“I don’t believe in sitting on the sidelines when I see our communities being torn apart by folks because they have to live on the streets.
People don’t suffer from substance abuse because they’re homeless. They’re homeless because they suffer from substance abuse.
The big problem is that folks coming out of their treatment programs really fall off a cliff. They go back to their same apartment, their same job, their same associates… So what Recovery Recovery Beyond does is provide ongoing support.
I am so passionate about this because I’ve seen really good lives get wrecked by substance abuse. Seeing the transformation was too much to let go.
Help 50 people struggling with Substance Use Disorder to live a healthier 2021To achieve this we need 50 people to invest $35/month.
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For almost 4 years we have embarked on a monumental effort to transform the way we approach addiction-related illness in our society. The results move us every day.
When Mark Ursino and I began talking about the Climbing Out Of Homelessness program and transform it into a viable non-profit to tackle addiction recovery, I couldn’t have imagined the journey we were about to take. All along it was a labor of love and an effort to bring the organization to a place of maturity where it could grow, thrive, and serve more people than we ever could have initially imagined. That day we envisioned has now arrived and it’s time for a full-time team to take us to the next level.
Over the last few months, the board has embarked on interviewing and hiring a new full-time team to take our programs to the next level. I am beyond pleased to introduce you to our new CEO and Executive Director, Brooke Russell who will lead the team which now consists of Maury Robertson as Director of Investments and Partnerships and Jess Villarreal as Senior Program Manager. These dynamic individuals are beyond excited for this adventure and are already making waves and translating their ideas into meaningful program enhancements. To learn more about our new team members, please visit our Team Page on the website.
Nate Lanting will be moving to new adventures in his life and career starting in June. For the last 3 1/2 years, he has served as our fearless Program Manager, leading all operational duties and ensuring that a nurturing and caring environment is in place through all of our programs and activities. He has made the monumental climb both literally and figuratively, over-and-over. His work and dedication to building a robust volunteer network and a pack of enthusiastic supporters have made this organization what it is today. His mentorship has meant meaningful sobriety for many individuals who have gone through the program. He will be greatly missed, but will always have a place and a home at Recovery Beyond where we know his legacy will leave a lasting impact.
As I move into retirement, I will continue to serve on the board of Recovery Beyond. I look forward to being a source of guidance and support as this amazing team ramps up their efforts and brings us to a whole new playing field of non-profit growth.
As we make this leap forward, I want to issue a challenge to you. A challenge to reach deep, even in this difficult and uncertain times, and make a contribution to this worthy cause. In honor of Nate, myself, or a loved one who has been impacted by the ravaging effects of addiction-related illnesses.
Please join me in welcoming Brooke, Maury, and Jess to the team. The future is bright for this organization and with expanded programming, the future will be bright for so many seeking a pathway out of a life of addiction and towards lasting recovery.
It has been more than a pleasure to serve as the CEO and Executive Director of Recovery Beyond these past 4 years. Thank you to Mark Ursino for placing so much trust and financial support behind our efforts and for allowing us to make the bold and innovative leaps to creating the non-profit we see today.
May we continue to build a Community of Compassion that truly helps those with substance use disorders, find a path back to fully functioning lives.
Executive Director, Recovery Beyond
Recovery Beyond’s Climbing Out program participants continued to build up their fitness during the third conditioning hike of the season Feb. 8 in the Issaquah Alps.
Though it was a drizzly morning, spirits were sunny as Recovery Beyond Program Manager Nate Lanting kicked things off with a demonstration of the rest step and how to walk with hiking poles. Participants and volunteers laughed as they shared their favorite midnight snacks which ranged from jalapeno poppers to popcorn and ice cream.
Then a profound question was posed for the group to contemplate: What do we take with us or leave behind when we’re on the trail? Whether it’s emotional baggage, anxiety or something troubling that happened the past week, do we take the time to reflect on it while we’re putting one foot in front of the other surrounded by the healing power of nature? Or do we engage with those around us and leave all those worries behind? The group got the opportunity to do both as they set off from the parking lot and headed up West Tiger 3.
This close-to-town leg-burner isn’t easy as it winds steadily uphill on old logging roads through a rejuvenating forest, but the team enjoyed the journey along with a few sun-breaks as they connected and continued to get to know each other. “Every time I come out with this group, I feel genuinely loved,” one participant said. Spending time with people who want to get to know you, listen without judgment, and support you in your quest to build a healthy lifestyle for lasting recovery is a powerful thing!
Recovery Beyond’s outdoor recovery community gives all those deciding to get clean and sober a safe place to belong, healing relationships that last a lifetime, and healthy active hobbies. Each of these critical success factors for long-term sobriety came into play during the hike as past adventures, upcoming hikes, questions about life and personal stories were shared.
“The time goes by quick this way, and it can keep us out of our own heads where we sometimes just don’t need to be,” said Recovery Beyond volunteer Scott Brown. “We all have our own way out here in nature, but we must remember to embrace that healing power of it however we see fit for ourselves.”
The Climbing Out outdoor recovery program is offered free of charge to participants in Tacoma Rescue Mission’s addiction recovery programs. This year the Climbing Out team is preparing to climb Mt. Adams in June and Mt. Baker in July, and this was the third of a series of required conditioning hikes which will get progressively harder as the climb dates approach. Learn more about our Climbing Out program.
Our participants crushed West Tiger 3 and celebrated with a leap of joy at the summit! Our next hike is Mt. Si which gains 3,100 feet in a little under 4 miles. It’s a big step up, but participants will be training hard the next two weeks and will no doubt arrive ready for the challenge.
Our efforts are largely driven by the commitment and compassion of our volunteers and donors. Please help us change lives, support our program climbers and expand the program to more participants. Make a gift and sign up to volunteer today.
This past Saturday, program participants in our Climbing Out program and volunteers from Recovery Beyond went on the first conditioning hike of the season. It was a rainy morning – very rainy. Not a surprise for the Seattle area, but it felt wetter than usual. As a matter of fact, it ended up being the wettest hike in Recovery Beyond memory. Just about everyone was soaked toward the end. Despite the rain, spirits were impressively high. Everyone in the group chose to have a positive attitude and to enjoy the journey and experience with one another. It was incredible to be able to connect with each other while strategically sidestepping puddles on the trail…or just walking right through them.
- The group at the trailhead. Photo credit: Scott Brown
Love of family, forgiveness, reconciliation, how we’ve ended up where we are, making changes to support a healthy lifestyle, Frozen, and favorite colors were all topics of conversation. Spending time with supportive people who listen and understand, do not pass judgment, and want to get to know you is a beautiful thing. It was uplifting to be around a group of individuals all driven by the same goal: to build healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery.
Recovery Beyond program participants are residents of addiction recovery programming at Tacoma Rescue Mission and Seattle Union Gospel Mission. Recovery Beyond offers our signature “Climbing Out” program, an outdoor therapeutic program, to these individuals free of charge. Conditioning hikes and other meetups are requirements to be on the climbing team or backpacking team. This year, the climbing team is training to climb Mount Baker, and Little Si was the first of many conditioning hikes.
Little Si will be a hike to remember. Thank you to our program participants for showing up and kicking butt, our partners TRM and SUGM, and our amazing team of volunteers.
Next hike: Poo Poo Point.
We love our volunteers and couldn’t do what we do without you. To volunteer, sign-up here
To support our programming and make a difference in someone’s life, make a gift here
To learn more about our climbing team and view our schedule, click here
The passing of a loved one is always difficult to write about. It is a privilege to be able to write about a beautiful life as well as a life that is well-lived. And while I personally don’t feel like words will ever carry enough weight to balance out grief, I sincerely hope that they will help preserve the memory and honor of an amazing and selfless individual, Bill Haines Jr.
On July 24th, Recovery Beyond lost a dear friend, William “Bill” Haines Jr. Bill and Gina, (Recovery Beyond’s Executive Director), had been married for 42 years. They raised three children together and had recently welcomed their second grandson this summer. Bill was a founding member of Recovery Beyond and served on the organization’s Board of Directors as corporate secretary. He cared deeply for the mission of the organization and wanted to make a difference in the lives of those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Throughout his life, Bill dedicated much of his time to serving others through his work in the Catholic church, scouting, (Bill and both of his sons were Eagle Scouts), and many other charitable organizations. He loved being with his family. For him, faith in God was the foundation upon which everything else was built.
When I first met Bill, he stood up from his desk, shook my hand, and warmly said to me, “You look familiar.” I had never met him before but was glad that I had the opportunity to do so when meeting with Gina one day. Bill was a nice man and had a very caring demeanor about him. That first impression is how I came to know Bill and how I will always remember him.
As we close out the year, we reflect on the incredible and inspiring life that Bill led. We miss him dearly and will continue to honor him through the work we do in our organization. As an organization that is focused on building community, we are there for each other, as a support system, as friends, as family.
For anyone who is experiencing grief: we know it is powerful. The desire to mask it with drugs and alcohol can be intense. I believe that contained within the idea of grief are some of the strongest, heaviest, most complex and uncomfortable feelings we are forced to navigate as humans. Feeling what we need to feel and identifying what we need during a tough time is healthy. Having a support system in place is important, even if that support system is one person. The grieving process is a series of stages that don’t have a specific time frame or set of rules. However, out of grief emerges some of the strongest, most resilient people, people who do incredible things to honor those that they love. Grief is often the fuel used to change the world.
Our deepest condolences go out to Gina and her family, their close friends, and loved ones.
William W. Haines Jr., January 21, 1954 – July 24, 2019
We understand that mountaineering is not for everyone. Recovery Beyond recently expanded its programming options to include other physical outdoor activities to accommodate the varied abilities of our program participants. Backpacking is one of these activities. For the inaugural backpacking trip this summer (exciting, we know!), Recovery Beyond decided to backpack to Spider Meadows, a gorgeous alpine meadow hike located close to Leavenworth, Washington. There was a limit of eight people for this trip. In June we had seven participants from the Tacoma Rescue Mission and Seattle Union Gospel Mission, our program partners, signed up to participate in this trip. Program participant numbers fluctuate for a variety of reasons throughout the year, including graduation from our partner programs before our program year ends, moving, and getting a new job. We ended up having two program participants for this trip. The trip was broken down into three days, and on each day, physical abilities were put to the test, relationships were strengthened, and ample time out in nature was enjoyed.
Day 1: Riverton Union Gospel Mission to Spider Meadows
On day one, the team, consisting of program participants and Recovery Beyond team leads, set out from Riverton Union Gospel Mission early in the morning. They drove to the Phelps Creek trailhead, prepped their gear, and began their backpacking journey together to Spider Meadows at 1:30 pm. They planned to arrive at camp around 4:30 pm. Spider Meadows was about 6 miles from the trailhead. The weather was warm, muggy, and there were quite a few bugs. The team hiked for an hour, took a break for ten minutes, and then repeated this pattern of hiking and taking a break until they arrived at camp around 5:00 pm. Once they arrived, they found a beautiful camping area in the meadow to set up camp. There were wildflowers everywhere and it was a gorgeous sight to see! After setting up their tents, they made dinner and filtered their water at a nearby creek. They were thankful to be able to enjoy a beautiful sunset and evening stars together, and then headed off to bed around 10:00 pm.
Day 2: A Hike to Spider Gap
On day two, the team woke up around 7 am, ate breakfast, and set off on a strenuous hike up to Spider Gap around 9:30 am. It was a beautiful hike and nature was in full effect all around. Spider Gap became the new physical high point of this expedition, with an elevation of 7,100’. The team arrived at the pass around noon, ate lunch, and then returned to camp for the evening, arriving at 3 pm. During dinner that evening, everyone took turns reflecting on the trip thus far, their experiences, and what it meant to be together as a team.
Day 3: Packing up and heading out
The team awoke at 7 am to a fair amount of rain on day three. They decided to eat a cold breakfast and pack up camp quickly. They hit the trail soon after, around 8:30 am, and were back to their cars before they knew it, around 11:00 am. They rendezvoused at a diner in Plain, Washington, for a warm lunch. Out of the rain and inside with good food, they were able to have a moment to reflect, connect, and celebrate a great weekend together in the backcountry.
Reflection on Teamwork
Teamwork can present itself in many ways. It can present itself as a safety measure on a mountain being roped up together. It can present itself as active listening to make sure all needs and concerns are being accommodated and met so that a goal can be achieved. It can be the sharing of kind words to encourage and motivate one another. It’s the understanding of everyone’s abilities and strengths. Teamwork, ultimately, is being able to work together toward a goal and knowing that you need each other’s strengths and dedication to be able to find success. This backpacking trip brought out new opportunities for Recovery Beyond’s program participants to become part of a team and to build new relationships. Just like a trail leading to a beautiful place, new and strong relationships are pathways to a place of lasting sobriety. Overall, the trip was a fantastic inaugural success and we look forward to our next backpacking adventure!
If you’d like to make a gift today to further our mission and allow others the opportunity to participate in this program, please click here. Our team thanks you so much!
Recovery Beyond will continue to expand its programming this fall. Many exciting, new ways to get involved are on the way with our soon-to-be launched “Climbing Up” program, which will be the next phase of our “Climbing Out” program. “Climbing Up” will offer even more ways for our community to be involved with our organization. It will also be a place for the sober community (and those who support it) to maintain healthy lifestyles, build relationships, and have new experiences together. Please take the time to look at our current program schedule (see below) and sign up to volunteer with us here.
If neither the fitness or hiking activities fit your schedule currently, we have other ways to get involved. Start your own fundraiser here and/or volunteer remotely on our admin side with storytelling, social media amplification, outreach, and other administrative tasks here.
The success of our organization depends on the help of our community. Thank you for getting involved and supporting our mission of building healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery!
Type: Weekly, Year-Round
- Seattle Men – M/W/F @ 10:30am
- Seattle Women – TU/W/[email protected] 3:00pm
- Tacoma Women – Tu/F @ 11:30am & W @ 3pm
- Tacoma Men – M/W @ 8:00am & F @ 9:00am
- October 19 – Annette Lake
- November 16 – Mason Lake
- December 14 – Gold Creek Snowshoe
Want to get involved with Recovery Beyond and aren’t sure where to start?
How about becoming a Recovery Beyond Fundraiser and starting your own campaign? You can help others live healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery by setting up your own fundraiser today. What you do matters and has a greater ripple effect than you’ll ever know. We know YOU can make a difference in helping us achieve our mission. You’re just a few clicks away from helping someone change their life.
We are excited to implement our new fundraising kit here at Recovery Beyond. This kit is available to anyone who would like to fundraise with us. It’s simple and easy to use. You’ll be given the tools you need to be successful at fundraising.
Need a reason to fundraise? Fundraisers are a thoughtful way to memorialize a loved one, to celebrate a birthday or special occasion, and so much more. Are you riding in a race, running a long course, climbing a mountain, wanting to support those in recovery, or simply just being an amazing human being through your mere existence? Get others involved in what you’re doing and start a campaign today.
All campaigns benefit Recovery Beyond. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your interest in helping us achieve our mission of helping others live healthy lifestyles through lasting recovery.
We can’t wait to see you achieve your fundraising goals and will be here to support you along the way!
To get started, view the Fundraising Kit.
Mountaineering is not an easy sport. It requires intense physical strength, training, practice, patience, and an admirable mental fortitude. The odds may be stacked against the mountaineer at times, but the way the mountaineer handles an unexpected, undesirable, potentially unsafe situation is by far the most inspirational of all the things a mountaineer can do. Reaching the summit is exciting, but the real success lies within the mountaineer’s decision-making skills on safety and awareness of personal limits.
Everyone is following their own path in life and is developing their abilities and skills within their own timeframe. They are doing what is authentic to them. Not everyone is built for mountaineering; it’s a tough activity. It’s an impressive feat to even get part of the way up a mountain. The amount of time, dedication, training, and perseverance that goes into that alone is amazing. Let’s not forget that the National Park Service only allows so many people up on the mountain at a time, too!
Defining success is relative to each person in question. Success may be reaching the summit. Success may be getting to a new high point on the mountain. Success is choosing to stop drinking or using and taking the first steps to change. Success is being one hour sober, one day sober, one week sober, one month, one year, and so on. Success to some may be getting out of bed in the morning. Success to others may be getting a highly sought-after career position or completing a difficult project or working through a hard diagnosis. Success is pushing oneself to achieve something greater than what one already possesses whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Everyone is different and everyone has their own measure of success. Most importantly, everyone can be successful if they try. It’s as simple as that.
60 people participated in Recovery Beyond’s program last year. Recovery Beyond works with both the Seattle Union Gospel Mission and Tacoma Rescue Mission. Program participants with Recovery Beyond are also involved in programming with these two rescue missions and maybe on a different trajectory than the timeline Recovery Beyond has available. Life circumstances such as acquiring a job, moving, or graduating from the rescue mission’s programs may result in an individual moving on from Recovery Beyond’s program before completing the program. Graduating from Recovery Beyond’s program doesn’t define that person’s success, though, just as summiting a mountain doesn’t necessarily define success for a mountaineer. Graduations, new jobs, new homes – these individuals are quite successful! Even if they have to leave our program early, they benefit from the skills they have learned and from the relationships formed during their involvement.
Success at Recovery Beyond is not a mountain summit. It’s a new high. It’s re-establishing a connection with a community of support. It’s creating new, healthy relationships. It’s getting that new job or that new home because of a healthy lifestyle. It’s being roped up together in life and celebrating each other’s unique achievements. Recovery Beyond believes that everyone has their own measure of success and that individual successes should be celebrated!
The journey is almost always better than the destination. The best part? The views keep on getting better and better. Starting this fall, the view is about to get a whole lot better with Recovery Beyond as we introduce our new Climbing Up program. Climbing Up will be open to anyone interested in being part of a sober community that focuses on healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery. New programs, new relationships, new ways for the community to be involved, and new supports are all waiting to help individuals continue to be successful and flourish.
How will you continue to define your own success? How will you share your success? Stay tuned for more information on how to be a part of our Climbing Up program!
Roping up on the mountain and in life
On Thursday, July 18th, through Saturday, July 20th, Recovery Beyond’s mountaineering program, with combined leaders and participants from Tacoma Rescue Mission and Seattle Union Gospel Mission, went on their second and last multi-day mountaineering trip of the year to Mount Baker. The trip was split into three days. On day one, the team reviewed travel and approach. On day two, the team camped and reviewed skills training. And, on day three, the team attempted a summit, descent, and traveled home. For any of our participants to qualify for this climb, they had to meet a certain number of other physical requirements, including hikes and a previous climb.
Day 1: Review of Travel and Approach
Weather: 50’s, overcast and cool, with light rain for the first couple of hours of the ascent
On the morning of the 18th at 7:00 AM, the team set out from Riverton Place Union Gospel Mission in Burien, Washington for the Mount Baker-Easton Glacier climb beginning at Park Butte trailhead. After a quick coffee stop, the team arrived at the trailhead at 11 am and began getting their gear prepared while also enjoying additional snacks and water. At 12 pm, the team set out on the trail with a plan to arrive at camp around 4:00 pm, hiking for an hour or so, taking a ten-minute break, and then continuing with this pattern until camp was reached. Once the team reached camp, they set up tents and a kitchen/eating area. Around 6:30 pm, dinner and reflections of the day were both shared as a group. The team reviewed travel and approach. At 9:00 pm, the team went to bed, ready to rest for the night.
Day 2: Camping and Skills Review
Weather: 50’s, low-visibility with clouds, eventually breaking open to some sun and sights of the mountain
The team arose at 7:00 am, had breakfast, and by 9:30 am prepared to review snow school skills for Cascade glacier travel. The leaders led the skills training, covering the review of an ice axe, cramponing, and the self-arrest maneuver. After practicing rope travel, walking on a rope, stepping over the rope, rope intervals, and communicating as a team, everyone set off to eat lunch and rest. Around 3:30 pm, the team ate an early dinner, and had a team meeting at 4:30 pm. Everyone prepared their packs, crampons, ice axe, helmet, clothing, food, and water for the climb the next morning.
One of our team members, Sarah, found the ascent to be more challenging than expected. The team came up with a new plan for her, which was an important call and one that had been discussed during the weeks leading up to the climb. There was a beautiful hike to a fire look-out nearby on a well-marked trail, and the next morning Sarah planned to hike to the fire look-out with Becky, one of the team leaders.
The entire group went to be around 6 pm, with a wake-up call of 1 am for those climbing to the summit. Sarah and Becky had a wake-up time of 7 am.
Day 3: Summit, Descent, and Travel Home
Weather: 50’s and clear with gorgeous, endless views
The team woke up at 1 am, ate hot oatmeal, and were roped-up and ready to begin the climb by 2:15 am. They hiked for about an hour and twenty minutes before taking a break at 3:30 am and continued this hiking-and-taking-a break pattern until 5 am. At this time, they were 1,000’ from the summit. The group was traveling well and showing strength and endurance. At 6:30 am, the team arrived at the summit! They took some photos, high-fived one another, and enjoyed the gorgeous views.
The began their descent an hour later and arrived back to camp around 10:00 am. At 8:30 am, Becky and Sarah had headed off on their own side-adventure to the fire look-out to enjoy the mountain and the beautiful views from a different perspective. The original plan was for both parties to meet up on the trail, and through thorough communication, ended up deciding to just reconvene at the trailhead.
Once back at camp, the climbers took a short rest, and then began to pack up the camp. At 11:30 am, the team set off back downhill. By 3:00 pm, they had arrived back to the trailhead, meeting up with Becky and Sarah.
As per usual, the next stop was a well-earned dinner followed by travel back home!
The climb was a success. The whole team had the pleasure of enjoying gorgeous views that morning while reflecting on their journey in life to get to that point. Recovery Beyond believes that team-building and relationship-building are important factors for maintaining lasting sobriety. This trip wouldn’t have been successful without a team in place who knew how to trust and communicate with each other. The concept of roping-up together applies not only to mountaineering, but to life off the mountain as well. Being able to build healthy relationships and to feel support from one another is how we ultimately find our new high points in life. Our team supports our program participants by listening to them, advocating for them, mentoring them, and by simply being a good friend to them. Our success rate for our participants is high. These healthy relationships, evident in the success of this trip, help create healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery, which is the mission of Recovery Beyond.
If you’d like to make a gift today to further our mission and allow others the opportunity to participate in this program, please consider making a donation today. Our team thanks you so much!
Recovery Beyond > Program Spotlights