A Community-Based Approach to Recovery

*This presentation is no longer eligible for a CE credit

As the co-founder of The Retreat, John Curtiss will provide a brief overview of addiction in America. He’ll provide a historical context of the founding of the Minnesota Model of Treatment and describe the trends in the addiction treatment field that ultimately led to the creation of The Retreat Model of Care 25 years ago. John will outline the key principles of The Retreat’s Caring Community model and the robust Twelve Step community that has been crucial to its success. Recovery happens in the community, and John will share how The Retreat has been shaped by the “love & service” spirit of a recovery community that exists throughout the United States and abroad.

This year The Retreat in Minnesota celebrates twenty-five years of service in the addiction treatment field. The Retreat’s unique continuum of supportive-educational, community-based recovery services has helped over 30,000 men, women, and families access a life of recovery and has been replicated in twelve locations worldwide. This evidence-based approach has shown the world that recovery from addiction can be accessible, affordable, and effective.

John Curtiss, MA, LADC
The Retreat & Community of Recovering People

John is President/CEO of the Community of Recovering People board of directors and of The Retreat.  He has been a member of the CORP board since its inception in 1992 and is one of the principal designers of The Retreat model of care.  Prior to beginning his employment with CORP and The Retreat in April 1998, John was employed by the Hazelden Foundation for over 19 years.

John has a Master’s Degree in Human and Health Services Administration from the College of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (August 1995); John went to the University of Cincinnati from 1971-1973, majoring in psychology and philosophy, completing his undergraduate work at Metropolitan State University in 1987.  He graduated from Hazelden’s Counselor Training Program (March 1980).  He is a licensed addiction counselor in the State of Minnesota.

1977-1979 John worked at The Bridge for Runaway Youth, in Minneapolis, as a volunteer serving 20+ hours per week, helping 8-13-year-old kids find their way back home. He received the Minnesota Volunteer of the Year Award in 1979.

John has served on numerous boards, including; the Community of Recovering People and Sobriety High School. He is a past President of the Association of Halfway House Alcoholism Programs of North America (AHHAP) and founded the Minnesota Association of Sober Homes (MASH). John also served on the Opportunity Neighborhood Development Corporation board of directors.  He has served as a guest faculty for Rutgers Summer School for Advanced Addiction Studies and co-authored a Hazelden publication titled “Letting Go.” He is co-author of “A Caring Community, The Story of The Retreat”, published 2014.

John has dedicated his life to creating affordable, accessible recovery communities throughout the United States and many other countries.  He led the efforts to set up Hazelden’s treatment continuum in New York City, Chicago, and their Intermediate care program in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In his work with the Association of Halfway House Alcoholism Programs of North America (AHHAP) and the Minnesota Association of Sober Homes (MASH), John has worked tirelessly to promote the development of quality halfway houses and sober-living environments in the Twin Cities, throughout the United States, and in many other countries.

The Retreat model of recovery is rapidly becoming a national standard for a non-clinical, community-based, spiritually grounded, and affordable approach to helping people access recovery from alcohol and drug dependency.  The Retreat has captured the hearts of recovering alcoholics and professionals nationwide and abroad.  It has gained a reputation not only as an affordable and effective approach to helping people recover but as a great place for alcoholics in recovery to be of service to others.

John has consulted with many individuals (in Hong Kong, Sydney, Australia, Russia, Ireland, England, New Zealand, Brazil, Denmark, and in many cities in the US) interested in replicating The Retreat Model of care, including The Retreat’s Sober Residence models in their community.

Thanks to the efforts of John and his team, there are Retreat-model programs in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Tall Grass), Nashville, Tennessee (Still Waters for Men & Women), Vero Beach Florida (Gate Lodge), Traverse City, Michigan (TC Retreat), Auckland New Zealand (The Retreat New Zealand), Hong Kong (Recovery Works), Evergreen Colorado (Sperro), Portland Oregon (Taylor Made Retreat) and Sydney Australia (The Retreat Sydney).

John received the Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH) Lifetime Achievement Award, the Johnson Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and AHHAP’s Pioneer Award.

John celebrated his 47th year of continuous sobriety on January 2nd, 2023.

For more information about The Retreat, visit: theretreat.org