Q and A 

The Buttery is a well known building on the Binna Burra Road near Bangalow, in Northern NSW and probably most would know that it is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. Yet a lot of people still don’t understand exactly what happens there or how it works. 

Question:
For instance – do people seeking treatment come and stay at the Buttery or is it a day centre?
Answer:
The Buttery runs six main programs. The major one is the Therapeutic Community program. This is based around a three month or a seven-and-a-half  month residential stay usually followed by a period of transition in a half way house. As part of the Therapeutic Community on our Binna Burra campus, The Buttery also conducts the residential MTA (Maintenance to Abstinence) program for people taking legally prescribed opioid substances and who want to withdraw from them.

Then there are five different community outreach programs designed to help people in the local Northern Rivers community who are facing issues with drugs, alcohol and gambling or who have problems with mental illness and substance abuse.There is also a program for the family members and loved ones of those in the residential program or who are in contact with The Buttery’s INTRA outreach program;people don’t need to live-in to take part in these programs. The outreach counsellors assess people’s needs and then, for instance, might recommend individual counselling and group sessions that are held in the local area for as long as is required.

Question:
Can you explain what is meant by a Therapeutic Community?
Answer:
A Therapeutic Community relies on a self-help approach within a supportive community environment – like the Buttery. In fact, the ability to recover is often directly related to the support of an understanding group. It’s about offering a safe, nurturing space that fosters personal growth and behavioural change so that people can realise a sense of self-worth, learn the living skills that we often take for granted and take their place in society.

Question:
How many residents would you have at one time? And for how long?
Answer:
The Therapeutic Community program, which offers a three month or a seven-and-a-half-month residential program, can treat 30 people at any one time. On top of that there are the four outreach programs that we mentioned earlier dealing with drugs, alcohol and gambling. These programs are run in the local community. Participation does not involve residential treatment at The Buttery.

Question:
Do you offer treatment for all kinds of drugs?
Answer:
We offer treatment for all illicit drugs, prescribed legal drugs and alcohol.

Question:
How does a Therapeutic Community differ from any other DA rehabilitation facility? Does it have a better success rate?
Answer:
A Therapeutic Community is a treatment facility in which the community itself, through self-help and mutual support, is the principal means for promoting personal change. In a therapeutic community, residents and staff participate in the management and operation of the community, contributing to a psychologically and physically safe learning environment where change can occur. In a therapeutic community, there is a focus on the biopsychosocial, emotional and spiritual dimensions of substance use, with the use of the community to heal individuals and support the development of behaviours, attitudes and values of healthy living.

There is evidence that residential programs do have a higher success rate than other types of treatment. The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre Australian Treatment Outcome Study (ATOS) concluded that “Despite the poor clinical profile of residential rehab clients, clinical improvements associated with residential rehab have been demonstrated amongst US, UK and Australian samples. ….70% of residential rehab clients from the ATO Study were abstinent in the period immediately following a 12 months follow up.”

Question:
How do people apply? Do you have to be referred by a doctor?
Answer:
The majority of people self refer either because they have heard of The Buttery, seen it on the Web or been recommended to them by a friend or ex-resident. Other sources of referral include other drug and alcohol agencies, doctors and community counsellors. Full details of how to apply are on this website.

Question:
Do people pay to come? Or how else are you funded?
Answer:
There is a misconception that to get into The Buttery costs a lot of money. That’s not true. Whilst residents contribute 80% of their Centrelink payments each week they do not have to pay anything more. Whilst 60% of The Buttery’s income is derived from government sources, like the Centrelink payments, we rely very heavily on fundraising and donations to deliver our life-changing mission. Due to long waiting lists for a place in the program, some people elect to pay a fee to be given Priority Admission. Usual accommodation charges are also payable in addition to the “Priority Admission” fee.

Question:
Is there a waiting list?
Answer:
Yes, because we have an excellent track record for lasting recovery. And also most people can undertake trhe program at no direct cost to themselves.The waiting list can be up to six months. This may not sound a very long time, but it is when you consider what can happen in a day or a week if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol – let alone five months. One of our major objectives is to increase accommodation  to double the capacity to 60 residents which will reduce the time people must wait.

Question:
Is it possible to avoid being on long waiting list?
Answer:
Yes. There are places available for people who wish to pay an additional fee to achieve Priority Admission. This is in addition to the usual accommodation charges. Admissions staff can give details of this mode of entry. “Priority Admission.” Finance to cover this fee is available to approved loan applicants through Medicredit

Question:
Why do people drop out of the program? Can they ever come back?
Answer:
Yes they can reapply and then join the waiting list until a bed becomes available.

Question:
Does it only cater for local people?
Answer:
Buttery residents are drawn from all over Australia.  We get a lot of people from Sydney and SE Queensland. However one third of our beds are dedicated to residents from the local community (the Northern Rivers).

Question:
How can people support the work you do?
Answer:
Over the years of my association the local community and people from farther afield has been very supportive of The Buttery, their positive attitude to the work that we do in recognizing and accepting the need for places such as The Buttery as well as tangible support through donations and involvement as volunteers has been very gratifying. But in particular, by supporting our fundraising you can help. All donations are tax deductible. Recognising the need to help more people recover from addiction, the Buttery has significant expansion plans.  Additional places in the program could be provided if more beds were available. The Buttery currently receives no government funding for capital projects. Accordingly The Buttery is appealing to generous individuals, companies and foundations to be part of its expansion plans through their generous support.
  
“If I could be anywhere in the world right now I would choose to stay here at the Buttery because it’s the only place that I’ve been in my life where I’ve felt it’s OK to be me.”
– Liz
 
Isolation undermines our sense of self.
It denies reality, alienates, and impairs the potential for people to live together and grow through peer support. Chemical dependence maintains the isolation of the individual and blocks the opportunity to regain a sense of self.

The Buttery is committed to assisting chemically dependent people realise a sense of self worth, to nurture the living skills that we take for granted and to help them take their place in society with the knowledge that they can choose paths that are not only fulfilling to themselves but to society as well. Chemical dependence is not a consequence of choice, recovery from chemical dependence is. The means to exercise that choice in early recovery is often dependant on the support of an understanding group of people.
The Buttery offers that opportunity via the therapeutic community.