The picture most Lower Bucks County residents might paint if asked to describe a normal recovery home isn’t necessarily a pretty one.
They might describe more than a dozen beds shoved inside a standard William Levitt-built home, occupants supplying the owner of the house with a check for a right to keep sleeping there and no set rules or structure. These homes, called “rogue homes,” by those in the recovery home community and government officials do exist, but homes of structure, love and support are available as well, owners said.
“I understand the concern the community has with some of these homes and I share their concerns,” said Ryan McCarthy, the owner and CEO of Steps to Recovery, a Levittown-based addiction treatment facility. “Recovery homes need to regulated and supervised effectively.”
“There are significant problems with some of the recovery houses in our community, but there is also a tremendous need for safe, structured, supportive housing that provide a platform for people to succeed,” McCarthy explained.
This is the goal that Bryan Kennedy, the owner and founder of Independence Lodge, which has locations in the Levittown area, set out to accomplish with his homes.
Kennedy is also the chairman of the Bucks County Recovery Home Association. The association is a self-regulating body that ensures the quality of the member homes and organizations.
Inside one of Independence Lodge’s houses in Bristol Township’s Croydon section, an outside onlooker probably would not be able to tell that the house is a recovery home at first glance. The exterior of the home is well maintained and the inside of the house looks no different from a residence a family might reside in.
In many ways, the residents of the home are a family as well, they said.
“The number one thing that we push is that this is a brotherhood,” said Albert Lamplugh, one of the house managers and residents of Independence Lodge.
From the minute a new guy steps through the doors at one of the houses, there is an immediate support system set up to help take care of and support them.
“I was in a really bad way and I had no one to talk to,” explained Ryan Jones, who first contacted Kennedy in June 2016 when he was having a particularly difficult Father’s Day. When LevittownNow.com spoke to him this summer, he was 14 months sober and is a manager of one of Independence Lodge’s homes.
Kennedy has a passion for helping people to stay in recovery due to his past of addiction. He is now seven and a half years clean. The new father got his start in a Bristol Township recovery home and a string of abuse.
“I never felt judged inside of a recovery house,” Kennedy explained.
While he was initially worried about being ridiculed or shamed at the house, he quickly found comradely and support from the other guys at the house. When he was supposed to spend two nights at his family’s home for Christmas, he thought about the guys at the house who couldn’t get home and returned early.
“I get to see these stories unfold for the guys coming through here,” Kennedy said. “These people are going to become responsible and accountable men.”