Names, stereotypes don’t help those needing help

Community leaders meet to discuss how we lack drug and alcohol treatment providers in Sheboygan County.

They discuss the long wait times to get into treatment programs. They analyze needs assessments to find gaps in the treatment system. They admit some of the programs are not culturally diverse.

These leaders are asked to find money to create more treatment programs, hire more providers and change a system to be more “patient friendly.” These community leaders are well-intentioned and hard-working, but may be too focused on the problem and not the solution. I am one of these leaders.

In my years of working with communities on alcohol and drug issues, I was looking at the problem and prevention — never recovery. There is a recovery movement. It involves people standing up to say: “I’m in recovery. It’s hard work, it takes a long time, but I am succeeding. I’m taking my life back.”

They were once called alcoholics, addicts, potheads, losers, lazy and criminals. But where did that get them? Us? How were those names and stereotypes helping people who wanted help? They didn’t. Instead, people who are in recovery are teaching us what it means to be a person who has an addiction, not that they are the addiction.

I havejumpedwithboth feet into the recovery movement and its world of hope and inspiration. I am hearing about problems from the recovery side and talking prevention with people who do not want to use again. I’m energized to find a solution that promotes recovery as part of successful treatment and a place where people can find it. Enter 1907 Club.

Comments from the over-worked, not-paid, stressed-out club president: “We are the only place that is open 365 days a year for someone in danger (of using) to just feel safe and think. I had a girl come in to just sit on the floor to talk to me for an hour while I was painting. An opiate addict who just needed somewhere to go on a Sunday where she knew she would be safe until shecouldgetherheadon straight again. She wasn’t on the verge of using, but just needed to talk to someone. That is why I do what I do to keep this place afloat. When I was early in recovery, I had no clean friends, no job, no place to ‘be’ and was afraid of myself. It gave me comfort to just be here where I knew no dealers would be and where I could just breathe and get my head back on straight.

Our meetings and other events can use help. There is something about just being in the building knowing youhaveaplacetogoandit will be OK. Thousands have passed through these doors and have been given a new life. The power and hope of all of those before me remains somehow in the air.”

The event Recovery Rocks! at 1907 Club, 2908 N. 21st St., Sheboygan, will run 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. It will be a day to get educated, informed and inspired. Visit for the full schedule.

MaryAdele Revoy is the drug free community grant coordinator for Sheboygan County