New Heights takes a bold step by welcoming recovering couples into sober living
Aside from the brotherly and sisterly relationships fostered within the co-ed component at New Heights, owner Greg McFarlane has opened the home up to another approach, the prospect of couples living together, growing in their commitment to recovery and to one another.
It started as a simple suggestion from a resident, Lance Latourneau, whose fiancée, Tiffanie Pearson, was set to graduate inpatient treatment in Dec. 2014. Latourneau brought up the idea of her moving into New Heights to continue her recovery. He never pushed the subject, says McFarlane, but opened it up for consideration. Eventually McFarlane warmed up to the idea through meditation, prayer and personal interaction with Latourneau.
“Everything I saw in him was a man deeply in love and deeply respectful of a woman,” McFarlane says, “a man who got sidetracked by drugs.”
And despite some outside skepticism, everything went smoothly. Latourneau and Pearson continued their relationship, became active in their church and remained diligent to the principles of recovery. It went so smoothly, in fact, that McFarlane asked the two to help manage a second New Heights location, and later a third house as the community grew.
“Each day I watch them continue to work a program of recovery and grow,” says McFarlane, “and then continue to help somebody else.”
The “experiment” was replicated in another pair that came together in recovery. Bethany Draheim was looking for a new sober house while she continued an intensive outpatient program. Moving into New Heights, where her boyfriend Bryan Braddy lived, seemed like a long shot. McFarlane says he took a chance after seeing the success of Pearson and Latourneau, and welcomed Draheim to New Heights, initially in the women’s house.
After seeing the positive impact they had on each other, McFarlane decided it was time for Braddy and Draheim to share a home with Pearson and Latourneau, and continue to grow as a unit and as individuals. “I saw [Braddy's] work ethic develop because of his love for this woman, and his love for her was stronger than his desire for the drug,” says McFarlane, adding that their efforts in recovery set an example for other residents.
“His love for her was stronger than his desire for the drug.”
At the end of August, both couples moved into their own houses, with more responsibilities to uphold and new challenges to face. But their lessons in compromise, and the obstacles they have overcome thus far built a sturdy foundation.
McFarlane, inspired by the success he’s seen in Pearson and Latourneau, and in Braddy and Draheim, is working on a format to officially incorporate a family and couple’s model into the New Heights program.
“If they didn’t have these tools of recovery, empathy and compassion, it would have fallen apart,” says McFarlane. “But they made it here. So when I think about if this is a viable resource to offer people, I think yes, it absolutely is.”
“If they didn’t have these tools of recovery, empathy and compassion, it would have fallen apart,”
This story appears in the Fall issue of New Heights quarterly magazine.