78: Recovery Café – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)

Today we have on guests from Recovery Café, a recovery model gaining popularity for it’s usefulness, and find out everything you could want to know about the program. Becky and Ethan join us from Clark County, Washington, to talk about all things Recovery Café. We find out what inspired them to join the Recovery Café movement, to have a huge part in bringing Recovery Café to their town, and how their program has grown. Becky and Ethan also answer all our questions about the Recovery Café program. We learn what Recovery Café has to offer, what to expect when you visit the café, how they help people gain access to needed resources in the recovery process, and so much more. This program welcomes all modalities of recovery under one roof. Our guests also tell us about the process of starting a Recovery Café in your own neighborhood, if you don’t already have one. This program works so well as a hub for persons in recovery, and fills a much needed gap in the medical treatment model that just sends you home after 28 days. Listen in and find out if Recovery Café is right for you. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

Here is the website for Recovery Café Clark County

Here is the website for the Recovery Café Network

Here is the episode on wound care

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason a guy in long term recovery and i’m billy i’m a guy in long term recovery as well i am just waiting for somebody to ask me to share a tradition for meeting in april because i feel like i got the insight from last week’s episode i’m like i got the fire now uh so today we’re going to talk to some people from recovery cafe uh a particular recovery cafe that is out in vancouver washington not vancouver canada vancouver washington whole other place yeah um yeah right next to oregon right so they’re gonna have all that uh all them people that have the free use of what is it free drugs in oregon it’s just not it’s not crowd-free drugs it’s just not criminalized right okay correct so all the people who who now through decriminalized activity can finally reach a point where they’re ready to do something different without law enforcement holding them up from getting there i don’t want to call it a bottom because i don’t believe we have to hit a bottom but you know they’ll get to that point now and they can run over the bridge to recovery cafe so yeah we’re going to learn all about it i didn’t know much about it i i thought it was like a coffee shop and i kind of laughed at that and and then come to find out it is kind of like a coffee shop yeah it’s a basically a place where people hang out for recovery that’s exactly what i’ve been saying we need something besides a 12-step fellowship that is the hub of recovery yeah and it sounds like that’s what they try to be a place for people that can come together that are in different paths of recovery just to hang out talk form a community yeah build relationships right hang on i’m i’m all i need a place like that honestly i need a place to go when my family’s driving me crazy that i can just get out of the house and it speaks right to you know if you haven’t heard it this guy johann hari did a ted talk that was the opposite of addiction is connection and i think that’s what they’re trying to do there they’re trying to build community you know of a bunch of addicts bringing them together for a stronger community i’m not saying that guy’s wrong but i often hear new versions of the opposite of something is something and it’s like something real bold and i’m like yeah i like it i’m like is it really but i don’t know that it’s true i just heard the opposite of faith is certainty not fear and i was like is it really yeah i don’t know i’m still i heard this like a week ago i’m still thinking about it so it must bother me

i don’t know but uh yeah so i mean look if recovery cafe was in my neighborhood there’s no doubt in my mind from what i’ve saw online uh that i would probably be there like i i like the idea i i think they might need to have hot tea like i love my coffee but i i i’m pretty strict about my two coffees a day because i don’t want to be one of them people that’s having like six and seven coffees a day because i feel like that’s unhealthy other fancy teas mochachi or matcha tea whatever no no no just black it’s green i can’t do all that thank you i tried a green tea i wasn’t happy with it and then i did a chai tea which was good but then it started upsetting my stomach so i just need to just need a black tea with some nice caramel flavor or something yeah so if they got tea i would just come by all the time and hang out and what i pictured at the recovery cafe is a place where i could go with sponsors to do like step work and change like they might have booths where you could get a little privacy i don’t know see i still feel like if other people are i still i feel like i need a closed room somewhere i don’t feel like i could do it in a booth no i don’t know even if you all are in recovery i don’t want you hearing my dirt i mean look i’m not my wife knows absolutely everything about my life i don’t keep anything from her even when i should i don’t like about her she knows it right i still don’t want her standing outside my door while i’m doing virtual therapy like it just feels weird i want to have the freedom to not be heard the freedom to not be heard that’s interesting yeah all right so enough [ __ ] let’s have these recovery cafe people who are we’re gonna have one becky and ethan and they’re gonna tell us all about it and then you guys can if you like it go out and explore recovery cafe for yourselves let’s get that happening there is one in washington dc that’s the closest one to this area all right so we’re here with becky and ethan from recovery cafe and they are in clark county is that correct yeah vancouver washington vancouver washington so welcome on the show guys thank you thank you so we’re going to talk about the recovery cafe and i wanted to give a little uh anecdote of what happened when i was kind of discovering you guys and and i don’t want you to take this the wrong way because it might come out the wrong way um but generally i was like oh recovery cafe that sounds like a coffee shop hahaha right and then i was like oh no but it’s it’s probably way cooler than that and more serious there’s probably like all these things and like this a la carte menu of all these nice cool ideas that people can come in and pick what they want for their recovery and then i got in touch with you and you sent me the video and i was like huh it’s a coffee shop right and then obviously since then like uh doing a little more exploration it’s obviously a lot more than a coffee shop but i think the simplicity of building a community of recovery around the coffee shop idea is beautiful right but it was funny how i just kind of went through this loop of like thinking i don’t know it was weird um but i i would like to hear more about maybe the basis of the program and how it started and how you guys got involved yeah definitely so um there was a small group a recovery the recovery coalition here in vancouver washington it’s the southwest uh southwest recovery coalition um they got together and they heard about this recovery cafe up in seattle washington and they wanted to check it out and see what it was about they did a bunch of um you know checking into it and investigating type of thing uh and we went up there as a group to see what they had to offer and as soon as you walked into the building up there you just felt the love and the camaraderie of everybody in the building and it was just amazing just walking through the front door but is where it started from was killian no she moved to seattle from the east coast and she was exploring with some other people there in seattle what how they could help people out what was missing what needed to be filled what kind of gap needed to be filled and they kind of came up with sitting around while drinking coffee well drinking coffee they came up with the idea and they started to check into you know what could be done and it was resources a lot of you know a lot of there’s a lot of recovery things out there but you know you got to go over here and you got to go over there and you got to go over here to get the resources why can’t we have it all in one building and have the resources and find the places and offer support the extra support that you know um aa is great and a great is great all those pathways are great but why can’t we offer a space where all those come together so as one and because that’s what everybody’s working for recovery right so why not do it all together so that’s what it kind of came about so we went up there there’s probably i think 12 of us maybe 15 went up there and checked it out and we said vancouver washington needs this and uh yeah just kind of started from there and there was just a group of us volunteering for a whole year trying to build this up and now it has exploded here in vancouver washington and we’re looking for a building yeah well that’s great so i i have to be honest i didn’t even know there was a vancouver washington i thought vancouver was in canada um and so that’s probably my own like terrible geography

the last stop before you had you hit oregon that’s so have you found your like losing people now that oregon’s uh or portland’s uh wide open for everybody isn’t that the no no they’re coming across the bridge still oh gotcha gotcha so washington is a really at least it seems from maryland it seems like washington’s a pretty forward-thinking state uh between washington oregon and and just over the canadian border we’ve talked to some people from up there and seems like there’s a lot of progressive ideas about what to do about recovery and substance use because i’m guessing it’s a big problem out there so it was a very big problem and um from what i have done research on washington has become kind of a um a recovery uh i don’t i don’t know what the word i’m trying to look for but they a lot of people are looking at washington now and saying oh what are they doing there it’s working what’s going on so there’s it’s different parts it’s here in vancouver it’s in seattle it’s over in spokane they’re looking at it and they’re saying they’re doing something to where people are starting to like change their lives around something’s happening there and what are they doing there so um yeah so that’s kind of what washington has been doing lately so but yeah it’s and it’s definitely needed so you think that you know well one day we ain’t gonna have people come through those doors that will never happen so unfortunately it won’t ever happen and is clark county is that like a more rural county or is that more metropolis type area

hold up did this dude just say metropolis he could have said city like urban metropolitan and he says metropolis okay it was rural it was the outskirts kind of a portland you know even though it was in washington and then in the last uh 25 years it’s just grown up and it’s becoming uh it’s kind of how people portland keeps growing and so people are finding other places to live me and becky once lived in vancouver back in the 90s and we moved 20 miles north to a little town called glama just to be on the outskirts of it but uh yeah so it was rural but now it’s become metropolis gotcha but i mean you see the same addiction problems in the rural areas as you are in the big cities yes yes yeah why don’t we right off the main line from canada to mexico so blocks away from it so huh that’s interesting do you think you’re on like a transport line of people smuggling drugs from mexico to canada or something and you’re a stop-off yeah there is a gentleman that has went all the way up and down the i5 and that’s how he pretty much does his his using i guess you could say is he just goes up and down you know he goes along with the seasons so once in a while he will show his face at the front door and i’m like well at least you’re still around you know they’re still right i know i’m getting us off topic but i’m like fascinated that there’s so much substance use in washington now i’m like is it because the weather i mean i hear seattle’s like rainy is everybody depressed so they’re all getting high or like what’s going on out there that’s probably this piece of it

oh goodness but we also i mean similarly we’re on the 95 corridor over here on the east coast so it’s like the main thoroughfare from miami up to new york so we are right on like a drug transport trafficking line and we’re a small royal county but i think in maryland we’re first or second in like heroin overdose you know and and opioid use and things like that because you know it’s so easy to get it’s right on the transport line and it makes it readily available it’s funny how you mentioned uh that you didn’t know about vancouver washington but you knew vancouver bc because we recently uh a cafe just recently opened up in vancouver bc so we’re when we tell people we’re like you know we’re all across the us and now we’re international but uh so i was on a call and one day and i it was with all the cafes and and i said you know well here in vancouver you know blah blah and the gentleman comes back and he goes i don’t know you and you’re not from vancouver and i said you must be the new guy from vancouver bc so but yeah we also have a cafe now up in vancouver bc so it’s pretty cool that’s awesome i i assure you i don’t know vancouver canada for any special reason except they have a sports team so i’ve heard of them like that’s i wouldn’t know outside of that so how many recovery cafes are there um so there is 26 i believe um some are they call them emerging cafes some are full members so um you go through the process of becoming a full member of the network because it’s a network and we’re all kind of under um an umbrella and so we have like a lot of the curriculum and everything that way it’s it stays connected the model stays connected and um so yeah i don’t i can’t remember how many emerging uh cafes are but there’s about 26 and they’re starting some more up too so are they all located in metropolitan type areas we were curious about that because we were like we should start one in our little cecil county maryland area but it’s super rural and spread out i was like that’s probably like a thing you do in cities um so like oregon yeah hoarding boarding valley which um we just had her here for training um the executive director from there it’s like they have one i think she said like one store and so i mean it’s a tiny place it’s a tiny town or and uh they have a cafe there that has been doing pretty good a lot of the cafes actually work out of either basements of churches and stuff like that or they do like little buildings off to the side and stuff so uh we were lucky enough to um get a bit a building of our own so gotcha there’s there’s quite a few that are kind of in small places though neat neat so we were we had mentioned the uh the franchising or kind of networking the way you go about getting into a part of this billy was talking about it with me before you guys came on and mentioning the the money and like that’s so tricky right because as a as a guy who’s always not trying to get sucked into a scheme right that’s that’s or money like i don’t want money to stand in the way from people being able to get help and yet at the same time i do completely understand wanting to have some boundaries on like hey if you’re going to use this name we want you to be for real we want you to be thorough and we want you to be serious about doing it the way we do it because this is what we believe in and what works and so how hard was that for you to to buy into that aspect of it when you guys decided to start yours i think it was easy uh in the sense that to keep the fidelity because we’ve seen some cafes that tried to do it then they went off on their own to do their own thing you know they they want to become homeless shelters and do all you know wanting to help and instead of being the resource agent the broker as you will uh they just started taking on some of those things and uh and there was one in in in our area with recovery coaches because that’s what’s based upon the c car recovery coach model and uh that didn’t follow the fidelity of the seattle network cafe and uh so we had to outlive that a bit you know it’s kind of like a an older brother that’s raising helen town and trying to do it the right way and so you got to outlive that reputation a little bit but we we’ve stood now that’s going on three years we’ve stood the test of time they’re not around no more and i think that we’ll always you know just like anything you’re always gonna have to deal with the good the bad and the ugly and something and try to be the good that’s awesome so what does it look like when you when you walk into the cafe right so i’m coming into your cafe obviously uh some of the rules you know i need 24 hours clean and sober um what is the first thing i encounter when i walk in so the first thing you’ll encounter is our um we call them our front door people um so you’ll be a greeter and so you’ll be asking you know oh are you here is it first time uh do you have a circle a recovery circle today because you know our greeters don’t know everybody that goes through the door um if they remember or not and will determine if you are visiting for the day or if you just want to know what the cafe is about if you just want to know what the cafe is about we just have you sign a little piece of paper um it’s not signing your life away if it’s just a little piece of paper with your information on it and then we hand you off to we call them recovery cafe companions and it’s people members that have been like with the cafe for a while and they sit with you and they talk to you about what the cafe offers what we have here um during lunch they walk you through the lunch line and you know you get your lunch and you sit down you just talk with them and you know find out what their needs are what they’re looking for um how can we support you is this gonna be for you you know and then we offer them to come back to our new member introduction which is usually on saturdays and um they just go through an hour of you know they um see a video of the seattle cafe what they have what they’ve done up there and then we talk to them about what our requirements are which are you know three things 24 hours clean and sober make sure you attend your recovery circle and give back to the community um and that’s pretty much it so and our recovery circles are pretty much support groups it’s an extra support group that you meet once a week with the same people so is the coffee free the coffee is free the food is free everything at the cafe is free anything in the door so is it just coffee or do you got like fancy drinks too we we have fancy drinks oh we have our own barista yeah it’s gonna say you need a barista for that i feel like i could like do some volunteer work for them and and stay way cheaper than i am at starbucks

and that’s what we do is some of our members um they have want you know well i’ve always kind of wanted to see what a barista is about and so we offer them training for barista we offer them um to get their food handlers card and work in the kitchen um so it you know people in recovery or some people don’t know how to do things and they want to learn so that’s what we’re here for is everybody and i’m not trying to throw anybody’s anonymity out there but is everybody that’s involved in the cafe uh part of the recovery movement or are there some people that maybe are just outsiders who want to help or believe in it yes there’s both there’s some of the outsiders believe it or not what’s neat about the recovery cafe is that you’re you’re in recovery when you’re saying you’re you’re in recovery but you’re on recovery with whatever you want to be in recovery for so you know or codependent some people alcohol drug addiction uh maybe some people had a heart attack and they’re they’re trying to get their health right uh getting so what everybody has a reason to be in recovery um you know and that’s what the recovery cafe believes and so it welcomes everybody so some people will come just being the outsider i’m just going to volunteer i want to do something pretty soon they’re like hey i think i’m into this you know i think i’ll get in a circle and check this out you know and so and there’s there’s actually some people that have no alcohol or substance abuse abuse disorder at all that facilitates circles that become recovery coaches and facilitate circles and and for me my recovery it was it was people without the lived experience that took the recovery coach class that actually helped me get clean and sober this last time when i say last time i mean the last time but but yeah and so i’m a recovery coach with lived experience but there are there were some that didn’t have the lived experience that took the class that are the ones that the reason i have success today so that’s interesting so we we are you know we’re kind of associated loosely with uh with a group around here called voices of hope um and they do a lot of stuff they have recovery coaching and peers that work here and you know the c car model like a lot of that’s familiar um conversation and and i think they do have a rule where you have to either have substance use or a family member isn’t that a thing or mental health so yeah there’s some kind of rule that they do for a volunteer or to be a member volunteer voices you have to either well they say recovery advocates too

it’s affected everybody or you know our mental health has somebody in their family so they have the lived experience but that you know a lot of times you hear well you know you hear meetings different types of meetings if you weren’t if you’re not recovering alcohol or drug addicts you can’t help people or they use the stigma the labels like normie which it’s just hopefully it’s outdated right now because it’s closer to me when people call someone out a normal group of people it’s just not right but because everybody’s been affected by this you know the mental health and the substance use disorder and and so i think everybody does have a lived experience but that’s meant anyways i’ll totally pretend like we haven’t referred to people as earthlings on our podcast uh whoops so do you find that most of the people that come to the cafe and and participate in the groups do you find that they also are members of other programs outside of that or do you find that for the majority they just do the cafe for uh for sure it’s it’s based on the c car model so it’s all about helping them find their path of recovery the recovery cafe is here to help them find their path of recovery whatever it is and so there probably are there are a few that this is enough for them but if it ever is not enough then we talk with them about that and ask them maybe there’s something else that and we point to all paths of recovery whether it be dharma smart recovery celebrate recovery aana anything that we can come find you know what’s nice about the recovery circles is it gives them a break a little bit of break from that it’s more this is all about community and connection so we’re going to come into a circle we sit and visit for 10 15 minutes and uh and then we answer these five five five or six questions six questions and uh and they’re just really they help you connect and the greatest thing that i saw about the cafe when i came was a part of it is i’m sitting here and i got a guy in a hardcore a over here i got this atheist guy over here the only reason i know he’s eighth is because there’s a celebrate recovery guy over here

and and he’s in smart recovery you know and then here’s me then i’ve tried everything because i didn’t was an addict and so i’ve tried them all in it and we’re connecting and there’s some community and there’s some conversation going and next thing you know these two guys are gonna go fishing and this guy’s gonna try kayaking with me you know what i mean and and so we take it out the door it’s it’s a it’s a place for it’s a hub for all people in recovery to come and build that connection that you don’t get like an a meeting unless you’re willing to hang out afterwards and drink some coffee with some people and a lot of people won’t do that but they’ll come in here and sit by themselves at a table and then here comes ethan over there in their world saying hey what’s up because radical hospitality is our model radical hospitality we’ll force you to be accepted here dammit i love it i i love that you use the word hub right and so we’ve been exploring all these different pairs while we’ve been doing this podcast and look i was an n a guy i break my own anonymity whatever i still am an n a guy i go to n a meetings but i really feel like n a has become the hub just because it’s the biggest one right and so people who really don’t want what n a has to offer are going there anyway because it’s what we hear and what we know and they want to meet other people in a recovery type lifestyle right they want to go kayaking with other clean whatever harm reduction people and na’s the only place they know to go and and lately i’ve been doing a lot of thinking and i just think n a is great as a program but we need a different recovery hub where everyone goes right we need a place where like you just described the smart recovery guy the aaa guy the na guy they can all go and find other people in recovery and it can be separate from their program right the program is great sure go work the 12 steps if that’s what you want but if you’re a guy that doesn’t fit in with the 12-step model and you just want to meet a bunch of other people we need somewhere else for that and that’s what i think i has been most attractive about looking into your program for me that’s what’s worked for me in my recovery i struggled for 43 years at different times in my life and uh this is what worked for me was this you know and it didn’t just work for me it helped me branch out to some of those other paths of recovery and one of them i didn’t want nothing to do with it one time and then now i go there you know so the cafe that helped me see that you know by asking open-ended questions and and and meeting people a good part instead of the bad and the ugly of that program you know so gotcha yeah and you start to realize that like recovery is sort of like you know i love to use analogies of like a a gym like everybody needs recovery it’s good for people and we just find kind of our own way that it works but that doesn’t mean we need to be kind of poo poo or be against each other you know you guys are in this fellowship so that’s different than us and we’re the right way and you’re the wrong way like that’s that’s old information like there’s too many people suffering out there now that need help that we really kind of can bridge those gaps and connect in a good place um something like you’re talking about like a place where people can come to form that community um yeah you treadmill guys are hurting your kneecaps you need to be on the ellipticals and no you all need the dumbbells it’s about the dumbbells like no we’re all working out right everybody’s working out everybody’s trying to get better it’s definitely when you walk in here you see unity and it’s just awesome to be able to to step out from the world for a second into a place of recovery and just be know that you’re safe and there’s nothing but unity around you it’s amazing just amazing this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org and consider donating to our calls yeah and one of the things we’ve noticed sort of i don’t want to say recently but we’ve been working on in this area is and i believe it talks about it in some of the recovery cafe uh information is like treatment and the medical system gets involved when people are in crisis you know and you can go and and cat someone when they’re in a crisis get them into a 28-day program and and then they get out if they’re lucky they might go to a halfway house or a recovery house or something like that but you know there hasn’t really been a really great place for them to go and like connect and become part of a community that they live in and i think having these recovery cafes gives us that that bridge there to connect people when they get out of treatment to their community and to find a connection there that you know a group of people that they can connect with that actually so we work with rainier springs treatment center and also lifeline treatment center um because they said that’s what was missing you know as soon as the um individual was done with their their you know their class or their you know treatment where do they go what do they do now and so we have actually went to rainier springs and we do a recovery circle there so that they kind of know what the feeling is when they come to the cafe what we have to offer and stuff so we’re kind of like following them right out the door with them so they’re not coming out the door going what do we do now they know come out the door and go to the recovery cafe and then you know we’ll work with you there and we help a lot of people like resourcing like housing and food and we have employment specialists here to help with getting jobs and then we have our one-on-one recovery coaches to help even more support and stuff so um like we said three years ago when we started this there was only um there ended up only being about probably about five of us that was volunteering and that was our staff that’s all we had and now we’re up to 16 staff and we also started with only three recovery circles and now we’re up to and that was like a week and now we do 28 recovery circles a week so um and yeah it’s amazing the progress and people people are wanting to get help you know i i think the the term grassroots i hope we come up with a new term because i hate the term grassroots for no real good reason it just bothers me but i i feel like that’s a lot of what we’re talking to is people who are seeing a need that the system has failed to fill and that’s where the help is coming i mean we talked to a guy last week who you know the hospital near us sucks and they treat substance use people really shittily

shittily adverb defined as not well and people don’t want to go there for help and so they’re just running around with wounds and losing arms and and he’s a nurse from a neighboring county who wanted to do something and so he got involved and he you know goes out and does wound care in the county for free and it’s like that kind of thing is trying to fill the void of what’s not there and which i think you just described for me is like the medical system has failed to have a long-term care model like there is no long-term care model hey we got you clean we taught you that addiction is like all in your brain and your body and your chemicals now go home to that traumatic place that you’ve been living your whole life well thanks that’s not very useful right i’m going straight back into all my triggers and all the people who push my buttons and and yeah we need something else we need something where people can go and and feel a sense of community and and be a part of we know that the disease of addiction if you believe in the disease model or or substance use it’s like it isolates people right we don’t have a community of people doing something else the only people i knew what i was using were other people getting high right when i got clean it was like well how do you meet people who don’t get high i thought everybody did i had no idea where to go and and for me that was where the 12-step program came in right but had there been something like this uh i’d have probably went for the better free coffee yeah and that was one of the things is um on the seattle uh there’s the video show for the seattle cafe they say the lady on there she goes yeah i come into this place and they offer you free food and free coffee you know i think there’s a there’s a connection there they’re trying to get you in with a hook but guess what it works right and as far as like our food our kitchen is amazing they make everything pretty much from scratch they work with the food bank in the um in the area and to get our food and they offer a full salad bar so because some sometimes these the people coming through the door this is their only meal they’re gonna get for the day and so we offered them you know a nutrition part plus also you know good you know today we had turkey noodle soup you know yesterday used a tacos so so do you have to be uh we were curious about that too do you have to be a member to come in and get the free meal is that part of how how it works so we we ask you to be a member when you come in to utilize the free stuff but at the same time i think we had four or five people show up today that you know we’re we’re on it’s we call it the um the corridor well the i5 corridor but the quarter the fourth plane corridor because this there’s a lot of homeless activity and stuff going on along here and we have big ol open windows that look right into the cafe when you see people walking by you i’m like oh they’re gonna swing around they’re gonna come to the door these food and we’re not going to turn nobody away um whether we send them out with you know some uh to-go thing to go out the door and stuff so and then we just give them a little brochure and tell them to come check out the cafe and see if you know it’ll work for them and stuff so right so for the most part you know we ask you to be a member to utilize the food stuff but we’re not going to turn somebody away yeah so what besides the food what other i guess i’ll call it services or or opportunities do you provide for people there yeah so you want to talk about that well there’s there is the school of recovery so we are recovery cafe clark county school of recovery and so there’s a school of recovery that just life skills that we teach we bring instructors in or we teach ourselves uh we brought the food bank in to teach people to cook healthy meals and and i took that class and i hadn’t cooked for years because becky’s a great cook she’s cooked here for she ran the kitchen for the first year and a half but i took the class and i took it with some members that i’d met when i first started because i helped open the cafe but i took it with them and it was just awesome to get to feel the empowerment next thing you know i’m going home and making dinner and you know chicken tucson was it chicken was it chicken it was a chicken pot pie yeah chicken pot pie so to be able to feel that same empowerment that they’re getting was awesome man and so the pandemic has shut a lot of the schooling the school recovery down but it’s starting to move right now right now there’s an art class healing arts and uh there’s two we got a member that teaches it every other week and then a staff that teaches every other week and they’re both in there teaching it right now and uh so yeah so anything that we can get we’re working on getting rent well and some other different classes in here and so the school recovery is a big one and then we also do fun stuff i mean we don’t just do let’s do students and stuff well which those are fun too you know we can make anything fun but like uh before the pandemic we got to we partnered with lifeline and cvab which is another um recovery outreach here and we got two big old buses and we filled them up with all of our members and everything we took them up to the mariners game up in seattle for the recovery um it was a recovery yeah recovery day so tons of people were up there uh just kind of support and recovery and stuff so and that’s what we offer to the members for free we do ice cream socials we do um hands across the bridge we try to make sure we do a lot of fun stuff we do a recovery forum so every year we there’s probably about i think well before the pandemic there was like 200 at the recovery forum and they give do like a raffle tickets and stuff like that me and ethan aren’t allowed to do it anymore because we win every time so uh i know how to play so but we do we try to do a lot of fun stuff because we don’t want to just say you know recovery is just learning and here you go here’s some books here some classes we want to do fun stuff and we also so the recovery cafe also is 18 and over so because we don’t ask people for their background so as they come through the door so we don’t know what their background is and if they could be around you know people under 18 so that’s why we say 18 and over but at the same time we want people to let their families know what they’re doing here so we do have a family night and only people that are um allowed to and everybody who’s respected that we have not had one problem with it whatsoever but uh we turned this whole place into kind of like a little arcade we do like uh a nerf thing a mini golf darts we set up games and everything and that way that they could bring their families in karaoke oh yeah karaoke can’t forget so uh but yeah and we show them what we do here it let the families come and see what we do do you card people no okay so you have to be 18.

i’m curious do you find that people come mostly just for their group uh and and if they need anything else or do people just tend to sit in the cafe all day long and hang out like in and out like this guy’s here for six hours and somebody else might come in and hang out with him for a few hours and the first guy leaves or is it like a crowd there all the time uh well before the pandemic we because we also have like computers that people could utilize and stuff so we’ve had people come here and just some some will come and do their schoolwork and uh because it’s kind of quiet in the late afternoons uh and then that’s when we also have our classes like our art class and stuff is in the later afternoons so um yeah people we’ve had people come in here and just sit all day uh they say it’s because it it feels safe or you know they’re having a really tough day uh they’re having a lot of triggers going on and so they swing in here and they’re like hey i just want to hang out with you guys for a while is that okay we’re like yeah of course so of course you know we might throw a broom in your hand or you know do something right so but yeah uh there’s a few people that come in and uh there’s one one gentleman he comes in every single day so he utilizes the computer and stuff so that’s awesome yeah all right so i gotta ask this question i i’m not gonna lie i’m a little nervous um oh i’m nervous 20 24 hours clean uh how what what’s the recovery cafe view of suboxone and methadone all past recovery you’re in recovery when you say you’re in recovery so yeah it’s uh i think uh yeah methadone isn’t a big one that they use down here in clark county but i’ve known members that have uh i know members and others volunteers and such that that uh are in the map program and uh use some lesson for their recovery so yeah it’s we’re all in we’re all in for recovery oh thank god i was i was nervous

i almost said it earlier uh about how na’s not accepting a people in suboxone then i was like well i don’t know if they are either i better not say that but no that’s great man that’s great yeah um and and i think that goes back to that original point i was making of needing a recovery hub outside of a 12-step program or any program that’s got an opinion on what recovery looks like it’s just got to be something else because that’s not for everybody right and i i like the idea that everybody can come here you can get a coffee you can hang out you can come there on friday night if you got nothing can you come there on friday night are you open at night not yet okay but it’s in the works it’s in the works it is it’s in the works and then uh youth and families in the works too so we’re growing fast that’s awesome so do you would you ever rent out a room to a different program is that a thing like yep we do we have a recovery 360 which is a aa group come here in fact i’ll be here this evening and then we have um aha which is heroines anonymous they come in here twice a week we have dra dual recovery anonymous comes in here um we did have uh smart or not smart recovery uh darla dharma used to come in yeah we we uh offer the space and stuff for people to utilize so if you know why not we’re not using it at that time so we’re not just going to let it sit and go to waste when people could use it so that’s awesome and i think i just learned about new programs that i’d never heard of before yeah i don’t know like dual recovery anonymous i don’t know if i knew it i’m guessing it’s mental health yeah yep i don’t even know if i knew there was heroin anonymous to be honest with you i knew that one i didn’t know the dra i hadn’t heard

yeah we need to learn more about this stuff so have you found any pushback from the community like the recovery community at all has there been any naysayers any what you’re doing is not good for what word we want or any of that i think we we have a little bit in the beginning but it’s all gone now you know and one is that you know we have members that are on the registry and uh so that was i remember and then somebody that didn’t like it i think they post on some kind of forum or something and and uh but we’ve uh we don’t do background checks so they must do the background check and they actually sat outside across the street and watched and i think is how they fit that i think that’s what it was but first it was just in the beginning you know the but part of recovery coaching is rolling with resistance right imagine being creepy enough to stalk somebody to point out that they are on the registry and went into a building they need a registry for that what the heck yeah now i’m i’m thankful for that too because i i don’t know that’s like a personal thing to my heart people in the registry it really bothers me that there is a registry like i’m just i can’t believe we can’t give them the sentence they need and then let it go like that just really hurts my heart that people have that their whole life i mean it’s awful some of the crimes that are committed i’m not trying to like advocate for anything awful to go on but i just hate that there’s no you never get to clear your name and i don’t like that um what about outside the recovery community was there pushback in the neighborhood you’re in or anything i know a lot of places around here want to start like everybody’s like yeah we need recovery resources and then they’re like oh cool we’re going to put it in the place down the street from you and they’re like oh no not here i meant like in the other neighborhoods i think i think we were kind of um i guess less because there’s right down the road is where uh the lifeline treatment center is and so that was kind of already here but um i don’t think we’ve really gotten any pushback from the neighbors or anything like that so of course we do offer neighbors free coffees

we we have people coming to volunteer from drug court or whatever we don’t have anything we have them clean our you know the restaurant next door’s parking lot or whatever we can and uh and you know on a slow day me and uh one of the covet monitors sweeney we’ll walk next door and check out this gaming store right here or go over here and check these get to know these people say here we are you know it’s that community uh involvement is we like to partner with anybody we can and and i think that’s crucial and and a very good lesson learned often is that when we are in the recovery community people have pushback against us before they get to know us right and look having a recovery resource in a community is something crappy going to happen at some point probably right but how many good things are going to happen too and how many positive interactions are we going to have to mitigate that one crappy thing that eventually you know happens everywhere unfortunately whether it’s a recovery place or not so and when you talked about you know people having the because people got labels and stigma right and so the thing that i loved about the c car model is that it takes away it just kind of peels back a little bit of that stigma and the labels as you take the class you know i’ll be honest when i first would start taking the class and they talked about harm reduction i’m like you’re either in recovery or not in recovery come on you know and so but when i started taking the class and learning all this stuff and then it started making sense to me i’m like oh you know let them take that little step and then they’ll take another little step and another little step so yeah there’s such such thing as harm reduction it is good so yeah it helps take away those stigmas and labels that people have out in the community and stuff so absolutely i think billy and i kind of both at some point in our recovery had that same mindset right like no you’re either clean or you’re not and and and doing that is actually going to keep you from getting clean because you’ve got the easier softer way and just being outside of that 12-step model hearing other things learning more information i don’t know just just know right like if you can save a life today why not if your life is a little bit better today why would you continue to be miserable for longer like it just doesn’t make nothing about that old idea i had makes any sense to me today so i’m all for support of whatever works right if your life is better today god damn it do whatever that takes to get that because we you know how long do we live like don’t waste days being extra miserable because i don’t want to open my mind right you got it right there so if if people walk in you know whatever and join coming off the streets and join are they assigned a group like a recovery circle do they get to pick that and then same with the recovery coach like do you guys assign them a recovery coach or is that something they kind of feel out and and decide which things they want to try or do i’ll answer the coach part becky’s in charge of the circle part but as far as recovery coach we just we whoever identifies that they need one just kind of qualifies it lets them know it’s not gender specific and and lets them decide and if they don’t want to decide then we flip a coin no then we staff it and figure out what’s up and circles as far as the the circles uh when they come in and do their new member introduction we just talk about what day works best for them um we like i said we have circles throughout the whole week we have them in the evenings and stuff so we ask what day works for them and you know why we’re sitting there talking with them we kind of get to know them just a little bit so we kind of know what facilitator might kind of work a little bit better with them so we’ll be like oh you’re going to be in so-and-so’s circle oh and so and then like if you’re assigned let’s say tuesday at one o’clock with uh we don’t have one but a gym then that’s who you go every tuesday one o’clock you meet with jim and usually about eight other people in the circle and you just talk about we ask them to answer six questions which is um how are you doing today what can you celebrate what are your struggles or your challenges uh what have you done to nurture your recovery this week what is your goal for the week and how can we support you in that goal so and then of course we just keep on talking about you know you know oh i need help moving my bed or you know something like that it’s but it’s also to help hold them accountable and um with going to their circle once a week we do take attendance so if you do not go to your circle for like four weeks in a row and we haven’t heard from you then we just drop you from that circle so it leaves a spot open for somebody that’s willing to go every single week uh let’s say um dave doesn’t come in for four weeks straight and we haven’t heard from him but on the fifth week he shows up and he’s like hey i know i haven’t been here but i want to get back in we just kind of fast track him sit down talk to him about where he’s been what he’s been going through and then we put him in either a different circle we’ll put him back in his circle if there’s opening and stuff so once you remember you’re always a member here so um we don’t take you away from membership at all so there’s no way to get kicked out yes there is well not no no there’s not but we have a couple times we did have to ask some people to seek out a little bit of mental health

show us a little bit of proof and then we let them back in so there really is no way to be kicked out unless i guess not yet anyways so yeah we think there’s only been twice in the three years that we’ve been open that we’ve had to utilize that where we’re like hey we think you could use um go and talk to somebody you know with your mental health and stuff show that you have been doing these steps come back with you know a paper and we’ll let you back in the cafe until then we have to keep this space safe for everybody so um you know yeah we asked for commitment and growth and uh but you know you there’s a self-driven recovery model but it we meet people you know our shirt our shirt here let’s see like turn around it says we meet people can they see it i’ll put them down we meet people where they’re at but i mean to be to be true to what we’re doing we shouldn’t leave them there and so that’s that’s where we’re at with that growth part and commitment yeah putting it on my bucket list i want to be the first person to get kicked out of recovery i don’t really well and and working with a local recovery organization here like you like you say you see a lot of and i hate to call them frequent flyers but people that kind of come in and out and and that need a lot of help you know they need a lot of support and they can tend to make things rough sometimes but same here it’s like the doors always open and they’re always welcome to come back and you know it’s it can be tough though it is and so i believe you have like the service obviously you’re doing the recovery groups on site and i think you do like some employment coaching on site as well and is that like the general gist of what you do and the rest is resourced out to other local um organizations yeah uh so for the most part we we actually have a we call him and i was hoping he was going to be on here but he’s our resource guy so um he pretty much checks throughout the community what’s going on what kind of resources are there and then he fills up a file cabinet so that you know somebody comes in they’re like hey i need housing we go straight to the thing pull out of the file here you go we got housing this is what’s offered this is what’s open uh i need food he figures that out rent well classes all that stuff full-time job to be a resource broker i mean as a recovery coach i work for lifeline for two and a half years as a recovery coach for outpatient and any any time down time i had i was seeking out resources and it’s a full-time job because they they fall out and the new ones pop up and you don’t want to give your recovery a bad resource so at the cafe which is cool we got charles so he’s just he’s checking them all the time and do you guys find people coming to seek access to treatment or more after they’ve been through treatment or both i i would say both so we we do get a lot of people that have likes from rainer springs lately we’ve been getting a lot of people from there showing up and stuff but we have um today we just had somebody show up and said hey you know i’m looking for treatment what do you have to off you know what’s there to offer in this i just moved here what do you have to offer so and we keep that on file also uh we have contacts for like different like rainier springs we have a phone number we could call them and say hey we have so-and-so here can we refer them to you guys do you have a bed open and so that way we’re not just you know handing them a piece of paper and say go check out lifeline go check out rainier we could actually call the people and say hey do you have something open can we send them there so we know we’re sending them to somewhere they can get help gotcha and so uh we know how tied in mental health is with substance use right we don’t know exactly what it does but we know it’s very very tied in frequently for for a lot of people and i think one of the challenges is getting quality mental health services for people that don’t have insurance which is our basically entire substance use community almost um there’s like some resources available but they’re not really the ones you want to be at unfortunately is that different like in your locality and and how how easy do you find it when you have people who come and say look this is the resource i need i really need better like mental health services is that available for people that don’t have insurance out by you and and can you find that for people yeah i actually uh just about a couple months ago i uh i would recover coach someone here and i went i went to lifeline and to the admissions and uh and which was really cool because he threw the clipboard down three times because he was frustrated and that’s what’s cool about lift experience because i’ve been there been that guy that didn’t want to fill out paperwork and stuff but he filled out the financial aid part of it and then told and then they also uh helped him apply for a medical right there and just but he wouldn’t have done that if someone wouldn’t walk with him through the process and and sat down with him three times after he threw the clipboard and now he’s getting help there so awesome i think there’s more than just there’s a few places that take pretty good medical around here um and like ethan says they’ll actually there’s a few that will sit down and do you know try to fill out the medical with you so you could try to get medical if you don’t have medical yeah so uh the building down the road right on five it’s what half a mile from us so it’s a it’s a federal building but lifeline connections which is a big treatment center in washington but it’s about southwest washington it rents a lot of it then there’s cbab which is another recovery support system like recovery cafe that specializes in mental health versus substance use and so they have a clinical hub right down the road which helps them do that and so they have peers at cvap so a lot of times we just appoint people i think you’ve even walked halfway and met up here halfway and handed them off and they’ve handed people off to us and so they help them get medical they get them on a computer and help them get their medical and the inpatient treatments right across the hallway from uh cbob yeah that’s important i mean having that like say that person there to help walk through those things and and just to be a peer to go through some of those difficult challenges with access to mental health access to medical treatment is really important you know so that’s good work i’ll try to phrase this tactfully but how do you offer all these things for free you know where do you get money for all this yeah

so our organization operates mostly off grants that’s why i ask it’s mostly grant funded and you know that seems to be where the money is didn’t know if you knew where the secret money tree was that we could find right he’s right over there

so no we um so we’re part of the network the cafe network and so they do offer some funding and stuff and grants that you could you know apply for through the recovery cafe network but um so i’ll be honest i think the first year and a half two years we’re we’re struggling a little bit you know with it but um we ended up getting an amazing grant writer and so uh he does some amazing grant writing and has brought us up pretty good and took care of us so yeah it’s all through grants and people you know donating and stuff but we also have it’s called atr we call atr it’s access to recovery um so it’s a funding through the county we voted a certain amount of our tax dollars to go to it in clark county and so a lot of like the housing and stuff like that if they uh get funding through theirs through atr and stuff so and then soar so we hired the grant the grant writer for the recovery cafe he worked for the network and we heard that we were looking for executive director and uh he applied and always snatched him his name’s vince collins he’s the executive director of recovery cafe clark county gotcha i i want to move to a county where they put that kind of amendment on the voting bill i’m like so jealous we’re in an incredibly conservative county i grew up in a town like that i get it

there is a cafe uh in

dc that i know they talk about having struggles and stuff like that of trying to get funding that’s crazy i would just think that the bigger metropolitan areas would have a they’d have the funding and b they’d have a billion people there that wanted the resource because it’s there’s so many people in these larger cities that are struggling with substance use i think it all depends on how people are uh i don’t know applying for it maybe i don’t know and just on on a better note with the the money stuff i mean you mentioned you have some community partners that you’ve worked with so obviously it seems like some of the businesses or organizations in the area do support the recovery cafe yeah definitely um so like with uh c-vab and um with we even have a it’s a faith-based it’s a church down the road and stuff so they help support us just by and you know offering our members to go there and utilize their space or uh to be honest we’ve kind of been helping them i think got this amazing grant writer it’s amazing to see we just can’t we just showed up you know i had a year and a half clean and sober and i heard about a group of people that were going to start a cafe and what i heard was i was just trying to do a recovery activity every day there was people in recovery and i showed up and and i just kept showing up every day and they just kept showing up and and that’s what we are today is you know a group of committed people in recovery all walks of life all paths of recovery just coming and meeting and uh this is what we’ve built so hear that listener if you have a recovery cafe and this sounded appealing and it’s in your area go hang out there and get involved and if you don’t go start the damn thing you got it there you go and what’s the website people can visit to learn more about recovery cafe or or your specific recovery cafe even uh so it’s recoverycafecc.org is our website so if they go on the recovery cafe network um it will actually they will see where all the cafes are from there’s like a map on it shows where every one of the cafes are offered and stuff like that so and it also the recovery cafe network um website has if you are interested in starting a recovery cafe because they will help you get a recovery cafe started in your area and they’ll work side by side with you so and they are amazing they don’t just say okay here you can have the title go for it they actually walk step by step through with you and any struggles you have they help you out so they’re an amazing amazing bunch of people so that’s awesome well i can’t thank you guys enough for coming on i learned something i definitely think this is something i would be interested in i mean i i don’t know that i have the ambition to run out and start anything i’m not going to lie i’m pretty lazy but like in general if they had one i would go i’d be a member yeah yeah i would probably yeah i’d be all in i like the idea i like the concept and and i love the way it’s it’s a non-judgmental recovery hub for all and yeah go out and have your programs outside of that but like just come hang out maybe we’ll go kayaking maybe we’ll you know like you were talking about go fishing together whatever just a place to do things without the old haunts right that’s right exactly that’s about connection yeah well thank you guys so much and i really appreciate you taking the time out to tell everybody about it okay yes and thank you for all your hard work i know it takes a dedicated team to build something like that so thank you for showing up and sticking with it yeah well thank you guys for what you do getting the word out i really appreciate it absolutely becky ethan have a good week okay all right thank you bye

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