(Coming Soon: Beyond Soteria Website and Facebook Page)
Soteria is our
Beyond Soteria is our next step… supporting people living in
the community and in community, while withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.
The Soteria Experiment proved that young adults experiencing
their first psychosis could be successfully treated in a family like supported
home setting, with little or no drugs . The key was acceptance, being with, and
believing in the possibility of real recovery for the person. Thus Soteria is
Beyond Soteria is Needed Because So Many People Today Have Been drugged!
Today, our communities, jails and hospitals are filled with
individuals who have experienced psychosis or other intense emotions and have been
placed on psychiatric drugs. Many have
experienced these drugs as harmful and preventing recovery. People,
experiencing devastating health and emotional effects from these drugs, are
often criminalized or committed for drug-induced behavior, which can include,
confusion, aggressiveness, violence, mania,
homicidal and suicidal tendencies.
Beyond Soteria is Needed Because the Withdrawal Can Be Dangerous!
People who have tried to withdrawal from
these drugs find they experience severe addiction withdrawal symptoms and debilitating
illnesses that often endanger themselves, their loved ones and their community.
One of our nation’s leading psychiatric, withdrawal experts,
Dr. Peter Breggin, states the greatest mental health need in our nation today,
is drug withdrawal programs. However, even he cites the dangers inherent in
drug withdrawal that can cause severe reactions and will not treat anyone who
does not have a strong long term support system to help them through the
Even Drug-Induced Behavior is Criminalized and Can Block Housing Opportunities
Most supported housing and public housing decline
applications of people with mental illness who have extensive criminal records.
They do not factor in that every psychiatric drug has side-effects that often
does induce bizarre unusual behavior, aggressiveness, violence and even
murderous and suicidal tendencies, and these acts are often criminalized.
Most Housing Will NOT Support or Allow purposeful Withdrawal from Drugs!
most supported housing, and private and public housing, definitely do not
embrace the fact that the violent or aggressive behavior exhibited when a
person attempts to slowly go off these drugs, can often be attributed to the
excruciating debilitating withdrawal effects. Instead the blame is placed on
the person, and it is believed that the symptoms of the illness are not
withdrawal induced, but returned due to the medication being stopped. Therefore
most supported housing will not, and others cannot, legally support or tolerate
desires or attempts to withdrawal from these potent addictive drugs. For some
the choice often feels like no real choice at all; remain on drugs that feel
like they are destroying your mind, body and Soul, or lose your housing and
Often even families are overwhelmed with the support needed
to withdrawal a loved one from psychiatric drugs and keep everyone safe.
The Soteria Model, for today’s individuals, who often have
been heavily drugged for years, as well as institutionalized and traumatized,
is not enough; IT DOES NOT ADDRESS THE INCREASED DANGER OF LONG TERM DRUGGING
And so we are embarking
on a project we are calling Beyond Soteria!
More About Beyond Soteria! Two Houses and A Peace Team!
The core values of acceptance of
the person where they are, being with, and believing in their resilience to
recover, like the original Soteria model, are still at the center of our Beyond
What we have added is
A model that includes two (preferably side by side) neighborhood
co-op houses and a Peace Team!
(Although realistically you may need to start with one house
and a neighborhood peace team)
The Peace Team:
Community Builder and Crisis Response Team for the Neighborhood Too!
One house of 5 people are peers and allies who are
passionate about life and bring their gifts and talents to share to support the
healing and integration of the person in the second house, into the community,
as well as the healing and integration and education of the community back into
wholeness and integration. They will be known as the Peace Team. As a Peace
Team (the peace team will also include neighborhood members who do not live in
the co-op house) they will bring gifts such as a passion for permaculture gardening, knitting, music,
arts, mindfulness, bicycling and bicycle
repair, healthy eating and living, natural building, entrepreneurship, as well
as advocacy work, such as helping to craft and educate the community on a Community Bill of Rights etc. They will initially
participate in a 3-hour weekly 6 week training, which will include
de-escalation techniques, being with, restorative circles, and on-going
trainings such as Non-violent Communication. They will also often lead ongoing
trainings, house meetings, and community gatherings and be a part of the
evolution of this model. Key to this model is that the coop house members and
other neighborhood members will be trained as neighborhood Peace Team members
and specialize in non-violent de-escalation. In essence they are the crisis
response team for the core house and the neighborhood crisis team for certain
types of crisis, and community builders. Of course what type of crisis for the
neighborhood and other important details will be defined as the group comes
together and strengths and weaknesses are assessed and training determined.
The other house of 3 includes a person who has explored their
options carefully and has thoughtfully made the decision to try and live a drug
free life. Professional support, as well as the help of people with lived experience
and knowledge of the withdrawal, as consultant/s will be critical to supporting
this individual The other two housemates living in the second house are of the
same mindset as the other supporters in the house of 5, but have made a
commitment to be the closest supporters, living with the person in recovery and
withdrawal. It is possible that a rotation schedule might work as well with the
These houses are co-op and will not have any licensing
requirements. Every effort will be made to befriend and educate the neighbors,
city council, the community police and build a sense of collaboration and
Ideally the houses would be purchased by investors, who may just be
looking for a good investment in property, and to whom we would pay rent and
have a long term lease. The housing investment would be solid, and separate
from the project.
Because they are co-op, there is no paid staff, and
volunteer co-op housemates would each pay approximately $400 in rent. It is
hoped that the rent would be uniformly subsidized, by donations to lower the
rental rates, but would be self-sustaining from the beginning by the expected