Finding the Helpers: Recovery Cafe forced to move support meetings online

SPOKANE, Wash. — Face-to-face meetings and human support are what people recovering from drug or alcohol addictions need. With the spread of the coronavirus, that’s not possible. Recovery Cafe Spokane had to close down the building, suspending its in-person meetings.

For an hour a week, chairs in a room at Recovery Cafe are usually filled with people working on themselves, recovering from alcohol or drug addiction.

It’s a place Angelic Ewing depends on for her recovery from opioid and methamphetamine addiction.

“This is to me an essential place,” Ewing said, referring to the Recovery Cafe. “This is an essential service, it helps keep my recovery and my emotional and mental well-being in place.”

She was happy staff with the Recovery Cafe answered the phone today. Staff were giving members and others in the community sack lunches along with a pair of socks. Lunch is usually given to members during their in-person meetings, but that had to be moved to to-go sack lunches.

“We’re really just trying to hear what the community needs right now,” said Christine McMackin, the manager of the Recovery Cafe.

That need is food, support and meetings.

“We’re also calling people everyday. Some people might need a little added extra support. We’re making sure we’re contacting them everyday. We’re just trying to be there as much as possible for people to support their recovery,” McMackin said.

Since they had to suspend in-person meetings last week, McMackin said they had two people relapse.

“Everything’s just kind of changing, so trying to adapt to that almost immediately is hard,” McMackin said.

Adapting is what Ewing has had to do now that her kids are learning from home.

“It’s scheduled drives, going for drives along the river, recess time where we just go out and do something,” Ewing said.

Like going to the Recovery Cafe and picking up lunch. With that also came a good conversation with others that will soon have to be done online.

“We don’t have to isolate because we have to social distance. We get the opportunity to stay connected,” Ewing said.

For those who do need help during this time and don’t have internet service, the Recovery Cafe will also make phone calls, instead of online video chats, as well.

McMackin said they will be posting updates and asking what people need on their Facebook page.

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