In Other News

Pass by the Clemenceau Plaza at the northwest corner of State Route 89A and S. Sixth Street in Cottonwood, and you might notice an uptick in activity.

Now in its fourth month in the historic plaza, Steps to Recovery Homes has fully opened its door to the community. Founders Damien and Anne Browning welcome applicants to its addiction recovery program and help train volunteers. At Miracles Happen, the nonprofit’s resale store two doors down, current and former participants in the recovery program sort, pick up, label and sell used items.

“Everybody who works for us has been through the program,” Damien Browning said, adding that the average stay in the program is under three months. “Accountability is huge with us …. We expect a lot of them, so some people come and then leave after a few days.”

According to Browning, Steps to Recovery Homes has recently downgraded the size of its gender-specific homes to accommodate fewer guests, achieving a higher success rate through personal care and relationship building. The Brownings oversee two Cottonwood homes, one that houses eight men and another that houses five women.

The resale store, however, marks a major upgrade for the nonprofit. Previously, the store sat in a less accessible spot near Old Town. Now, the operation encompasses three storefronts, offering increased visibility for Steps to Recovery Homes and allowing for the sale of more items. Additionally, an increase in items coming in allows the Brownings to provide clothing for those in recovery and donate to other charities.

Reinvigorating the plaza through good business practices is also on the Brownings’ minds.

“We’re trying to wake it up again, man,” Damien Browning said. “We’re trying to do high-end stuff for low prices for the community …. And it’s all donation based.”

The underlying purpose remains recovery, Browning added. To that end, Steps to Recovery Homes now features a working governing board. Recently, it became a founding member of the Verde Valley Tax Credit Coalition to promote charitable tax donations. Over the summer, the organization hosted a mental health and addiction community awareness event, inviting local experts to talk on the issue.

“A lot of people don’t understand addiction,” Browning said. “The stigma needs to be erased. It’s not something to be scared of …. And these people — they don’t need a handout, but a hand up.”

According to Browning, Steps to Recovery Homes is focused on long-term solutions to addiction, which he claimed is on the rise throughout the Verde Valley. Affordable options for individuals with addictions are few and far between, he added, making it difficult to address the issue in a sustainable way.

“We’re trying to raise the bar for recovery in the Verde Valley,” Browning said.

To donate to Steps to Recovery Homes or volunteer your time, call 649-0077 or stop by the office located in Clemenceau Plaza.


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