In the late nineties Janis Feely, an addiction worker at a residential rehab project, noticed three themes repeating themselves over and over in her daily work:
- Firstly, that the prolonged separation from loved ones experienced by her clients, especially from children, was harming relationships and creating long term emotional damage;
- secondly, that many of the clients could have been helped just as effectively and more cost effectively in the community through a structured day treatment programme;
- thirdly (and most worryingly) many clients leaving residential treatment relapsed due to a lack of structured support.
It was during this time that Janis had a vision for a unique new day recovery treatment centre:
- A service that would provide appropriate services and support for all members of the family, so that they can recover together.
- A service that would provide effective non-residential recovery services in the community – helping people to abstain from addictive behaviours and remain abstinent.
- A service that would recognise the illness of addiction as not limited to just drugs and alcohol, but also including addictive behaviours around eating, relationships, gambling, etc.
- A service where only the most effective forms of therapy are delivered by fully qualified counsellors who themselves are in long-term recovery from addiction.
- A service where people will feel loved and their potential for transformation honoured.
In May 2000 after a year of fundraising and lobbying Janis achieved her vision and established the Living Room. Since then, staff, trustees, volunteers, clients and people in the community have worked hard to ensure this vision remains a reality.