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Support Radical Hope in Maine.

El Rancho De La Vida is a Maine 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Your contribution is completely tax-deductible.  Supporting us is easy by making a gift using our fundraising partner  Giving Fuel .  Please consider making a monthly contribution— every bit helps.

Maine nonprofit (click to verify)   •    IRS tax-exemption (click to verify)

If you prefer making a contribution by mail please make check payable to:
El Rancho De La Vida
Mail to: PO BOX 1
Hinckley, ME 04944

Why you should support us

The opioid epidemic is particularly hard-hitting in Maine whose per capita income is just about $31,000 and whose percentage of those living in poverty stands at nearly 12%.[2] With a population of 1.344 million[8], and a federal poverty level of $12,760[9] that means over 170,000 people in Maine live on significantly less than $13,000 annually. In one 2017 sample, Maine was among the top-ten states with opioid-related deaths[1] and that trend is thought to only be further rising. The difficulty faced by those struggling with addiction is a much more hard-hitting, long-lasting, grueling, and insidious crisis.
More treatment options are needed. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration outlines four dimensions that support someone in recovery: health, home, purpose, and community. In so many cases, individuals in recovery may have their “health” dimension met by a limited gradient of care such as through medication assisted treatment, but are left with a significant void in terms of their need for home, purpose, and community. Many individuals in recovery are not cognizant of these needs let alone how to healthily go about meeting them.
This deficit consists of a constellation of necessities from basic human needs, activities of daily living, to nutritional learning, occupational and educational development, and basic case management needs.

The Recovery Gap

While not a new model, the concept of recovery residences has grown to fill the deficit mentioned above. These are sometimes also called “sober houses” or “sober living houses”. These are not to be confused with “halfway” houses, which specifically tailor to inmate releases. El Rancho De La Vida views the recovery residence as foundational to a holistic approach to attaining and keeping sobriety.  
More than just a residence, it is this “recovery community” foundation that El Rancho De La Vida is first and currently focused on. Our first service, a recovery residence called “Andersson Ranch”, which is in fact the very first recovery residence located in Somerset County.
The outcomes of these recovery residences by now is fairly well established, resulting in these positive benefits:
  • Decreased substance use

  • Reduced probability of relapse

  • Lower rates of incarceration

  • Higher income

  • Increased employment rates[4][5][6]

According to the National Alliance of Recovery Residences: “A common predictor of positive outcomes across recovery housing types is the support individuals receive in recovery-oriented communities.

This is consistent with the broader research suggesting that the availability of recovery capital is one factor that affects the success of treatment. Recovery capital includes the economic and social resources necessary to access help, initiate abstinence, and maintain a recovery lifestyle. Social support, such as that provided through twelve-step program participation and social network support for sobriety is a key component of recovery housing and has been shown to directly affect recovery outcomes, including reducing the probability of relapse.” [7]

The Stigma Gap

Less data and research is available to illustrate the stigma gap. We do however hold this as self-evident, that stigma poses a major barrier to a fully realized recovery. While society slowly responds to the implications of the war on drugs—that is, treating drug users as enemies rather than individuals in need of help—we are seeing a change in attitudes. Yet the stigma remains: communities say “not in my backyard”, “throw them in jail”, and the false narrative of “don’t give them a safe place to use”,  all the while cutting social services thus creating increased scarcity and competition to get the help so desperately needed.
It is true that diversion is a real concern. Yet it is also incontrovertible that, once all peripheral minutia is boiled away, that scarcity equals diversion. That is why NARR, the leading organization which certifies recovery residences, maintains a strict set of standards. El Rancho De La Vida is a NARR certified level 3 provider. As part of those standards, residents are required to store their medications in a secure location, and while taking their medication are supervised by staff. This virtually eliminates the risk of both voluntary and involuntary diversion.

NARR also has strict standards in terms of operating as a “good neighbor”. This standard requires residences to maintain a policy that explicitly outlines how neighbors can share concerns about the residence, and importantly, how staff must respond to those concerns.