Our Philosophy And Approach
For each person seeking treatment at Straight & Narrow, there is a path which reflects each
individual journey. Typically, those who seek intervention by the professional and compassionate
staff have experienced significant dysfunction and a history of chemical dependency that continues
to compromise physical and emotional health.
The core values of Straight & Narrow are universals, which guide all program activities and
goals. Its view of "right living" is a blueprint for success, both within program and post treatment.
Among this compendium of virtues are kindness, fairness, consistency, productivity, charity, faith,
honesty, health, community, family, society, friendship, spirituality, discipline and sobriety.
Clearly, no program can insure adherence to the above. Rather, it is the promotion of these "messages"
which help to set the course toward wellness. Staff neither blames nor imputes moral weakness. However,
personal responsibility is stressed. It is respect for the client and his/her potential that sustain
the expectation of excellence.
It is the Straight & Narrow tradition to exercise both tolerance and inclusion in its admission
process. We operate in those areas ravaged by crime, unemployment, squalor, disease, addiction and
urban neglect. That we have remained in that neighborhood since inception in 1954, is testimony, not
to expedience, but to an ongoing mission to serve the most medically indigent and chronic substance
abusers in the state of New Jersey.
The oldest and largest agency of its kind operating in New Jersey, Straight & Narrow has expanded
and integrated into each community in which it operates. It is not only a part of community life, but
has helped shape its neighborhoods.
Toward expanding resources for those in need, Straight & Narrow has acquired and developed
properties, which have contributed to the urban blight so common to those neighborhoods plagued by
substance abuse, mental illness and poverty. These community development activities can be viewed as a
metaphor for the reclamation of spirit, sobriety and self worth achieved throughout the
Straight & Narrow portfolio of programs.
Straight & Narrow continues to serve those for whom the level of dysfunction is highest and the
prognosis poorest. It is not our burden. It is our privilege, for treatment success, when weighed
against the personal challenge, uplifts and inspires the client, the family, the community and the staff.
That there are inadequate resources addressing chemical dependency its causes and effects continues
to undermine the health of our youth, adults, families and communities. In a perfect world, there
would be a "system" of community based human services, within which those in need would access and
receive services seamlessly. Would that this were the case.
In reality, those who present with drug and alcohol problems, education and employment deficits, HIV
disease, etc., are assessed and referred to programs and services (where available) in the hope that
a placement might ensue. Tragically, those with greatest impairment and greatest need, unable to
negotiate or simply worn down by the system, fall through the gaps and chasms continuing the downward
spiral of greater dysfunction and reliance on public funding.
At Straight & Narrow, the above is viewed as a challenge. To the extent that it is able,
Straight & Narrow addresses addiction and the sequelae toward maximizing the presence and readiness
of its clients while in a safe and therapeutic environment.
While addiction is an illness which erodes one's capacity to live productively, no one sets out to
become an addict. Tragically, it is the inevitable result of chronic drug and/or alcohol abuse either
not addressed or inadequately addressed.
Straight & Narrow does not treat addiction, per se. It treats the individual for whom the
Straight & Narrow structure and approach are clinically indicated. This distinction is essential
to the philosophy and approach operationalized at Straight & Narrow.
To be sure, the effects of drug and alcohol use on brain chemistry and behavior may be common to
those who abuse substances. However, the spiritual, behavioral, environmental, economic and
intrapsychic deficits, which underlie dependence, constitute the foundation for each client's
treatment plan and ensuing clinical regimen. The precursors to addiction are myriad, and each
client presents a singular history. Accordingly, the treatment experience is individually designed
and executed to reflect a course toward self actualization and recovery. Histories of trauma and
abuse shape the individual treatment plans and clinical activities.