NorthBound & Co.

A Comeback Community


The Italian Model

(no, not that kind of model)

We recently returned from a week-long learning workshop in Rimini, Italy. We lived the life of a resident in the San Patrignano community and learned the philosophy behind their 40 year history of success with recovering addicts. We learned and experienced, first-hand, from the people in the “trenches” how they put back the broken pieces of shattered lives and make them responsible, productive members of society.

San Patrignano has been re-purposing and reclaiming the lives of addicts and people in trouble with the law with an overwhelming success rate. Theirs is a free four year program of hard work, community, self-reflection and self-discovery. The residents learn what it means to be a part of something bigger than themselves; they learn that not only do they contribute to the community but community helps them build self-esteem and self-confidence. During the course of their stay, the residents learn marketable skills for work and learn skills for handling everyday pressures without using drugs or alcohol to get through. Over 80% of the people who start the program finish it and, more importantly, five years after they graduate over 75% remain clean and sober.

Our goal at NorthBound is to incorporate the fundamentals of what we learned in Italy into our model here in the states. Easier said than done. First, we have to tackle the huge obstacle of our perspective of what it is to “treat” addiction.

90% of addicts who need help don't receive it. Only a fraction of addicts remain sober for 5 years after conventional treatment.

We don’t intend to re-invent the wheel but the majority of the models offered today are ineffective and unaffordable. The current standard is to stabilize the addict physically and then cross our fingers that what’s retained in the few short days that follow is implemented into everyday life after discharge. The odds are against the addict before the decision is even made to get help. Sure, there has been some minimal success, but WE CAN DO BETTER. No, in fact WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

So we’re putting our boots on, rolling up our sleeves and starting the conversation. It takes a village to raise a child and a community to help an addict recover. We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to start NorthBound and this project. If you’d like to help the good vibes carry on please consider contributing to NorthBound (even if it’s just your time, ideas, and coffee).

Donate here

NorthBound is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

“We venture forth on our journey, our lives enriched, our spirits awakened, and our horizons ever expanding.”