Collaborating to Increase Addiction Recovery
RecoveryPeople is a network of peers and families in recovery collaborating with recovery organizations to increase addiction recovery and resiliency in Texas by: Connecting people, communities and resources Developing peer leadership and the recovery workforceShaping funding, policy, and program development
RecoveryPeople is a Network Weaver
The Texas recovery landscape is already dotted with several networks (initiatives, associations, communities and systems) each doing great work. However, these networks tend to be scattered and isolated by geography, funding, and area of focus. The result is a disjointed and uncoordinated movement. To impact an issue as complex as addiction, the recovery community must work together. RecoveryPeople’s strategic plan weaves linkages across existing networks and brings our state’s many recovery communities together on the common ground we all share.
- Texas Recovery Landscape
- Network Value
- Infrastructure and Dynamics
- Governance and Leadership
- Culture and Covenants
- Measuring Success and Sustainability
Why does Texas need a statewide network when its recovery landscape already has several initiatives, associations, communities and systems, each doing great work? Because the recovery landscape is scattered and fragmented by geography, funding and focus.
- Geography – Texas is geographically massive, covering 270,000 square miles, which is equivalent to California and Nevada combined. In terms of land mass, Texas is geographically bigger than the Northeastern United States, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania combined. Texas even has counties themselves the size of a smaller state. This expansiveness leads to isolated pockets of people.
- Funding – Texas is home to some of the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. This large and growing income disparity divides the healthcare system into publicly versus privately funded services. Moreover, most recovery support structures exist outside the purview of these funded systems. This creates a problematic “shadow system” of such resources.
- Populations – Beyond simply covering a lot of land, Texas has a large, growing, and increasingly diverse population. To put this in perspective, there are more Texans than there are Australians. Texas has some of the most populated cities in the nation (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Austin and El Paso), including large minority populations. Hispanics are projected to become a “majority minority” in Texas by 2020, and over 12% of Texans primarily speak Spanish at home. Texas also has the largest rural population, the largest prison population, and the second largest veteran population in the US. These populations often access very separate health systems.
- Stages of Recovery – Regardless of the pathway, recovery is a process. Different individuals and organizations tend to focus on specific parts of this nonlinear recovery continuum: prevention, harm reduction, early intervention, treatment and early recovery and long-term recovery. This can lead to stratification and consequentially to a lack of continuity for those engaging with recovery organizations.
- RCO – Recovery Community Organizations are peer-led nonprofit organizations that promote recovery. Some operate Recovery Community Centers while others deliver support and host events through the community.
- Recovery Residences – A spectrum of recovery-oriented residential and support services that promote addiction recovery.
- Youth/Young Adult:
- Recovery High Schools (RHS) – High Schools designed for students in addiction recovery.
- Centers for Students in Recovery / Collegiate Recovery Programs (CSR/CRPs) – Centers and programs designed for college-aged students in recovery.
- Youth Recovery Organizations (YRO) – Recovery organizations lead by transition-aged youth.
- Alternative Peer Groups (APGs) – “…[A] network of recovery services for adolescents and young adults…” that were developed in Texas (Morrison & Bailey, Recovery Today)
ROSC – Recovery Oriented System of Care
- What other recovery sectors do we need to add? Contact us to let us know
Connecting Recovery Sectors
Value Proposition to Individuals
RecoveryPeople provides value to individuals, who:
Value Proposition to Organizations
RecoveryPeople provides value to individuals, such as:
Value Proposition to Systems
RecoveryPeople provides value to systems:
Across the globe, networks (often called social-impact or social-innovation networks) are helping to solve complex, large-scale social problems. A Network is a set of nodes connected by links. RecoveryPeople’s nodes are people and organizations, linked by the relationships between them.Nodes:
- Individual Members
- Recovery Organizations Recovery Community Clusters
Within the network, groups of individuals and organizations (nodes) cluster and interact frequently. RecoveryPeople cultivates community clusters to encourage what Network Weaving expert, June Holley, refers to as serendipitous connections. This includes both communities clustered around a local area, and those clustered around a set of practices, an idea, or a goal.Network Cycle
Productive networks foster a continuous cycle of events:
Compare and Contrast
RecoveryPeople is a “Social-Impact Network”. To gain a better perspective of what a social-impact network is, you can compare and contrast it with what it is not:
Social Media vs Network: Social Media (Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, etc.) are powerful tools to link individuals, but they are not focused on social impact, though social-impact networks often use social media to communicate and connect.
Coalitions vs Social-impact Networks: Coalitions tend to have specific objectives and a controlled agenda. In contrast, social-impact networks have a broader vision and agendas that are developed and driven by members over time. Coalitions may be a part of a social-impact network.
Associations vs Social-impact Networks: The membership aspect of an association or cooperative looks likes like a network, but the purpose of an association is to benefit its membership whereas the purpose of a social-impact network is to act on social issues. Associations may be a part of a social-impact network to further their mission.
Professional Networking Group vs Social-impact Network: Like minded professionals and industry sectors often host and attend networking group events to raise their brands, market their products, explore business partnerships, and share industry news. While professional networking groups are a great way of forwarding business agendas, the agenda of a social-impact network is to impact social issues.
RecoveryPeople Members are more interested in doing something than in controlling something, so our processes of governance are largely informal. Network members organize themselves in community clusters, and governance of these clusters is generally “bottom-up” rather than “top-down”.
To cultivate the trusting and meaningful relationships that must exist to form a robust network, RecoveryPeople members agree to the following social covenants:
- Share purpose
- Play nice
- Be action oriented
- Give to get
- Be inclusive
- Work together
- Weave the network
All RecoveryPeople CREW Members are expected to take an active role through their community clusters and/or the network at large. To ensure that peer voices are guiding the network, CREW Leaders are either elected or appointed to represent diverse community clusters on a statewide advisory council. CREW Leader responsibilities include:
- Serving on the statewide Advisory Council and providing guidance of the network’s strategic plan and continuous quality improvement plan
- Coordinating community meetings
- Identify common goals
- Submit meeting minutes and/or community updates
- Complete baseline and follow-up surveys
- Help to plan and attend the statewide Leadership Conference
- Attend 3 virtual meetings spread throughout the year
The 2016 Advisory Council includes:
|Leska Sieber, San Antonio, TX||Nikki Saurage, Kerrville, TX|
|Kevin Langehennig, San Antonio, TX||[To Be Announced], Kerrville, TX|
|Shawn Johnson, Austin, TX||Amelia Murphey , Houston, TX|
|David Hutts, Austin, TX||Ralph Fabrizio, Houston, TX|
|Annie Smith, Dallas, TX||[To Be Announced], El Paso, TX|
|Mary Gerhke, Dallas, TX||[To Be Announced], El Paso, TX|
- Jason Howell, Executive Director
- Merlissa C. Alfred, Statewide Network Coordinator
- Sandra Eames, Evaluator
To cultivate more trusting and meaningful relationships throughout the network, RecoveryPeople members agree to a set of social covenants:
- Share purpose: Network unity is achieved through common purpose, according to Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact: “[the] higher purpose of [the] wellbeing of [the] community rather than [the] wellbeing of an individual siloed organization.” — Lori Holleran Steiker, Austin Collaborative
- Play nice: Trust is the bedrock of strong relationships, which means that building trust across and throughout the network is paramount. RecoveryPeople’s mantra for building trust is “Play nice”. This means:
- Be mindful
- Be courteous
- Be supportive
- Be respectful
- Be cooperative
- Be honest
- Be ethical
- Be lawful
- Be action oriented: RecoveryPeople Network Members are engaged and action-oriented. They don’t meet just to meet. They forge relationships to make an impact by taking action together.
No longer be meetings for the sake of meetings. The choice to show up for meetings that were actually creating something. — Lori Holleran Steiker, Austin Collaborative
- Give to get: Mutual aid and reciprocal responsibility are recovery concepts that translate to building a healthy social-impact network. Networks are a gift economy and reward generosity, according to former Wired executive editor Kevin Kelly. Connecting to Change the World highlights that being a “good citizen” of the network becomes highly personal and important. There are several ways to contribute to the network, including:
- Connect People – Actively connect individuals within the network and/or with individuals outside the network who should know each other, would be willing to help each other, or share a common interest. This includes connecting yourself with others. More than just the number of connections, you can focus on cultivating deeper relationships across the network.
- Share Knowledge – Solving large, complex problems requires diverse perspectives and knowledge. Offering knowledge that others in the network would find valuable is an important way to contribute.
- Share Skills – Everyone brings gifts and talents to the table. Contributing your skills to the network along with everyone else’s contributions promotes sustainability and delivers greater overall impact.
- Share Resources – People often talk about crowdsourced funding. Let’s take that concept further and talk about crowdsourced resourcing. Leveraging collective resources (e.g. time, funding, infrastructure, equipment) to support the network and fellow members generates a greater social impact than what can be achieved separately.
- Population – Addiction knows no demographic boundaries and efforts to be inclusive of all populations in recovery should be made.
- Family and friends – Peers are not the only ones impacted by addiction. Family members and friends often have their own recovery process regardless of the recovery status of their loved one. This includes recovery and support around anxiety, grief and/or relationship dynamics.
- Recovery Pathways – Individuals most often identify with their own path to recovery, but can be accepting of other peoples’ pathways even if they are unfamiliar. There are numerous secular, spiritual, and religious mutual aid societies. Some people may have never gone to treatment whereas others may have had multiple addiction treatment exposures and/or utilized psychological or cognitive behavioral therapy. Some may have used Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Some may have initiated their recovery in the criminal justice system or while experiencing homelessness. Some may have used a harm reduction approach or medication-assisted treatment. Some have chosen a recovery ministry. Regardless of which pathway or combination of pathways a person takes, the common bond is addiction recovery.
- Organizations – In this context, the term “organization” is used broadly to encompass incorporated, unincorporated, for-profit and not-for-profit businesses, including associations, societies, clubs, ministries, roundtables, collaboratives, etc. If the entity has bylaw or a mission statement that qualifies it as a recovery organization and it has a leadership structure that can agree to our terms and conditions on behalf of the organization, it should welcomed.
- Work together: Network consultant June Holley suggests: “make your motto, ‘No one works alone’.” As ideas surface, connect individuals and establish working groups to explore possibilities for collaboration. Decisions are ideally made together, according to Connecting to Change the World. A few effective methods for group decision-making are:
- Community – Through consensus building amongst members
- Emergence – Through the actions of network members
- Democracy – Through majority vote
- Impositions – Compliance with ethical, legal or funding boundaries
- Weave the network: One of the biggest challenges for new members is transitioning from a traditional organizational mindset to a network mindset.Reinforcing (if not over communicating) how the network works and how members can contribute is an important part of the culture. In her book, Introduction to Network Weaving, June Holley lists several roles within the network:
- Network Connector
- Project Coordinator
- Network Facilitator
- Network Guardian
Be inclusive: To establish an identity and cultivate a psychological sense of community, RecoveryPeople limits its membership to peers and family members in recovery, and to recovery-oriented organizations. Yet within those parameters lives a great deal of diversity, which should be welcomed.
The three important things to measure when assessing a network are connectivity, health, and impact.
The capacity of a network is measured through connectivity. Networks bring people together to find common cause, and it is important to know if deliberate efforts to weave network members together are resulting in efficient and effective “pathways” for shared learning and action. Network connectivity has two dimensions that can be assessed. The first is membership: the people or organizations that participate in a network, and the second is structure: how connections between members are made, how they are organized, and what flows through those connections. Evaluation tools to assess connectivity include: focus groups, member surveys, member connectivity mapping, member interviews, and the reviewing of network activity documentation.
Breadth: This refers to the number of sectors and locations in the network. The Texas recovery landscape is already dotted with numerous networks (initiatives, associations, communities and systems), each doing great work. However, these networks are often isolated by geography, funding and/or narrow focus. The result is a disjointed and uncoordinated movement. To impact an issue as complex as addiction, the recovery community must work together. To include as broad a variety of networks as possible, the number of sectors and locations RecoveryPeople encompasses will be captured and published in real-time on the community assets map.
Depth: This refers to the number of individual and organization members. RecoveryPeople offers eligible individuals and organizations the ability to sign up for Membership Accounts. To get an account, Members will have to agree to social covenants. The Depth of the network can be seen in the CREW Directory.
Scope: This refers to the quality of the relationships between members. A review of literature reveals that other “networks of networks” measure the number and quality of relationships between members. To the extent that our budget allows, we will develop website functionality that will allow individual and organization members to “friend” each other and both qualify and quantify their relationship. In the short term, we will capture this data through baseline and follow-up surveys amongst our 12 person Advisory Council and compare that score to periodic follow ups. Here is an example of 4-point relationship quality scale:
- I have been introduced to this person, but do not exchange information with them on a regular basis (at least once per month).
- I exchange useful information with this person on a regular basis (at least once per month) but have not worked/ do not work directly with them on a project.
- I exchange useful information with this person on a regular basis and have worked or am working directly with this person on one or more projects
- I depend on this person regularly for important advice and have worked with him/her on more than one project.
The health and sustainability of a network is measured through member satisfaction. The effectiveness of a network is dependent upon its ability to engage its members, sustain their engagement, and adapt as needed. Network health has three dimensions that can be assessed. The first is its resources: the material resources a network needs to sustain itself. The second is infrastructure: the internal systems and structures that support the network (e.g. communication, rules and processes). The third is advantage: the network’s capacity for joint value creation. Methods of assessing and evaluating network health include: member surveys, monitoring member participation in network events/activities, mapping the connectivity of members, annual reports on the “state of the network”, and member feedback opportunities. More specific methods include:
CSAT Surveys – The CSAT surveys are unfortunately ill-fitted and confusing for participants, but they are a requirement of the grant we’ve received. We will conduct CSAT surveys with the Community Advisory Council at the close of the leadership conference to establish a baseline, and conduct a follow up survey 30 to 60 days later.
- Aggregate scores will be publicly posted on the website for transparency
- Completion rates will also be posted on the website for transparency
Network Scorecard – The literature review surfaced the idea of having members identify what value they want out of the network and periodically assessing whether the network has met or exceeded their expectation. This not only captures what members value, but is also an effective way of assessing network health. On their website profile, we will ask individuals and organization members: “what do you want to get out of this network membership?” At periodic intervals, we will email members asking them to fill out a survey rating how well the network has met the expectation that they personally identified.
Ultimately, we all want to know if the network is creating real-world change. It is important to know whether the network itself is making a difference. Network results have two dimensions that can be assessed. The first is the network’s interim outcomes: the results achieved as it works toward its ultimate goal or intended impact. The second is the goal or intended impact itself (e.g. a policy outcome was achieved, a particular practice was spread, the community or its residents changed in a certain way). Impact success stories will be solicited on a periodic basis from members, especially Advisory Council Members, and posted on the website.
Funding and Sustainability
RecoveryPeople is a SAMSHA-funded initiative, but that funding is not perpetual. A primary goal of the statewide network must be establish other funding sources to continue its work and growth.
Strategic Social-Impact Plan
Proposed primary priorities:
- Develop 6 local community clusters / Certify recovery residences
- Plan for Recovery Month
- Identify legislative priorities for the 2017