By David Uhl
Have you ever had a flight canceled when you really needed to be somewhere or the logistical details of a trip just not work out? That is what happened to two organizations that were supposed to join us in April for the Cohort 5 launch.
Brighter, Behavioral, Choices Inc., NFP in Chicago, IL and Recovery Café Lafayette (in Lafayette, IN) had unexpected problems prevent them from joining their fellow cohort members Indianapolis, IN; Kitsap, WA; and Lexington, KY.
To keep their momentum going, RCN held a special Cohort Launch to welcome them and begin walking alongside them in implementing the Recovery Café model in their communities. In Seattle on July 10-11, there was even a video call where they were able to meet the rest of Cohort 5 virtually and learn together about community asset mapping.
We are excited for them both to join RCN and continue RCN’s growth in the Midwest.
Rachel Driggs cares about you. As a person in recovery, a nurse, an incredibly giving and charitable individual, and perhaps most of all as a survivor, Rachel puts other people as a priority. “[In Recovery] we don’t let anybody go. We always offer help.”
Rachel first came to recovery from a medical ailment that impeded her ability to work. “I could not work. I could not support myself anymore. And I moved back home with my Dad. And I started to drink, a lot. I hated not having my life the way it was…I had this anger in me.” She decided that a life with other people was more important than a life bent upon destruction. “It’s taken a lot to let that anger go, to let the drinking go. Now I look forward to going to dialysis, because I know how much it helps. I look forward to my 12 step group. I really look forward to spending time at the Recovery Café because everyone here is absolutely beautiful.”
Rachel first came to Recovery Café Spokane from the event Hands Across the Falls, an event put on every year by the folks at RCS and Community Minded Enterprises where the recovery community comes together for a day of visibility and solidarity. “I was in treatment at a facility, and I made a really good friend there. And she was being discharged just before the Hands Across The Falls event was going on. And she really wanted to go…[There] I met Georgia Butler and Kathy Thamm for the first time…so I became a member right after the Hands Across the Falls.”
Rachel, a stalwart supporter and mainstay of the Recovery Café, finds the people to be the thing that keeps her coming back. She also finds what resonates most with her aside from the beautiful people she has come to know are the guiding principles the Café network is founded upon. “But what really attracted me to the Recovery Café was the guiding principles. I love those principles so much…no matter how someone has lived their life or not lived their life here, it’s not judged, and it’s just a beautiful place to be.”
Since coming to the Café, Rachel has learned key aspects about herself. “It’s okay to have weaknesses. I was raised to be a perfectionist. Here it’s okay to not be perfect and not be judged. I’ve learned it’s okay to relax.”
Rachel is a centerpiece to the Recovery Café of Spokane and has been a member continuously since 2017.
By David Uhl
Since joining the first cohort in June 2016, the Recovery Cafés in San Jose, Everett, and Spokane have been working hard to implement the Recovery Café model in their communities. For both San Jose and Everett that journey began before the Recovery Café Network (RCN) was formerly launched. For Spokane, they visited Recovery Café Seattle several times before RCN was created and were quick to join the first cohort.
We are excited to announce that hard works had paid off and each of these three Cafés graduated to Full Membership! After each Café completed their self-study on how they were living out the RCN Core Commitments, this winter we visited each Café as part of our evaluation process. We were blown away by their space, their team, and their embodiment of the Recovery Café model’s essence. We found ourselves affirming their efforts and celebrating their hard work. At the end of the process, we wrote up a report that they could share with their board full of affirmation and areas of growth. We have been humbled to have walked alongside them since June 2016 and look forward to walking alongside them for years to come.
“We are proud of each of these Recovery Cafés for their commitment to responding to the need in their communities by offering a place of support and transformation. Our hope is that these healing communities of belonging will become the norm in the way we respond to addiction and other mental health conditions in our country,” stated Killian Noe, Recovery Café Seattle’s Founding Director.
“Full membership in the Recovery Café Network realizes our dream of becoming a healing space for people on the margins, people who are yearning for being wanted and needed in community. Full membership means for us that when we tell people you don’t have to be alone, we have a structure and a staff to communicate that message, to hold people as they heal and grow, with intention and the backing of an organization that thoroughly and reflectively developed the Recovery Café model. We’re excited to be a part of a Network that will continue to learn together, and mentor Emerging Members of the Network.”
Now that San Jose, Everett and Spokane are Full Members, they living out the RCN Core Commitments in new ways. Building upon what they learned as Emerging Members, we are asking them to share their wisdom in new ways. Over the next year you will notice Full Members playing a larger role in the life of RCN in ways big and small. They may present at a training, host a RCN event, or share their expertise in ways we haven’t thought of yet.