2, 3 or 4 (the levels reflect standards of supervision and support, from low supervision, Level 1, to high supervision, Level 4).
Bridge Beyond Addiction also requires that candidates submit a letter explaining why they want to become sober and why their grant request should be considered.
“We want candidates who have a strong desire to sustain their sobriety,” Staub said.
Grants are meant to serve as the initial deposit or rent towards a sober living community. These communities usually mandate that patients work part or full-time to pay rent and other expenses, which, according to Staub, helps the individual re-establish a sense of independence, self-worth and responsibility.
“Our scholarships are the financial bridge that allows them to move directly into a sober community and provides the finances until their first job and paycheck. This allows patients to move forward to build a truly fulfilling, productive life, free from addictive behaviors and substances. As a result, they can go forth to share their gift of recovery by providing support and mentorship to others who struggle with the disease of addiction,” Staub said.
Their goal is to provide 100 grants per year by the end of 2024.
In order to reach this goal, Bridge Beyond Addiction needs support and funding from people who are willing to help them take significant steps towards minimizing addiction and relapse in the Lehigh Valley. Though the nonprofit is still in its youth, Staub said that its impact on the community is already measurable.
“I have witnessed firsthand the transformations in the parents I have met. They often come into the rooms broken, ashamed, afraid and exhausted by dealing with years of their child’s addiction. But as the parents become educated about the disease of addiction and stop getting in the way of their children’s path to sobriety, the child often finds they can no longer manipulate their family members and often follows their parents and finds recovery,” Staub said.
“We are hoping to provide an opportunity to individuals who are serious about finding recovery. And we are hoping to have many success stories to share with you in the future.”
Humanitarian Social Innovations is proud to have Bridge Beyond Addiction join our community of social change, and we look forward to helping it grow its impact in the Lehigh Valley.