In my last post, I said I’d been writing about Greener Pastures Recovery House a lot lately. Last Sunday I found out that I haven’t written nearly enough.
Greener Pastures Recovery House is a plant-based rehabilitation program in Falmouth where clients can stay for 30 to 90 days to treat their addiction. We couldn’t wait to go to an open house held there on November 11!
The afternoon was so enlightening, I honestly don’t know where to start. The house itself is gorgeous —
and when you go inside, you’re greeted by this feeling of peaceful, beautiful welcome. Every room is bright and tastefully decorated, but at the same time, there’s something comfortable and familiar in the air that says flop down and rest your troubles here.
The program is the creation of Ron Figaratto and Roxie Gullikson. Like so many of us in Maine, they’ve experienced this addiction epidemic firsthand on professional and personal levels. As the experiences compounded, Ron and Roxie became determined to do something.
And, as more and more of the people they worked with started exploring medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids, Ron and Roxie decided using medical marijuana to treat addiction was the right focus for their determination.
The program isn’t only marijuana-based, though. Courtney, the licensed nurse on site, explained that plant-based treatment means a variety of botanicals are used in conjunction with marijuana to support clients as they come off their drugs. Greener Pastures treats benzodiazepine addiction, as well, which is a huge, but under-discussed problem here in Maine.
Courtney is a recovering addict herself. She used marijuana and Kratom to break a cycle of treatment/relapse that included using Suboxone, a pharmaceutical medication used for opioid addiction.
Healing addiction means healing the brain and the thoughts and behaviors that go with it. Courtney said Kratom helped her experience “changes in thinking, possibly because it’s a plant that helps restore homeostasis.”
Roxie and Courtney work together on the dietary and nutritional aspects of the program. Besides using as much organic, fresh, healthy ingredients as they can, plants with healing properties are incorporated. Some of the botanicals they use are ashwagandha, chamomile, moringa, St. Johnswort and Kava. CBD also plays a huge role.
Greener Pastures Recovery is anything but a traditional rehab. Ron said some “anxiety-provoking things happen in traditional rehabs.” Greener Pastures Recovery tries to avoid such situations, like as Ron explained, “some clients may need a week or a week and a half of solitude before the light comes on.”
At Greener Pastures, they get that time. Roxie told us about a client who had “run the circuit of rehabs” and had been kicked out of every one. They got her three weeks into a relapse after one of those stints, and she was a bit high maintenance for the first several days.
The team “met her where she was” and now Roxie is happy to report that she’s succeeding in her community and has become “a recovery advocate.” That particular client is one of the twelve that have come through since the March opening, and all twelve are succeeding to date.
Treatment activities are totally cool and totally client-driven; and mindfulness is a major theme. “Seeds of Hope” is horticultural activity in which clients are given a plant to care for and taught to “grow their own recovery,” if they so choose.
Again, Ron referred to “the light coming on and all that care being put into the plant.” It’s only one of the ways clients are encouraged to take charge of their health and recoveries. Client self-empowerment crops up at the core of everything the team does.
Ron said all activities are “The SHIT: Spontaneous, Healthy, Interpersonal, and involve Teamwork.” The team guides clients through the ABCD’s of the program: Acceptance, Balance, Confidence and Determination. He said the confidence-building part can be especially critical for clients who have done repeat stays in traditional rehabs.
As if creating a plant-based, in-patient treatment facility that can handle nine clients at a time isn’t enough, Ron and Roxie want to be a part of building the science needed for their ideas to spread. They’re in the process of getting approved to participate in a study with the Universities of British Columbia, Rochester, and New England. The study will look at the efficacy of marijuana and Kratom to treat addiction.
Ron and Roxie are seeking out other resources, as well. They understand the $9500 a month cost for their program is prohibitive for many and are trying to incorporate some scholarship funding and are working with WellShare (click here) to that end.
Ron and Roxie are advocates, too. They’ve had to fight for the program since its inception and were part of a Dr. Sanjay Gupta segment on marijuana to treat addiction. Maine comes in around minute 38:20.
In her clip Roxie talked about how everyone she knows has a reason to grieve now that the epidemic has gone on so long. Her words reminded me of my own when I was writing about the FDA approving Dsuvia. Now Roxie and Ron are giving us all a reason to spread the word of hope as a way to fight the grief.
If you know someone who needs to hear about plant-based recovery, please tell them. If you have any way to support the work the Greener Pastures Recovery House Team is doing, please do.