Frank Santosus: The important role the Northampton Recovery Center plays

Published: 6/23/2019 8:00:16 PM

One year ago, a letter I wrote about my experience as a member of the Northampton Recovery Center was published in the Gazette. I wrote it on the occasion of the center receiving a United Way grant enabling it to move into its current location at 2 Gleason Plaza.

Prior to that, the NRC was using space generously donated by the Edwards Church. Most important to me personally was expressing gratitude toward the Edwards Church for its support of the NRC, a peer-driven center for people like me who are recovering from drug and alcohol use disorder and many other problems associated with the disease of addiction.

The center is also available to friends and family members who have been impacted by their loved ones’ addiction. The NRC provides members with a safe, supportive environment to inspire and maintain recovery. Several of our members have successfully completed training to be state-certified recovery coaches and peer advocates.

The center has also become a venue for groups like Al Anon, AA, meditation groups and other supports for people in recovery. The NRC is open 50 hours a week, mostly staffed by devoted members who volunteer their time to help others and support their own recovery.

This spring, the center applied for a much-needed grant that we hoped would stabilize our operations for years to come. There was considerable competition for this state grant and unfortunately the NRC was not among the recovery centers chosen for funding.

Approximately eight members, myself included, met last week to brainstorm ways to acquire funding. We plan to meet weekly. It was at this first meeting that we all realized the possibility existed that the NRC could possibly close.

The following day as I was in the center talking with my peers, a gentleman I’d never met walked in. He had a few contractor bags that contained his belongings. He had just been released from jail and was in search of resources such as shelter, food and mental health support. This happens at the center often — a person comes from jail or another facility seeking services and support. While the NRC does not provide these services, we welcome everyone and direct individuals to services that might help them.

I left the center that day thinking of that man coming to us as others before him have. I am glad we are here for people to have the opportunity to experience support for their recovery.

Frank Santosus

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