The Problem is not the Solution


I’m writing this blog to help improve recovery communities. In my own recovery I have been surrounded by incredible people who were instrumental to my success.

I’ve come to learn of how many others don’t share my experience. In fact, many in recovery are stuck in toxic recovery environments, and I am disgusted by communities and recovery businesses that are hurting those they promise to help.

I’ve been running my sober living facility for many years, and I’ve watched the negativity in the industry and the communities. I’ve seen what’s wrong, and I want to improve the field of recovery and recovery based businesses. I want to educate the people governing over these communities and their occupants. It is time for them to understand that living in the problem is not the solution.

Simply claiming the solution is the problem, however is not correct either. I remember years ago when the movie Scarface came out. Young people may not know, but the entire state of Florida was suffering from a major drug epidemic. President Reagan even declared a war on drugs. And the epidemic wasn’t just in Florida, it was everywhere. The hotbed of the drug epidemic was Miami, all the way to Daytona Beach. I remember this vividly, because I was very involved in drugs and alcohol at that time.

It is tragic that now we are dealing with a new epidemic – what people like to call an epidemic of recovery and recovery oriented businesses. The solution to the problem has now become the problem. In hindsight, this makes sense. The communities that were plagued by the drug epidemic years ago, are today the communities plagued with recovery oriented businesses. I believe that these businesses must be better be regulated with focus on assuring that the communities they are the businesses of helping is actually helped in achieving long term sobriety.

Positive steps are being made. The recovery communities are now working with a task force put in place to shut down recovery oriented businesses. Particular focus is on sober houses engaged in client brokering, and other illegal behaviors. It is a sin that people working in this business are treating insured clients as a commodity rather than humans, and people engaged in unethical or illegal business practices should be shut down. This task force has been a positive move, however it is the general attitude of our governing bodies and politicians to endorse ignorance, rather than to educate and improve.

Our leaders, both political and within our communities, must educate the people we serve, and work toward solutions rather than simple re-election and greed.

My businesses have helped many men and women achieve long term recovery, and we pride ourselves on placing patients and long term success as our highest priorities.

We must not focus on short-term statistics, and we must look for real, long term results. It is not the businesses at the root of the problem of addiction and the drugs in the communities. Recovery is a challenging and imperfect business, however in my own business, if only one of five people in my program stays sober, and that person is your daughter or son you would be very happy with it’s existence.

Women of Dignity inc, and Men of Integrity are my companies, and we operate in the town of Lake Park, Florida. Lake Park has attempted to mandate FARR certification and the restriction of patients to inconceivably low levels. There are high expenses involved with being FARR certified. These fees, coupled with the operating expenses of a sober house, would make it impossible for my businesses to exist. And our political leaders know this, and are acting to deliberately make our existence impossible. It is their intent to shut down sober homes, rather than embrace them and work on better ways to manage the industry.

My organization has attempted to work with the town we reside in, and comply with management issues which allow us to fit into our town providing it with sober and productive residents. Recovery must be effectively regulated, but making the regulatory burden impossible for quality institutions like mine to exist will only bring us back to the epidemic of drug and alcohol use. The circle of bad actions must stop here, before more of our children die, when all they needed was help.

Thank you, and let us be heard.


Randi Aberns



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