A new resource center for people in recovery will open its doors in Orient Heights Square next month and serve residents from East Boston and Winthrop working on their sobriety.
Run by North Suffolk Mental Health Association (NSMH) Recovery on the Harbor at 983 Bennington St. will offer those in recovery access to a wide array of resources and programs to help on their road to recovery.
“The only requirement for somebody to use this center is 24 hours of recovery and they have to be 18 years old or over,” said NSMH’s Katherine O’Leary. “It will be a member driven program based on a peer to peer participatory process. So the members will decide to include things like parenting classes; AA and NA meetings; Smart Recovery meetings; Refuge Recovery meetings and multiple other pathways to recovery programs. There is some discussion to include vocational training or a parent support group. It’s really just meant to empower and enhance the community and strengthen the recovery community overall.”
There were some earlier misconceptions over exactly what sort of programs would be offered at Recovery on the Harbor when NSMHA announced it was moving into the space on Bennington Street. Some residents on social media spread rumors the space would be anything from an addiction treatment facility to a methadone clinic.
“It’s not a hangout,” said O’Leary. “It’s not a place that someone can come to if they’re getting high. If somebody comes in and needs treatment then we can assist them and help them find treatment but that’s not what Recovery on the Harbor is designed for. It is really designed to strengthen and enhance the recovery community. Everybody that works there has some form of lived experience with alcohol or addiction.”
Recovery on the Harbor percolated up from several stakeholders that work with the addiction community and programs that help addicts to expand resources for the community.
“Right now there are 26 recovery support centers across Massachusetts,” said O’Leary. “And before Recovery on the Harbor there were only three in Boston. I think the opposite of addiction is connection and I think that’s really what’s lacking right now and we’re seeing that in the lack of detox beds; we’re seeing that in the emergency departments; we’re seeing it in the homeless populations out on the street. There is a lack of resources right now in places like Recovery on the Harbor brings people together rather than push them apart.”
O’Leary said in the final analysis Recovery on the Harbor will give somebody a safe place to go. “It will help remove some of the barriers to next steps,” said O’Leary. “One of the coaches that will be rotating in and out of there will have some kind of information to share with these people in recovery. It’s about building resources and building bridges rather than burning them down. So we really want to extend this into the community and welcome the community and because right now I feel like there isn’t a person out there that hasn’t been touched or affected by addiction in some way shape or form. So this center kind of helps to diminish the stigma attached to it.”
O’Leary, who is closing in on 10 years sober herself, says more resources and funding have been poured into treatment with little emphasis on recovery support.
“Putting down the drink or drug a lot of times in hindsight is the easy part,” said O’Leary. “Getting people to maintain accountability living life in recovery, where they’re connected to their community and maintaining their recovery is a long uphill battle. It’s really a blessing when someone gets to that point but I think what’s happening is we had so many resources getting dumped into treatments and detox we’re finally at a point with the lingering question, “Now What?”. We want to sustain, we want to improve the recovery community and make sure they’re staying connected and continue to be supported. I think that is the continuum of care with substance use disorder and that’s where this new recovery center falls. We’re here to meet the needs of the recovery community.”
Those looking to find out more information or want to become a member of Recovery on the Harbor contact Jenny Celata, Director of Recovery on the Harbor, at [email protected]