This year’s National Recovery Month theme is Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community. Recovery for all requires meeting individuals where they are, without judgement, and providing well-rounded resources and outlets for support. Addiction is a life-long disease, which means that for most, successful long-term recovery relies on sustained engagement in treatment and the community.
That’s where peer support, which has been steadily gaining in popularity, comes in. It has been a stronghold of our continuum of treatment for many years. In 2008, we opened the doors to our first peer recovery center, Everyday Miracles, to provide a safe and welcoming space for individuals to receive vital support before, during and after treatment and connect with others who are in the same shoes.
The center, located in Worcester, Mass., provides any individual in recovery or struggling with active addiction regular and ongoing peer and staff support through a wide variety of programming and opportunities, as well as access to critical resources such as computers for housing and employment research and resume building, a library and even a TV room.
The programming is the heart of the organization, and it’s impactful. According to the National Library of Medicine, relapse rates dropped as much as 24% for individuals engaged in peer support. Each day, there are multiple group meetings – including ‘All Recovery,’ designed for anybody at any stage of their journey, men’s spaces, women’s spaces and even things like book club – as well as opportunities for one-to-one fellowship, camaraderie, and support.
We also run regular workshops on topics like anger management, parenting, nurturing and issues specific to men and women. Engaging with the local community is core to our values, and our members can often be found around Worcester cleaning up parks, neighborhoods and helping others. Friendship and fun are also core pillars, and regular bonding experiences are planned for all members such as holiday happenings, trips to Six Flags or Hampton Beach, recovery walks and parades.
A full kitchen serves hot meals twice a week, though is available for cooking and stocked with food for members each day. Transportation is provided to the center via bus passes, and to detox as needed via taxi.
Led by Michael Earielo, a former Everyday Miracles member turned Spectrum employee, the center is run by members who are compensated for their time via stipends. These members, who interview and are selected as they would be for any regular job, run groups, manage the front desk and more. All members participate in keeping the center clean and caring for community pets such as the center’s fish and gecko.
“The value of peer support is the sharing of lived experiences,” explains Earielo. “Everyday Miracles staff and members can relate where traditional clinicians can’t, immediately establishing trust. It really fills that gap and rounds out a full continuum of care. We go beyond what traditional recovery services can provide – helping folks secure jobs with mock interviewing, outfit support and even free haircuts. We get people back on their feet and support them so that they stay there.”
Everyday Miracles standard programming includes:
||All pathways meeting, all recovery meeting, book club
||Men’s space and group, all recovery meeting, community meeting
||Women’s space and group, miracle mommas, all recovery meeting, anger management workshop
||Nurturing group, all recovery meeting, life changes workshop
||All recovery meeting, recovery games
||All recovery meeting, recreations, center clean-up
The center is open to all and accepting of all treatment paths. If you or a loved one could benefit from Everyday Miracles, get in touch today at 1-508-799-6221. In addition to Worcester, Spectrum offers peer recovery centers in Marlborough and Lawrence, and will soon be opening a new center in Lynn. For more information, please call 1-877-MyRehab.