Situated on a 40 acre hilltop in Athol, Massachusetts, our farm represents a departure from traditional approaches to substance use and other co-occurring disorders. While residents of our home are provided a first class education on established recovery support options, they also learn something most programs cannot offer....purpose. The other "residents" of our working farm include goats, pigs, chickens, horses and more. All of these animals greet new residents with a message they may not have heard in some time... "I need YOU". Animals and crops know nothing about stigma, cast no judgment, and have no interest in the past of an individual. They seek companionship and a symbiotic relationship with our residents that provides returns which cannot be measured.
Our historic New England farmhouse, built in 1883, provides all of the comfort and charm of farm living in a beautifully maintained home with accommodations for up to 8 men in a mixture of single and double occupancy rooms. A well appointed kitchen and dining area, cozy living and recreational areas, as well as reading and sitting rooms allow residents to enjoy the best of farm living.
Each resident is tasked with a set of responsibilities each day that are crucial to the operation of our farm and to the well being of our animals and crops. Farm staff provide all training and support, but residents can expect to reconnect with the earth and go to bed each night with a sense of mental, physical and spiritual accomplishment.
Our residents are receive clinical support and counseling from licensed clinicians who are on site and able to meet the individual needs of each person. The clinical team is made up of experienced and credentialed professionals who use a variety of approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). For people needing assistance with access to psychiatry and/or medication management, we have a network of community providers with whom we work closely to support our residents.
recovery education and support
Residents of the farm will benefit from a staff that possesses decades of professional and personal recovery experience. Education and exposure to the many different paths to a lifetime of recovery allow each individual to decide which path is right for them. Traditional 12-step models, cognitive approaches, Buddhist and Native American practices all provide different avenues to the same destination... a life of contented sobriety. Our goal is to assist each resident to experience and discover what works best for them.
No matter which approach an individual prefers, there is one constant in the life of every person in successful long term recovery... social connection. Having, and using, social connections is the most important indicator of good mental health. Residents of the farm will travel to outside meetings and support environments. Our local community boasts a Peer Recovery Center just a quick van or bike ride from the farm where residents can find support groups, access to resources and social/recreational experiences with other local residents in recovery.
Too many treatment centers take on an institutional feel as they "teach" patients what recovery looks like. At the Carl E. Dahl House at Cass Farm our residents learn how to "live" in recovery. This means learning to balance the responsibilities of everyday life with every person's need for self-care, social connection and fun! Our rolling 30 acre property abuts the 365 acre Lawton State Forest which means miles and miles of trails to hike sit right in our back yard. Tully Mountain, the Millers River and Doane's Falls provide additional hiking, mountain biking, fishing and snowshoeing opportunities for our residents. For the fitness minded who prefer to exercise inside, the local YMCA and other gyms are just a quick walk or ride into town. Weekend field trips include shopping, outdoor activities, and other group events throughout Central Massachusetts.
While life on our farm may have the feel of a remote country setting, we are fortunate to have easy access to our local library, movie theater, grocery and department stores, medical providers hospitals and much more.
As we strive to help our residents rediscover purpose in their lives and help them design a long term path to sustained recovery, inevitably that voyage of discovery leads to employment. Getting up and going to work each day is part of a balanced life for productive, active adults. When our residents are ready for this step, they can elect to work with staff to begin searching for employment opportunities that align with their new, healthy lifestyle. Our agency has been the preeminent practitioner of social enterprise and vocational support in our region for decades. With a team of job developers on staff and hiring practices and policies that understand recovery, our residents may have opportunities to work in industries including agriculture, culinary, transportation, human services or even manufacturing at our own privately held company known as Coleman Assembly & Packaging. Through these innovative solutions we provide a recovery ecosystem that can guide the individual through various stages of support and service that will land them at independent living and long term recovery.