A Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson
508 Straight St
PO Box 2738
Paterson, NJ 07501

Phone (973) 345-6000
Fax: (973) 345-7279
Email: Contact Form

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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.
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