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Peer Recovery Center adds programs for family support and gambling addiction

“We know there are people who want and need help, but there is a shyness about walking into a facility – it takes a lot of courage,” says The Rev. Janice Ford.

The “facility” is the Opening the Word Peer Recovery Center at 10 Mechanic Street in Webster, which opened in August to address substance use disorder issues faced by its residents and those of the surrounding communities. Since then it has added a support group for loved ones of those in recovery and a Gambler’s Anonymous meeting.

The Rev. Ford, pastor of the Church of the Reconciliation (Episcopal) and a member of the Webster Opioid Task Force, is the Center’s director.

The Center is an outreach ministry of the church, but functions in collaboration with the Opioid Task Force and its chairperson, Police Chief Michael Shaw.

“Addiction is a community-wide problem that requires a community-wide resolution,” says Rev. Ford. “The Center is only effective if it is used by those whom it seeks to serve, and we need the community’s support in spreading the word regarding what it has to offer.”

She notes that being in recovery can be isolating, especially in the early stages. “It can be lonesome, so having a place you can be with other people who don’t judge or stigmatize you is important.”

Once a person makes the decision to go into recovery, they may have to find housing or a job, she says, and it’s easy to “fall off the track.” Peer recovery coaches at the Center can provide the support needed to stay on course.

They are volunteers who have received training in peer recovery coaching, which is meant to help remove barriers to recovery by providing referrals and other forms of assistance.

Four peer recovery coaches rotate during the hours the Center is open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In addition, the Center holds an All-Recovery meeting on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., a Recovery Bible Study on Tuesday evenings from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and a women’s support group on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The newly added support group for the family and loved ones of people in recovery meets on Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Gambler’s Anonymous meetings take place on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Peer recovery coaching sessions are available in Spanish as well as English.

The Opening the Word Peer Recovery Center receives no outside funding and currently functions with an all-volunteer staff.

The Center isn’t just for Webster – residents and families from surrounding towns are invited and welcome.  

For more information, call or text Pastor Ford at 508-330-8073.