Make a Difference: Cross Pointe Church workday volunteers painted, cleaned and created welcome baskets at Lightway Recovery.

Navigate Recovery Gwinnett, a recovery community organization working to change the way addiction is treated in Gwinnett County and Georgia, is extending its mission with a new long-term, residential recovery center for women.

Lightway Recovery is converting a 14-bedroom bed and breakfast in Flowery Branch into a fully appointed recovery center that will operate as a separate, partner organization within the Navigate Recovery family. The recovery wellness center is slated to open and begin accepting residents early this year.

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“We have long known that avenues into recovery are difficult to navigate and there are simply not enough services available to meet the needs of Georgia residents,” said Susan Barge, CEO and executive director of Lightway Recovery. “In particular, there is a need for long-term, residential care that is not-for-profit and that provides premium services centered on peer-supported recovery and evidence-based practices.”

The national addiction crisis shows few signs of abating, and Georgia is no exception. Navigate Recovery’s Lifeline program is a mobile crisis response unit that collaborates with Gwinnett area hospital partners. Peer recovery coaches respond within 60 minutes to meet patients who have experienced an overdose or substance use risk factors. In 2019, the Lifeline program logged 866 emergency department visits and 13,410 follow-up support connections.

“Clearly, many in Georgia grapple with addiction yet aren’t able to access necessary and trustworthy services,” Susan Barge said. “Lightway Recovery is a place where women will be supported with dignity and respect as they begin or continue the transformative journey of lifelong recovery.”

Lightway Recovery welcomes diverse women from every background and is founded on Christian principles that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, inclusive of those struggling with addiction.

“A comprehensive continuum of care for addiction addresses mental, physical, and spiritual needs,” Susan Barge said. “Our approach to recovery offers customized support in each of these interrelated areas, which we believe are vital to establishing and maintaining wellness.”

Additionally, long-term sobriety and length of care are linked. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends a care program that lasts at least 90 days, noting that “treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes.” Standard programs tend to be anywhere from 14 to 28 days in length.

To address this deficit, Lightway Recovery will offer two distinct levels of service. The first entails an extended stay at Lightway Recovery with 24/7 support from trained staff. Residents in this phase focus totally on their personalized recovery program. The second level of service is for guests transitioning into more independence while continuing coaching and supportive monitoring.

Those in early-stage recovery also benefit when they have access to trained peers who model real recovery. “Recovery coaching provides encouragement and accountability,” Susan Barge said. “Our coaches are people in successful recovery who love to share the tools and resources that have worked for them and are constantly learning about the newest evidenced-based recovery practices.”

“Lightway Recovery fulfills our highest organizational mission to provide needed services that support long-term wellness in addiction recovery,” said Farley Barge, president and executive director of Navigate Recovery Gwinnett. “As a nonprofit facility, we are also committed to total transparency and accountability.”

Susan Barge noted that the leadership and staff of Lightway Recovery are all individuals thriving in active recovery from addiction. “Our desire to transform the current model of care and positively impact lives is deeply personal,” she said. 

Recovery is truly a community effort, and there are a number of ways to get involved. Donations directly benefit residents and defray programming costs, making Lightway Recovery possible for more women. Donations of time and talent are equally valuable. Find out how you, your church, workplace, or service organization can help at lightwayrecovery.org/get-involved/.

For more information about Lightway Recovery, visit lightwayrecovery.org, call (678) 743-1808, Ext. 110, or email info@lightwayrecovery.org.