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.

The Buttery runs residential and community-based programs. The major residential program is the Therapeutic Community. 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 Buttery Transition 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. The Buttery Private is a user-pays residential program conducted in an idyllic environment near Wolumbin (Mt Warning). It is an early intervention for people who are still functioning well enough but who could benefit from taking time out to address issues, including stress, anxiety, signs of depression, workplace burnout and substance misuse. As a social enterprise, surplus funds the program generates are applied to The Buttery’s charitable works.

There are a number of separate community outreach programs designed to help teenagers and adults in the NSW Northern Rivers and Mid NSW Coast Regions who are facing issues with mental health, drugs, alcohol and gambling or who have problems with mental illness and substance abuse. CORE is a day-rehab conducted during school hours on weekdays for people with carer responsibilities, such as parents. 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.

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.

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.

We offer treatment for all illicit drugs, prescribed legal drugs and alcohol.

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.”

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. Phone 02 6687 1111 during business hours for more information or email: [email protected]

There is a misconception that to get into The Buttery residential TC or MTA costs a lot of money. That’s not true. Residents contribute 85% of their Centrelink payments each week they do not have to pay anything more. Some 60% of The Buttery’s income is derived from government sources, like the Centrelink payments residents receive, 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.

Yes, because we have an excellent track record for lasting recovery. And also most people can undertake the program at no direct cost to themselves. The waiting time for a place varies in duration and can be up to six months.

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.

Yes they can reapply and then join the waiting list until a bed becomes available.

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).

Yes, because we have an excellent track record for lasting recovery. And also most people can undertake the program at no direct cost to themselves. The waiting time for a place varies in duration and can be up to six months. Over the years 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. To donate please click here.