The Buttery’s Residential Therapeutic Community (TC) is a long-term rehab program for adults addicted to drugs, alcohol or both.
The program is evidence-based and best-practice and informed by the latest research into addiction treatment.

The Buttery TC is committed to assisting chemically dependent people realise a sense of self worth. The program helps people nurture the living skills many take for granted and helps them take their place in society.

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Residents at the Buttery are guided through two long-term residential programs each of three months’ duration. Upon completion, some residents choose to move to a Buttery half-way house in Byron Bay.


The Buttery’s TC program is based on the understanding that chemically dependant people need treatment to recover from the physical, social, psychological and spiritual effects of their addiction.

We emphasise total abstinence from the addictive behaviour as a condition that fosters recovery and allows the development of a new way of life.

MERIT Program

Magistrates’ Early Referral Into Treatment

The MERIT Program is an innovative scheme to refer people facing court with drug-related offences to rehabilitation (rehab) services. It aims to help break the drugs-crime cycle.

The Buttery has beds allocated to this program and it has been highly successful, receiving commendations from the courts and police and positive media coverage. Participation in the MERIT Program is voluntary.


Most people undertake The Buttery’s residential rehabilitation program at no direct cost to themselves and contribute 80% of their Centrelink benefits ( e.g. pension or sickness benefits) to cover food and accommodation. To avoid being placed on a waiting list for a place (between three and six months) some residents pay an amount in addition to their first three months’ fees at The Buttery. This gives the resident access to the first available bed. For more information about Priority Admission, please speak with admissions staff, 02 6687 1111 or email:

macCREDIT offers a finance plan which may suit Priority Admission residents. For more information please visit: or phone macCREDIT:
1300 884 355


Basic requirements for joining the residential rehab program

We recognise and accept that few people come to The Buttery brimming with optimism and being highly motivated to spend, in some cases, up to eight months working on themselves. However the Buttery program relies on the individual having a sincere desire to recover.

Change can then be fostered by: developing awareness of inner feelings, needs, conflicts and core beliefs, particularly as they arise in the context of interpersonal relationships; learning to manage feelings, get needs met and resolve inner conflicts.

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To join the rehab program, please phone (02) 6687 2399 between 9.00am to 1.00pm and from 2.00pm to 4.00 pm Fridays only for your initial interview.

Once you have had your initial interview, you are required to keep in touch with us each week on Thursdays between 9.00am-1.00pm: 02 6687 2399.


Detox cannot be carried out at The Buttery. Any person referred to the Program will need to be drug and alcohol free prior to arrival. This can be achieved by spending time in detox immediately prior to arrival or developing a care plan to ensure the person remains drug and alcohol free (“straight”) prior to arrival.


All residents are asked to be clean and sober for a minimum of four days prior to arrival. The preferred option is that you come straight to The Buttery from a detox. If you are not arriving from detox you are then required to provide The Buttery with “clean” urine results.


All residents must have a current Medicare card.

Residents in receipt of a Centrelink benefit must have a current Centrelink health care card (or pension card).


For food, accommodation and a contribution to part of your treatment costs, The Buttery charges all residents 80% of their Centrelink benefit. For those not receiving benefits, the weekly cost is equivalent to 80% of the FULL Newstart benefit. Some items such as linen may require a deposit (refundable on departure) during a person’s stay.

The balance of a resident’s Centrelink benefit is kept in trust for the individual’s personal expenditure or savings.

Priority Admission residents must cover food and accommodation costs AND pay an additional fee to avoid the waiting list.

Please phone 02 6687 1111 to discuss other fee options.

macCREDIToffers a finance plan which may suit Priority Admission residents. For more information please visit:


We ask that all residents arrive with a maximum of two suitcases (or equivalent volume – e.g. two backpacks). There is not a lot of storage space in each bedroom. You will be sharing the bedroom with a participant of the same gender.


If you are on prescription medication we ask you to bring all your medication with you and any repeat prescriptions.


Please be advised that there are rules and guidelines around contact with family members and/or friends.

Visits and phone contact with family or friends are possible through an application process in which all residents and their case workers have input into helping make the decision about who you would like to have phone or visit you. If it is established by the residents and case workers that it may not be in your best interests at that time to have a visit with the people you would like to phone or have visit you, you will be supported to not have contact with the person at this stage. It must also be established whether family members or friends want to have contact with you. Phone contacts (if approved) will be limited initially to family members, friends and people within the Twelve-Step Fellowships.

Residents cannot send or receive mail for six weeks after arrival and there is no phone contact or visits until 14-16 weeks into the program.

Residents are asked to advise family members and friends of the contact rules prior to admission.


On admission you have the opportunity to advise staff about contact restrictions you may require. This may include contact with anyone with whom you do not wish to have contact or to enquire about you during your stay. No information will be provided to anyone without your prior consent. It is important that, on arrival, you advise staff of any contact restrictions. At any time throughout their stay, residents also have the opportunity to advise staff of contact restrictions.


The Buttery is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not permitted in Buttery buildings or in the grounds. Buttery residents are able to purchase nicotine patches and lozenges at The Buttery.


will not be available to you until you have been at The Buttery for six weeks.


You will only have access to “self-help” books in your first six weeks. There are no magazines or newspapers available to you throughout your stay. After six weeks, residents have access to novels which may be borrowed from The Buttery library, or you may wish to read books you have bought in with you. If you are waiting in a doctor’s surgery for an appointment, you are permitted to read the magazines available to you at the time. Any writing pads you bring in with you with writing in them will be kept locked away until the day of departure. At any stage you will be able to purchase stationary items.


  Stereos or computers including laptops and i-Pads

  Mp3 players, i-Pods

  Gym equipment

  Surfboards, boogie boards

  Mobile phones

  Anything of significant value

  Pornographic material

  Non-prescribed drugs or alcohol


  Food or drinks

  Tobacco or cigarettes in any form.

For security reasons we request that residents do not bring items of significant monetary value in case of theft.

For any enquiries please phone The Buttery administration on 02 6687 1111


Please phone (02) 6687 2399 between 9.00am to 1.00pm and from 2.00pm to 4.00 pm on Fridays only for an assessment interview. This is essential before you can join the rehab program. We are based in NSW, so remember to take this into account during daylight saving months (October to March) if you are phoning from a different time zone: Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania or the Northern Territory.

The assessment and a Potential Resident Application Form is completed by Buttery staff. This usually takes about 20 minutes over the phone.

If the applicant meets the criteria for eligibility and is accepted on the waiting list they are asked to:

  Maintain weekly contact every Thursday morning between 9.00am-1.00pm: 02 6687 2399.

  Establish contact with or seek counselling support from a Community Health Centre drug and alcohol worker or outpatient group facilitator with a view to getting support while waiting for admission. It could be beneficial for a person on the waiting-list for a place in The Buttery’s residential program to undertake a short-term program in the community while on the waiting list.

  When an arrival date has been set the potential resident needs to get into a detox unit and advise us of their arrival at the unit. All efforts should be made to come from a detox unit as a preferred option. Urinalysis via a GP should only be offered if it becomes impossible to get a bed in the detox unit.


The potential resident should have tidied up any domestic affairs, that is: store possessions, let go of rented accommodation etc. Please note public housing tenants should make appropriate arrangements with the housing provider, including obtaining a rent reduction for the time of their absence.


Arrangements should also have been made to book transport. The preferred route is by plane to Ballina or Coolangatta and arriving Tuesday morning at a time discussed with the Admissions Officer


Before leaving confirm arrangements with The Buttery on the day of departure.


The agreement to remain drug free on the journey to The Buttery should be made when the person phones on the Thursday before their admission.


To remain free from all mood altering drugs including alcohol effective from the date of commitment.
Failure to keep this commitment may result in the resident being denied admission.

A Buttery Rehab group counselling session

Community residents enjoy gardening and contact with nature


If in doubt, the ‘Drinkcheck’ form below is a widely used self assessment tool to determine if consumption of alcohol is at a harmful or hazardous level.
Download a ‘Drinkcheck’ or a ‘Problem Drug Use Screening Test’ form below.

  Problem Drug Use Screening Test.doc 126 Kb

  Drinkcheck.pdf 27 Kb

  Adobe PDF Reader required, download it here


MAIL: The Buttery
P.O Box 42 Bangalow
NSW 2479
PHONE: 02 6687 1111

The Buttery acknowledges the support of the NSW Ministry of Health and the support of generous donors for the Residential Therapeutic Community Program.


The Buttery Family Program is for the family members of people undertaking The Buttery’s residential rehabilitation (rehab) program and for those in contact with The Buttery’s INTRA community outreach program. It offers family members who have an addicted family member or a family member with drug or alcohol abuse issues support, advice and a referral service. It also assists extended family members to gain an understanding of what their loved one may be experiencing in recovery and suggestions about how they may help the process or what they need to be aware of when offering help. The service also operates as a referral source directing family members to places where they may gain additional help in the future.

The Buttery’s Family Program is free of charge. The program is made possible by the generous support of benefactors including the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, The Angel Fund, Milton Corporation Foundation, The Northern Rivers Community Foundation, Portland House Foundation and generous individuals in the community. You are invited to support this program by making a donation.
Donations to The Buttery are tax deductible.

Download a brochure