Fourth Community Forum Focuses on Addiction and Recovery | News, Sports, Jobs
The main courtroom at Marietta City Court was packed with nearly 50 participants on Wednesday for the fourth community forum on addiction and recovery in the past year.
The topic of this forum: Peer recovery support.
“Recovery involves many stages”, said Municipal Court Judge Janet Dyar Welch opening the forum. “And we could congratulate ourselves on how many people we convinced to go into residential treatment, but how many would fail on discharge… The key we realized we were at risk of missing was follow-up. “
Welch said follow-up, however, needs to come in a more accessible and achievable form rather than authoritative, like the roles of probation officers and the legal system.
She stressed the need for a lived experience, to break down barriers and to double the language of those in the spirals of drug addiction.
“One of those women I once told her I wouldn’t let her out of jail because what if I wake up the next day to read her obituary?” “ Welch recalled, before presenting three models of this lived experience, now in recovery and currently working to meet and support addicts wherever they are in their journey.
Peer recovery support specialists Abby Roach, Shay Dunn and Andy Martin shared bits of their stories on Wednesday.
Roach, with a history of felony charges stemming from heroin addiction, is now in recovery and works for Life and Purpose Behavioral Health.
Dunn, with a long history with the municipal probation service, is now under contract with the same service and teaches recovery courses.
Martin, with a minimal criminal history, said he had battled drug addiction for 16 years and was also under contract with the probation service as a peer recovery support specialist.
“I was a trash can, I took anything” Martin explained. “But now where we are, here we are a peer, a friend, and some people choose God, some people choose a 12-step program, some work best with individualized guidance. For me, I tried many different paths until I found what helped me.
And all three shared how their lived experience, in the same depths of addiction as many in the room, or their family members, could be both a strength and a hope.
“When I was in an active addiction, I only surrounded myself with other people who used to use drugs, so I thought you were on drugs and I thought you were living this life until it killed you.” Dunn explained. “But now recovery is our whole life. “
All three work in a capacity similar to other on-call areas, but the state has recognized their lived experience as a qualification worth investing more in training.
All three are graduates of state certification endorsed by the Washington County Behavioral Health Board.
“It was 16 hours of online lessons, then a 40 hour in-person training”, describes Roach.
The training armed them with translation tools to understand the different stages of crisis and addiction in a way that could be communicated to both providers and addicts.
“This is the missing link” Roach continued.
The three were strewn with questions from those who gathered at the forum, with many parents losing hope their loved ones would still use it.
But they’ve also been praised by others working to stay sober.
“It gives me hope” said Seth Barnes, 27, of Marietta. “I only have two weeks of rehab and 97 days of abstinence and seeing them reach out and be that support, that’s what I need.”
Barnes said that over the past two years he has struggled with methamphetamine addiction and for four years with alcohol.
“But I finally got to the point where something had to change, and I took treatment and started to learn to think better.” he said. “But it’s always difficult, even when you have people you love who want to help you but don’t know what to say. Have someone like Shay and Andy, they’ve been there, and they know how to talk to you when you’ve got a broken mind.