I grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts, and struggled with substance abuse in my own life. About 13 years ago I went through treatment at Gosnold and never left the Cape. I stayed there, got involved in the recovery community there and eventually got a job at the local treatment center where I started off as a recovery aid and worked my way up to director of admissions there.
When I heard the program director job was available, somebody asked if I’d be interested and I decided to give it a shot. It’s such an awesome concept for recovery. The Red House is a safe space for people in recovery or seeking recovery to come or fellowship.
A few events we have coming up are a paint party, a movie night, and trivia night. Since COVID, there’s really been that human connection piece missing for people in recovery. A lot of the meetings went virtual, a lot of the recovery events weren’t really happening because everybody’s trying to stay safe. It’s just not the same when things are virtual. We try to have that here. We do recovery cafes three times a week where we cater from local restaurants or members volunteer and help out with prep and we have a nice lunch and we offer healthy options. It gives that space for people to come in and have that connection. We’re able to help if someone’s struggling with certain things. We don’t offer clinical services here, but we’re able to connect them to services and offer recovery oriented social events.
The membership decides what they want to happen here and it’s on us to facilitate that and make that happen. We offer all pathways to recovery so whether it’s Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, an Overeaters Anonymous group that comes in on Sundays, or a Cocaine Anonymous meeting that comes in on Mondays. We have a Portuguese-speaking Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that comes in on Wednesday nights.
Everything we have, including the meetings, are all free to the membership. We’re not connected to the 12-step fellowships, but they use our space and it’s really to help provide a recovery atmosphere for the members of the facility.
We have yoga in recovery where a local certified instructor comes in to do a class Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:30 am. We have a recovery-based meditation meeting called Recovery Dharma. It doesn’t exclude anybody; everybody is welcome. It’s such a nice building and atmosphere.
We’ve had a lot of attendance at our events. People have really been utilizing the space. It’s a membership-based program so as long as people fill out a quick membership form with address, name, and basic demographic information, they can take part in all of the events.
I’ve been here since August. I am really impressed with how tight the community is here. Everybody looks out for each other;I think it’s a great community. There’s a lot of support for people in long-term recovery or people seeking recovery. There’s so much help available.
We have a pretty full calendar and we basically just started picking up again in August when I came on. We actually just had our first membership meeting where we ask the members to attend and they kind of are responsible to help; they tell us what they want to do, what they’d like to see happen at the center. That went great and was pretty well attended. They’ll take stock in what happens here; we definitely have volunteer opportunities for the members. We have a couple open positions here, such as a volunteer coordinator position, which is a paid position.
I just want people to know we are an available resource for the recovery community. I’d like to see more volunteers, helping out in the community as a whole, not just the recovery community. I just want people to know we’re here.
Interview by Brian Dowd.
Those interested in the Peer Recovery Support Center can visit mvcommunityservices.org or email Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.