Inside Look: Peer Recovery Support

You may have noticed that a lot of our treatment programs revolve around group meetings, group therapy and group activities. Peer recovery support best exemplifies the power of groups to not only help people strive for and maintain recovery, but build a foundation for the rest of their lives.

Peer Recovery Support

Our peer recovery support centers provide volunteer-driven education and support services for adults in all stages of recovery – including those still struggling with addiction and those who have maintained sobriety for a period of time. Each center offers a variety of support groups, recreational activities, social events and volunteer opportunities.

The Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services currently funds ten peer recovery centers throughout the state, and Spectrum Health Systems hosts three of them in Lawrence, Marlborough and Worcester.

Our peer-driven recovery center in Worcester, called Everyday Miracles, sees between 80-100 people per day. At all peer recovery centers, we have an open-door policy – all are welcome to engage in our services free-of-charge. As active members, they attend daily meetings, plan activities and participate in fun events. Members are also encouraged to take classes such as Relapse Prevention and Identifying Triggers.

At Everyday Miracles, members make the rules. They vote on programming, trips and budget allocation, creating a collaborative environment and enabling participants to hone valuable skills such as teamwork and leadership.

“Our members take ownership of the center, so it’s really their center and they’re my boss,” said Michael Earielo, Director of Everyday Miracles. Earielo was once a member of the program after his own struggles with a substance use disorder.

“The majority of my staff lived through this experience. We bring a lot to the table as people who have lived it. It opens up trust. I want people to know that you can live through addiction and one day become a director of a center like this,” Earielo continued.

Everyday Miracles is open Monday through Saturday at the following times:

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday - 8:30 am to 8:30 pm
Tuesday & Saturday - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Friday - 8:30 am to 7:00 pm

Different programming is offered each day, including:

  • Monday: Family Nights – Members are allowed to bring their children in for a night of face painting, arts and crafts, reading, and more. Parents engage in child rearing education sponsored by the Department of Children and Families.
  • Tuesday: Men’s Space – Male members participate in group therapy that touches on issues specific to men in recovery.
  • Wednesday: Narcotics Anonymous – All members are welcome to join in official NA meetings onsite.
  • Thursday: Women’s Space – Female members participate in group therapy that touches on issues specific to women in recovery. Self-defense classes and knitting lessons are also offered.

“We have more fun in recovery than we ever did,” Earielo said about the many activities at the center.

If there is a budget surplus, members can decide on an additional activity or trip they’d like to take. In the past, members have opted for trips to Six Flags, Canobie Lake Park, the Hanover Theater and events including sober dances and karaoke nights. Everyday Miracles also enters a float for Worcester’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade every year!

Additionally, Everyday Miracles gives back to the community. Members collect winter coats for the homeless, host Thanksgiving dinner, pick up trash in public parks and maintain good relationships with city officials. Local politicians have come to count on them to give back in small but effective ways.

Each of our peer recovery support centers helps members build a solid foundation and relearn the life skills needed to succeed in recovery. For more information, visit http://www.everydaymiraclesprsc.org/ or give our other locations a call.

You can reach the New Beginnings Recovery Center in Lawrence at 978-258-4355 or visit http://www.newbeginningsprc.org/ and The Recovery Connection in Marlborough at 508-485-0312 or http://www.therecoveryconnection.org/home.html.

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