A new resource center for people in recovery opened its doors in East Boston earlier this month that hopes to target the recovery community in Eastie, Winthrop, Revere, Charlestown and Chelsea.
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.
On Friday NSMH staff was joined by elected officials, members of the recovery community and Mass Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to cut the ribbon on Recovery on the Harbor.
“It was a really good turnout,” said NSMH’s Katherine O’Leary. “Everyone that stopped by on Friday loved it. It’s a nice big wide open space, it has really high ceilings, the acoustics are great, there’s various different rooms and there’s a garage door in the middle of the space so we can shut it and have completely different spaces and can have meetings on both sides if necessary.”
The only requirement for somebody to use this center is 24 hours of recovery and they have to be 18 years old or over. O’Leary said 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.
“Some of the sober homes in the area–East Boston Rehab the Recovery Home have already sent some people down to use the computers,” said O’Leary. “Meridian Houses have utilized the space and now we’re starting to get more interest from the sober houses. I reached out to all of the AA and NA meetings that were kind of displaced because of COVID and all of those meetings will start to be rejuvenated in that space. So all of the mutual aid groups that kind of went away will now have a new home. The former director of Meridian house is going to do the NA group that was at the Social Center on Friday nights and the women’s meeting will come back and do a Codependency Anonymous meeting on Thursday nights. There’ll be a parent support group on Monday nights. So there’s just all kinds of stuff like that and then we’ll see what the community and what the members want.”
Local business owner and leader in the recovery community Joe Ruggiero III will be hosting meetings in the space on Tuesday nights.
“Recovery on the Harbor is a fantastic resource for people in every phase of recovery from substance use disorder,” said Ruggiero. “Its leadership team is committed to the community, to helping people recover and connecting people. I wholeheartedly welcome them into the Orient Heights business community.”
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.
O’Leary said the space is not a hangout and not a place that someone can come to if they’re getting high. If somebody comes in and needs treatment then NSMHA 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.
City Councilor Lydia Edwards said she loved the concept.
“I love Recovery on the Harbor and it is exactly what we need,” said Edwards. “We need a special space the community that is uniquely bonded with this particular issue. I think it’s beautiful. I’m proud of them. I look forward to working with them and I look forward to helping in any way I can.”
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.
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].