Caribou Recovery House gains state certification

4 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — A new Recovery House, located in Caribou, has been certified by the Maine Association of Recovery Residences (MARR). The certification comes after a lengthy process of developing policies and a comprehensive inspection of the house by representatives of MARR.  The house has also completed a successful inspection by Maine State Housing.

Officially opened on Aug. 1, the house has already been filled to capacity which includes five men and one live-in manager. The Recovery House is a project of the Center for the Advancement of Rural Living (CARL), a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization based in Caribou and Recovery Aroostook, a grassroots community organization working to establish a recovery community. Lisa Prescott, president of CARL’s board of directors, said that the MARR certification provides confirmation that the house is a safe and suitable place for men to get a fresh start.  

“It has taken longer than we had hoped to secure this certification,” said Prescott. “The COVID-19 pandemic really slowed our renovations down as we were relying primarily on volunteers. Still we are so grateful for the help we have received and the generous support of the Caribou community. Having filled the house so quickly is a strong indication of the need for the project and we are now moving ahead with a recovery house for women.”

The Caribou Recovery House is designed as alcohol and drug free living for men in recovery from substance use disorder. Living at the house comes with a number of rules and responsibilities including paying weekly rent, having a job, volunteering or going to school, attendance to multiple Alcohol Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings weekly and performing chores around the house. Danny Rediker, manager of the recovery house, said that the rules provide a set of expectations for residents and help them develop accountability.

“We know that recovery is a challenge,” said Rediker.  “The men who live here learn right from the get go what our expectations are and that we have a zero tolerance for alcohol or drug use while they are in residence. This is a beautiful facility and it provides a great opportunity for these men to build on their recovery and get a fresh start at life without alcohol or drugs.”

The Caribou Recovery House is supported by Recovery Aroostook a grassroots community organization working to build a recovery community. The group has been meeting since 2016 when area residents gathered for a town hall meeting to address the growing number of overdose deaths in the area. Recovery Aroostook was formed from that group and has continued to meet weekly to grow resources for those in recovery from substance use disorder.

Sarah McLean, who chairs Recovery Aroostook, said that the new Caribou Recovery House is evidence of what a small group of people can do.

“I think we all knew from the beginning that this effort to build a Recovery Community would take time and that we had to be patient …,” said McLean who has chaired the group for two years. “When the Aroostook Mental Health Center opened the new ‘Recovery Center’ in Caribou that was a major boost and now, with the recovery house opened and full, we believe our efforts have been rewarded.”

With the men’s house fully operational and at 100 percent census, CARL and Recovery Aroostook are turning their focus on a recovery house for women. Identifying the right house in the right location is the current challenge. Prescott said that she expects a property will be identified in the coming weeks.

“We are definitely looking and planning,” said Prescott. “We hope to find the house and be ready to open sometime later this year. There is clearly a need for a women’s house and we may also have to look at a second property for an additional men’s house to accommodate a waiting list of men beyond the capacity of our current property.”

For more information on the effort to expand resources for individuals in recovery contact The Center for the Advancement of Rural Living at:, visit Recovery Aroostook on Facebook or call the Roads to Recovery Community Center at 1 Water Street in Caribou at 207-493-1278.