The Turning Point Center in Rutland tries to help people leave behind their addiction by creating peer-support groups that help people “where they’re at,” said the center’s director, Tracie Hauck at a meeting of Project VISION on Thursday.
Hauck said she wanted to come to the VISION meeting because there hadn’t been a lot of representation from the center at the VISION meetings and she wanted to share what staff at the center has been doing, what’s new and what other programs they would like to add.
All of the center’s recovery coaches, David Carlson, Kris Harvey, Lewis Nielson, Tonya Wright and Hauck introduced themselves and talked about their roles in the nonprofit that offers peer-recovery support but not treatment.
Hauck said all the coaches are in recovery themselves, though it is not a requirement.
“My recovery started by coming to the Turning Point Center for my first (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting. That’s how I became involved there and that’s when it became an important part of my life and my recovery. Didn’t really plan on becoming director but it sorta fell in my lap and I just rolled with it,” Hauck said.
Hauck said she wanted Rutland residents to know the organization’s services, from recovery groups to providing Narcan and Narcan training, are free for clients.
Reaching people where they are includes a support group for families of people who are in recovery from their addiction.
“The attendance started out great when we first started it. … The interchange and the exchange of information that went on was amazing. I really want to spread that word that we’re not just there to coach people who have suffered from substance use disorder but we’re also there to help family members, help them navigate, help them understand,” she said.
Other programs include a support group for women and a recently-ended six-week program that looked at the role of spirituality and its role in recovery, which may continue.
Another group is for people who are receiving medically-assisted treatment, or MAT, which is called Medically Assisted Recovery Anonymous, or MARA.
Turning Point coaches work with inmates at the Rutland jail, Sanctuary House and Mandala House.
Hauck said she participates in the Rutland City Police Department’s overdose response team, reaching out to people who have been revived from an overdose so they can provide information about local services that are available.
The center also offers health activities like yoga and recreational activities like softball that allow people to take part in a setting where alcohol and drug use are strongly discouraged.
“We’re supportive of multiple paths of recovery and if you know of anybody who’s in early recovery, they got 90 days clean and they don’t know what to do with the time on their hands, they’re welcome to come down to the center and volunteer,” Hauck said.
After Hauck put out a request for people who would be willing to serve on the Turning Point board of directors and recovery coaches, Wright pointed out that while the current coaches are all in recovery, it’s not a requirement for those who would want to serve as recovery coaches.
“You just have to have some kind of knowledge of it, like having a family member or someone close to you who had struggled with substance abuse,” Wright said.
Among the recent additions to Turning Point’s programs is a marijuana support group, Marijuana Anonymous, that was scheduled to meet for the first time on April 14.
A flier advertising the group addressed the question, “Who is a marijuana addict?”
“We who are marijuana addicts know the answer to this question. Marijuana controls our lives, We lose interest in all else. Our dreams go up in smoke. Ours is a progressive illness, often leading us to addictions to other drugs including alcohol. Our lives, our thinking and our desires center around marijuana — scoring it, dealing it and finding ways to stay high,” the flier said.
Upcoming programs that are planned for Turning Point include sending a recovery coach to a local emergency department in cases of overdose and participation in a Rapid Access to Addiction Medication or RAAM program.
Hauck said she would like to start a program for new mothers in recovery but didn’t have the available space at Turning Point’s current State Street location. She said Turning Point has outgrown its site and while she wants to stay close to their current site, she hoped to get some suggestions of available locations.