There are two concepts that have caught our attention over the past few years—the “healing forest” and the “recovery ready community”.

The Healing Forest

9538751627_188a197fb0_bThe healing forest is a metaphor from a Native American recovery movement.

Here’s Bill White describing the concept of a healing forest:

One of the most riveting metaphors emerging from the Native American Wellbriety movement is that of the Healing Forest (Coyhis & White, 2002). In this metaphor, the clinical treatment of addiction is seen as analogous to digging up a sick and dying tree, transplanting it into an environment of rich soil, sunshine, water, and fertilizer only to return it to its original deprived location once its health has been restored and subsequently lost again. What is called for in this metaphor is treating the soil—creating a Healing Forest within which the health of the individual, family, neighborhood, community, and beyond are simultaneously elevated. The Healing Forest is a community in recovery.


Recovery Ready Communities

The advocacy group Young People in Recovery describes itself as “focused on creating recovery-ready communities throughout the nation for young people in, or seeking, recovery.”

It’s a great phrase. It immediately provokes the question, “what would that look like?”

They don’t appear to have written much on the concept, though they say they’ve, “outlined four areas in which improved resources are needed for young people in recovery: Access to treatment Educational opportunities, Secure, quality housing, and Employment opportunities.”

What does one of these communities look like?

We work in a community that has evolved to resemble these concepts.

We’ve created this site to help make the concept more concrete in order to:

  • help us play a more deliberate role in helping it continue to evolve in our community;
  • acknowledge the people, businesses and institutions that have helped develop this healing forest in our community;
  • to inspire others to contribute to the healing forest; and
  • provide concrete examples that might help others adapt the model to their own community development efforts.

It’s a work in process

This is not meant to imply that the mission is accomplished or that elements described here are perfect.

There’s a lot of work to do.

However, up to this point, it has occurred through a kind of unplanned evolution.

We hope that mapping it out in this way will help identify needs, resources and opportunities for improvement.

Where are we?

Learn more here.