Residential Handbook

  1. Introduction

     Welcome to Covered Bridge! We are committed to providing a place where you can gain valuable
     tools for living a healthy and fulfilling life. The people you will be living with all have different
     stories, but they all share a common problem. They have used and abused drugs and alcohol and
     suffered serious consequences. Living together under one roof will present some real challenges and
     opportunities for growth. This handbook is yours and it contains the information that you need to help
     make your time here profitable for you. It is our prayer that you will experience God’s blessing in all
     its fullness in the days ahead.

  1. Our Goal

     The goal of Covered Bridge Recovery Ministry is to provide a safe environment where you can
     acquire the skills and tools that are necessary to live a healthy and fulfilling life, free from substance
     use and abuse.

  1. Your Part

     We cannot do for you that which only you can do. The bottom line of that is simply this:

  • You must be totally honest and open.
    •A positive attitude and willing cooperation is essential.

     Covered Bridge offers a spiritual program with high standards and values. Your progress, and success,
     will depend on your willingness to give yourself fully to the work of the program.

The H.O.W of the program can be remembered this way:

H is for Honesty
O is for Open-mindedness
W is for Willingness

     You will develop your own recovery goals and community living plans with the help of the Covered
     Bridge staff. Progress is your responsibility and our expectation. You have already demonstrated
     during the application and interview process that you are motivated to be a part of Covered Bridge.
     Your desire and willingness to change is commendable. We are grateful for the opportunity to work
     with you and we are excited about what God can and will do for you if you remain committed to Him.

  1. Program Outline

     Phase 1 – The Learning Phase (6 Weeks Minimum)

     During your first few weeks you will begin to learn the Biblical design for living successfully. The
     staff at Covered Bridge understands there is more to recovery than just the individual, and together we
     will explore your family background, your education, your employment history, skills that you have
     acquired, and your substance abuse history. Our desire is to help you improve your outlook on life and
     see the hope that accompanies God’s individual purpose and plan for you.

     You will be introduced to a new community of individuals living in a family setting. We model a
     home where we are eager to show respect for each other. To accomplish this goal, you will need to
     become familiar with this handbook and the program requirements. During the first two weeks there
     will be an emphasis on “getting to know you time” with the staff and residents. Your participation will
     uncover your spiritual needs and establish expectations for mentoring. You will also be responsible for
     establishing the goals for your stay.

     While in Phase 1 you will only be able to leave the building with an accountability partner (usually
     another CB resident) that is in a higher phase or a trusted volunteer from a local church. Successful
     residents will use this time to establish a pattern of trustworthiness.

     As you further develop your goals, you will begin a job search under the care and supervision of the
     staff. You will continue to participate in church services, in a traditional 12 step program, group
     meetings and one-on-one meetings with staff and volunteer mentors.

     Phase 2 – Change (9 Weeks Minimum)

     The Change Phase represents your opportunity to overcome life controlling issues such as addiction,
     anger, fear, anxiety, lying, lust, etc. You will be working to establish yourself in the community. Your
     outreach will include church fellowship, 12 step meeting attendance (Celebrate Recovery) and
     eventually part-time work.

     Phase 3 – Preparation (11 Weeks Minimum)

     The purpose of the Preparation Phase is to Pray, Plan and Prepare for your future success and
     transition to independent living. The three P’s are essential for pursuing God’s will for your life.

     At Covered Bridge you will continue to be involved in mentoring and small group meetings. You will
     continue daily reading, reflection, journaling and personal application of the Biblical principles that
     accompany your twelve-step work.

     Phase 4 – Transition (12 Weeks Minimum)

     The purpose of the Transition Phase is to allow you, with the supervision and support of the Covered
     Bridge staff, to begin a transition to community living. This will include developing an aftercare plan
     outlining your support team, recovery maintenance plan and faith group accountability profile.

     Once you have completed Phase 4 and are addiction free you will be a graduate of Covered Bridge!

     Phase 5 – After Care Phase

     While at Covered Bridge you will be introduced to many new people through your weekly church
     experience. Being integrated into the church body you will have opportunities to be part of several on-
     going small groups. These groups will be your aftercare and circle of support and accountability when
     you leave Covered Bridge.

  1. Program Essentials

     While residing at Covered Bridge, the following activities are not optional. All other activities should
     be scheduled around these. If an exception must be made and a schedule conflict is unavoidable, you
     must notify staff as soon as possible and make arrangements for coverage of your responsibilities. Due
     to the importance of the program and your commitment to it, exceptions will not be allowed as a |
     matter of course unless absolutely necessary.

  • Assigned Studies
    • Daily Report
    • Morning House Devotions
    • House Meetings
    • House Chores
    • Dinner
    • Evening Group Bible Studies
    • Scheduled Mentoring Sessions
    • Celebrate Recovery
    • Sunday Church Service
  1. Daily Schedule

     Prior to the start of morning meetings, chores must be completed and daily reports for the prior day are
     to be completed and placed in the director’s box. Daily reports are described in the section PROGRAM

     Monday Mornings

     7:30 a.m. – Resident Prayer Meeting
     9:00 a.m. – House Meeting
     10:15 a.m.– 12:00 p.m. Discipleship Meeting

     Wednesday and Friday Mornings

     7:30 a.m. Discipleship Days – This time will be used for a house meeting which consists of Giants
     (reports on studies to overcome life controlling issues) personal “check-ins”, exhortations from
     scripture and discussing issues relevant to the house.

     Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday Mornings

     7 a.m. (8 a.m. on Saturday). Resident Devotions – This is time set aside for the house to meet for
     devotions and prayer.

     Chores – Before discipleship/devotions, house chores are to be prioritized. The weekly chore list is
     posted on the refrigerator. If you are unable to complete your chore due to other responsibilities, you
     must notify the staff member on duty. It is your responsibility to communicate when you intend to
     complete it, or of the arrangement you have made for another resident to do your chore.

     Laundry – Laundry is part of your weekly chore list. If you are not working, you should complete
     your laundry by 2 p.m. on the day assigned.

     Bookwork/Studies – After chores are done, assigned studies are a priority. If you are not working, you
     are expected to complete your daily assignments by 12 p.m. Time throughout the day should be used
     for personal advancement or volunteering. Examples include seeking employment, school and Bible
     studies, prayer, personal devotions and educational videos.

     Dinner – The evening meals are served at 5:30 p.m. Check the refrigerator list to see what night you
     are responsible for cooking dinner. You must notify staff and the person responsible for cooking if you
     will not be at dinner.

     Monday Night – Monday night is mostly a free night. Some residents who have become established,
     attend a Faith Group on this night.

     Tuesday Night – Residents attend an in-house bible study from 6:30-7:30pm. Some residents who
     have become established, attend a Faith Group on this night.

     Wednesday Night – Residents attend a Bible study at Passumpsic Community Baptist Church. The
     meeting runs from 7:00pm. to 8:00pm. Transportation and will be provided.

     Thursday Night – Residents attend “in-house” Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based resident only 12 step
     meeting. The meeting runs from 6:30pm. to 8:00pm

     Friday Night – Residents attend Celebrate Recovery at Union Baptist Church. The meeting runs from
     6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. transportation will be provided.

     Sunday – Sunday is to be a day of worship and rest. You are expected to attend the entire church
     service and fellowship for at least 15 minutes before and 20 minutes after service.

  1. Program Guidelines & Policies

     What you can expect:

  • Genuine concern and care from the staff for your spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and
    social welfare
    • Discipline and guidance – you will be given responsibilities and held accountable for your
    attitude and your progress
    • Opportunities for healing, change, and continued growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ

     What is expected of you:

  • Honesty: no game playing, denial or minimizing
    • Open-mindedness: LISTEN and think about what is being said
    • Willingness: be enthusiastic and eager to change


  1. General Guidelines
  • Drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, violence or threats of violence are not tolerated and are
    grounds for dismissal.
    • Foul language, and coarse joking are not permitted.
    • Books, music and videos need to be consistent with entertainment guidelines see #23.
    • The house schedule and your personal schedule are important—your whereabouts are always to
    be approved by staff.
    • All residents must sign out on the white board in the kitchen, indicating the time of departure,
       where you are going, and the time you will be back. Tell the staff person on duty of your
       intentions. If you are going to be late or need to go anywhere other than what is indicated on the
       board, you must call the house and notify staff. No exceptions.
    • Thermostats and air conditioners are to be adjusted by staff only or with permission.
  1. Daily Curfew

     House curfew is 9 p.m. All residents are to be in their rooms from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. From 10 p.m. to
     11 p.m. you may study, read, or chat quietly in your room. Please be considerate of other residents. At    
     11 p.m., lights are out, and quiet time is observed. On Friday and Saturday, curfew is 10 p.m. and
     lights out is midnight.

  1. Volunteer Time

     Covered Bridge is often called upon to do volunteer work in the community. Our goal in the
     community is to be a good neighbor and to help you learn to work together to accomplish a common
     task. Also, there are usually projects to be done on Covered Bridge property which residents can get
     involved with. Once a resident is in phase 2, if they are not employed, a certain
     amount of volunteer hours will be expected. This will be on a case by case basis, but usually 15-20
     hours a week will be expected.

  1. Dress Code
  • You will not be permitted to wear any clothing or jewelry that promotes rebellion, drugs,
    alcohol, violence, sex, satanism, or the occult. Your clothing is to be clean, without excessive
    holes or patches.
    • When entering please place your shoes, coat and hat in the closet near the kitchen door they are
       not to be left in common areas.
  1. Relationships

     Covered Bridge values good interpersonal relationships as an important part of your recovery.
     However, it is our experience that focusing on relationships outside of the program has the potential to
     hinder your progress and growth. For that reason, we may purposely limit your contact with some
     family, friends, and acquaintances, particularly in the beginning stages of your residency, in order to
     help you focus more completely on the program.

     Those with whom you have a relationship should be informed of this policy and should be strongly
     encouraged to cooperate with it. Any questions or concerns you have can be addressed with the
     program director. With that in mind, the following policies are in place:

  • If you are married, we will work with you toward reconciliation if possible.
    • Existing relationships with the opposite sex are not to be further cultivated while residing at
    Covered Bridge. At the discretion of the program director, letters and phone calls may or may
    not be permitted.
    • Relationships/friendships with the opposite sex are not to be initiated while at Covered Bridge.
       God’s standard is that sexual relations are to be reserved for marriage.
    • Relationships of any kind which are counterproductive to your recovery and your involvement
       in the program are not to be cultivated.
  1. Mail
  • Staff will receive mail from the mailbox. You are not to receive mail from the mailperson on
    your own—even if it is addressed to you. Staff will put your mail in your personal mail box.
    • You may receive packages from home, mail order, etc. Packages are to be opened in the
    presence of staff.
  1. Health and Personal Hygiene
  • Showers are required daily. Hair and beards are to be clean and neat. Teeth are to be brushed at
    least daily.
    • Under normal circumstances each resident is to take only one shower each day, 6-minute limit.
    Showers are to be taken between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
    • Soap and shampoo are sometimes provided by donors but are your responsibility. You will be
       provided with a towel and bed linens which are your responsibility to keep clean.
    • In many situations it is important that a physical and dental exam should be scheduled during
       your first 30 days.
    • If you smoke, we encourage you to quit. We will do all that we can to support your decision and
       effort. Smoking or chewing tobacco is ONLY permitted in designated areas.
  1. Visits and Leaves
  • All visits and leaves are to be discussed at the weekly house meeting and approved by staff.
    • If a resident is in good standing with CB staff and a pattern of trustworthiness has been
    established a request for an overnight leave may be submitted in writing after moving into
    phase 3.




  1. Food, Meals, and Snacks

     The evening meals are served at 5:30 p.m. Check the refrigerator list to see what night you are
     responsible for cooking dinner. If you WILL NOT be at dinner, you must notify staff and the person
     responsible for cooking that you will be absent.

     Food for breakfast and dinner are provided. Lunch is your responsibility. You are free to eat food
     provided by the house that has not been designated for an evening meal. Normally there will be a
     selection of cereals, eggs, soups, and often leftovers from the evening meals.

  • Every resident is assigned a night to cook. You should be sure you have what you need in
    advance of the day you are to cook.
    • Our goal is to provide nutritious and balanced meals every day. Please keep in mind that not
    everyone has the same taste. If you do not like the meal or have allergic concerns it becomes
       your responsibility to put you own meal together.
    • An afternoon snack is permitted before 2:30 p.m. Evening snack time ends at 9:00 p.m.
    • If you are fasting, please notify the resident responsible for dinner in advance so that your
       portion will not be wasted.
    • Although dishes & kitchen cleanup are assigned as a chore each day, everyone is expected to
       help with clean up after the meal.
  1. Kitchen & Food Guidelines
  • Food and beverages, except for water in a sealed container, are not permitted upstairs.
    • Store all food in proper containers in cabinets, refrigerators or freezers. Countertops are to be
    clear. For resident safety food must be labeled and dated.
    • Do not place any open drinks in the refrigerator.
    • Besides the evening meal, each resident is to wash, dry, and put away all dishes used, or else
    rinse them and put them in the dishwasher. Do not leave dishes in or around the sink.
    • Never cut food on the countertop without the use of a cutting board.
    • Clean the sink, countertops, microwave, and stove after each use.
    • Wipe up spills immediately.
    • When kitchen trash or recyclable materials are full, take them to the barrels behind the house.
    • Grease is to be poured off into a tin can, allowed to cool, and disposed of in the trash.
    • Cleaning supplies are stored under sink.
    • Put soiled towels and dirty dish cloths in the bucket by the sink, in the basement.
  1. Money

     Room and Board typically ranges from $200-$400 per month depending on ability to pay. There is a
     $300 move in deposit for last month Room and Board. Your financial well-being is of great
     importance to us. Before becoming employed we can help you develop a budget. We hope your
     financial planning will help reduce stress and debt that may come with increased responsibilities.

  1. Your Room
  • Lights, fans, radios, etc., are to be switched off when you are not in your room.
    • Your room is to be kept orderly (clothing in dressers, closets, etc.) and clean always.
    • Dirty clothing is to be placed in your laundry bag/hamper—your sheets and pillowcases to be
    washed once weekly according to your laundry schedule.
    • Your bed is to be made neatly when you get up—not after devotions.
    • Personal property is to remain in your room and not left in the common areas.
    • Do not open the windows in your room when the heat is on- request staff to turn down the
    • Doors are to remain open at all times, except while changing or at night while sleeping.
    • Cross-room visiting is NOT allowed for any reason. If you wish to visit with a peer, please use
       the first-floor common areas.
  1. Room/Vehicle Searches

     Covered Bridge reserves the right to conduct room and/or vehicle searches to maintain safety, and
     verify that there are no contraband or other illegal/inappropriate items present. When a resident is not
     present, two (2) staff complete the room search. CB staff reserve the right to confiscate any prohibited
     items found. All confiscated items are reported to resident.

  1. Phone Calls (Addendum in the back to be signed)
  • Personal phone calls may be made and received after morning devotions and chores, until 9 p.m.
    • Personal phone calls may not exceed a total of 30 minutes a day unless other arrangements have
    been discussed in a house meeting and approved by leadership.
    • Staff has access to house phones overnight in case any emergency calls come in.

  1. Cell Phones (Addendum in the back to be signed)
  • Possession of a cell phone is a privilege that is earned upon entering phase two– and when a
          resident is in good standing with all required house rules, guidelines, and assigned tasks.
       • All cell phones are to be cleared with staff before you acquire one.
       • Failure to acquire approval may result in a program fail or restriction of this privilege in the
       • Cell phones are to be stored in the docking station in the living room when not in use. Simply
          stated- take it, use it, put it back.
       • Cell phones are not to be located or used on the second floor.
       • Cell phones are not to be used until after devotions and chores have been completed.
       • Cell phones are to be docked by 9pm.
       • Failure to follow these rules will result in the loss of your phone for a week– longer or
          permanently if the offense is repeated.
  1. Entertainment

     While at CB there is a library of Christian books, movies and music available. A few basic principles
     apply to what we watch and listen to at CB. We are a place of healing which necessitates changing
     what we do and how we do it. Our guiding Biblical principles for acceptable entertainment start with
     Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever
     things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good
     report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things”.
     expectation while you are at CB is that you will have a desire to follow Colossians 3:2 “Set your
     hearts and minds on things above not on things of this earth”
, and Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally
     minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

  1. Computers
  • A resident is not permitted to have a computer at Covered Bridge.
    • In certain situations, such as school studies, completing medical forms, work requirements etc.,
    arrangements can be made with the staff to have access to a computer or the internet.



  1. Sickness and Medication
  • Covered Bridge staff are not equipped to provide ongoing medical care.
    • All medications that are prescribed for you by a physician will be kept locked in the office.
    • Please notify a staff person if you are taking over-the-counter medications (cold, allergy, pain
    relief, etc.).
    • If you are ill, you must notify staff as soon as possible. If bed rest is appropriate, you must
    complete make-up assignments as requested.
    • Payment for medical services is the sole responsibility of the resident. Covered Bridge is not in
      any way responsible for payment of your medical, dental or any other expenses you may accrue.
    • Sharps and needles- all sharp objects and needles shall be disposed of in the approved sharps container in the office. DO NOT DISCARD INTO REGULAR TRASH where people may be exposed to these items.



  1. Early Withdrawal from the Program

     While your participation in the program is entirely voluntary, if you decide that you want to leave the
     program, please arrange a meeting with the CB leadership team. It is important to us that we know the
     reasons for your decision.

     Upon your departure, you must take ALL property with you. Any personal property abandoned by you
     will be disposed of after 90 days. CB is in no way responsible for stored, or abandoned items that get
     lost or stolen.

  1. Studies and Group Meetings

     Your attention and participation in group meetings is important. Completion of assigned work is
     expected unless other arrangements have been made.

  1. Sunday Worship Service
  • Developing a network of positive relationships is vital to your success.
    • Sunday morning Church Service and Adult Sunday School attendance is required for all
    • Attendance at Union Baptist Church is generally required unless arrangements have been made
    between your pastor and the director.
  1. Daily and Weekly Reports
  • Every resident is required to complete a daily and weekly report form. During orientation, the
    specifics of completing the form will be discussed.
    Prior to morning devotions, daily reports for the previous day are to be completed and put into
    the director’s mail box. Weekly reports are to be completed before Monday morning house
       meeting and turned in immediately after the meeting.
    • These forms are an opportunity to document the activities of the day as well as a spiritual and
       emotional check-in, somewhat like a daily journal of your progress.
    • Each form will be reviewed by staff in order to understand where each resident is succeeding, to
       know better how to encourage each resident in his progress, and to address any concerns when


  1. Spiritual Mentoring Sessions
  • Your spiritual mentoring sessions are an important part of the program. When advised, dialogue
    is held in confidence.
  1. Laundry

     As mentioned earlier, Laundry is part of your weekly chore list. If you are not working, you should
     complete your laundry by 2 p.m. on the day assigned.

  • Your laundry will be washed once each week. Upon arrival, you will be assigned a laundry day.
    • Laundry detergent will be provided. Unless your clothes are heavily soiled always use the Speed
    Wash cycle setting on the washer.
    • Wash and dry any soiled towels or dirty dish cloths left on the washing machine.
    • Laundry should be completed by 2:00 p.m. if possible.


  1. Exercise Room
  • You may use the exercise room provided that your chores, studies, etc. are completed.
    • Clean up and put away the equipment you use when finished.
    • For safety purposes, you should have a partner when using free weights.
  1. Aftercare
  • You should be employed or have secured a reliable source of income and have a safe and
    appropriate place to live.
    • If you have successfully completed the CB program you will have made many new friends and
    acquaintances in the church body, subsequently you will be encouraged to continue to attend
       Sunday Worship Service, Sunday School, Faith Group and Celebrate Recovery. These should
       be your new and ongoing circles of support and accountability.
  1. Chores

     Covered Bridge is your home. Each resident is expected to take interest in the cleanliness and upkeep
     of the house. This includes putting dishes in the dishwasher and cleaning up messes. Within that
     context, each resident is assigned responsibility for completing a house chore each week.

  1. Automobile Policy

     Possession and use of an automobile is a privilege that is earned and is permitted when necessary for
     work or other extenuating circumstances. Normally only Phase 2 residents will be considered. The
     following rules apply to vehicle use:

  • The vehicle must be safe to drive, not needing multiple repairs.
    • The vehicle must be currently inspected and insured as required by state law.
    • Vehicles are to be parked in a designated parking area only.
    • A set of keys (door/trunk and ignition) are to be given to the director.
    • Vehicle privileges are to be approved before arranging a vehicle purchase. Your ability to
    maintain, insure, and finance the vehicle must be demonstrated beforehand.
    • No mechanical repairs are to be done on Covered Bridge property without prior staff approval.
    • Vehicles and contents inside are subject to search at any time by staff without your prior
    • Your vehicle must be removed from the property upon leaving Covered Bridge residency unless
       prior arrangements have been made with staff.
    • All parking tickets, traffic violations, and accidents are to be immediately reported to staff.
  1. Grounds for Dismissal or Serious Disciplinary Action

     The following actions and attitudes are serious and will result in consequences, which could include
     discharge from Covered Bridge:

  • Violation of program policies, house rules or guidelines
    • Direct disobedience of a staff member
    • Use or possession of alcohol, marijuana or illegal drugs, including prescription drugs not
    monitored by staff
    • Refusing to provide a urine sample or breathalyzer to staff.
    • Any threats of violence or abuse towards anyone
    • Physical fighting of any kind
    • Violation of any law, conditions of probation, furlough or parole
    • Stealing or taking property without prior permission
    • Willful destruction of property including vandalism and graffiti
    • Falsifying a daily report or signing in/out for another resident in his absence
    • Refusing to follow direction or work on personal issues with the program director or in group
    • Refusal to do assigned tasks and fulfill Covered Bridge requirements
    • Violating curfew
  1. Disciplinary Actions

     The specific discipline imposed will depend on the nature of the offense. Consequences will be
     determined appropriately. You have specific rights if you feel that consequences are not appropriate.

  1. Resident Rights Policy

     Covered Bridge strictly prohibits any form of abuse to its residents. Any staff member or volunteer
     who has knowledge of an incident of abuse will immediately report the incident to the executive
     director. This includes situations in which a volunteer or staff member receives a resident complaint
     that alleges abuse in any form or has reason to believe that abuse has taken place. Any alleged incident
     of abuse will be handled according to the requirements of the law. The staff member or volunteer will
     submit a written report of the alleged incident within 24 hours to the executive director. The incident
     will be investigated thoroughly by staff and appropriate action will be taken to resolve the incident.

  1. Specific Resident Rights
  • The right to give informed consent or to refuse treatment or medication and to be advised of the
    consequences of such a decision
    • The right to be heard through the grievance process
    • The right to a safe environment
    • The right to confidentiality
    • The right to verbal explanation of these rights and handbook content if the resident has trouble
    understanding what is written
    • The right to leave the program and to be counseled regarding the consequences and potential
       consequences of such a decision



  1. Grievance Procedure

     Residents have the right to be heard for any complaint. If a resident is grieved by any situation or event
     that is contrary to the rules, policies or guidelines in this handbook, the following steps should be

  • Report the grievance to a staff member for resolution.
    • If the grievance has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you may report the grievance to the
    executive director.
    • If the situation is still not resolved you should give the executive director a written explanation
    that will be reviewed at the next staff meeting. If necessary, there will be further investigation.
       Staff will then meet with you to discuss any findings and a possible course of action if
  1. Emergency Exit Plan
  • In the event of a fire or house emergency, the person discovering the situation must notify
    everyone in the house to leave through the nearest safe exit.
    • If it is safe, close doors and windows behind you.
    • Everyone is to meet in the parking lot near the stop sign for roll call.
    • Staff on duty will check rooms before exiting whenever possible.