DOVER, N.H. — They’re just calling to say that they love you.
Giving love, support and access to resources to those in the early stages of drug addiction recovery is what a group of volunteers and employees with the SOS Recovery Community Organization do on a daily basis through its telephone recovery support service, or TRSS.
The peer-support organization makes upward of 200 calls each week to let those on the other end know that someone is thinking about them and ask how they can help.
“We let them know that we’re here and we care,” said Laina Reavis, an SOS employee who runs the organization’s Dover location where the TRSS is located.
The people Reavis and other trained volunteers call are those who are unable to come into one of its three centers and get peer support from others who are in recovery themselves.
The reasons why a person can’t make it into a center varies, she said. A person may not be comfortable around other people. It could be a single mother without time to go to a meeting or a person without transportation. Some may be on bail with restrictions that limit their travel. There are a lot of barriers facing people who are in recovery, Reavis said. Those providing call support work to remove obstacles to help those in recovery be successful.
Deirdre Boryszewski is an SOS volunteer who is 15 years into her long-term recovery from an alcohol addiction. She says it was people around her who showed they cared about her when she began her recovery that helped keep her on track. That’s what she strives to do when making her calls.
It helps others continue their recovery while providing a level of internal satisfaction. Like the time Boryszewski called a woman who was in the midst of stressful day. These are the times when a person is more vulnerable to relapse.
“Thank goodness you called. I’m having such a tough day,” the woman told her. Through the talk, the woman was able to conquer the dark feelings she was experiencing that day.
“It made me happy that I made her feel better and made her feel OK,” Boryszewski said.
Reavis said the ultimate goal for recovery support is getting the person to come into one of its three locations and get involved in the variety of programming that they offer.
“Sometimes a phone call is the first step,” she said.
Like Boryszewski and other volunteers making phone calls, Reavis is in long-term recovery. For her, it was from an opiate addiction. In 2016, she became a recovery coach and now supports others as they work through their recovery. She credits a 12-step program for saving her life.
But “SOS gave me a life worth living,” she said. “I feel like I can make a difference.”
That difference can be being able to relate to the feelings and challenges of those in recovery.
Reavis said one person she made a connection with through TRSS was a man in the early stages of recovery who was “feeling all the emotions and the guilt that he put his son through when he was in active addiction.” The man’s son was returning from overseas and the father was fearful of what his first meeting sober with his son would be like.
“I can relate to that because I had that situation with my mom,” Reavis said. “I was able to build back into an amazing, beautiful relationship once I got into recovery.” A few weeks ago she called the man after his visit. “We had a wonderful time getting to know each other all over again,” the man told her.
“I went home with an extra smile. It was a really great thing for me to hear,” she said.
SOS Recovery Community Organization is a program of Goodwin Community Health. Its mission “is to reduce stigma and harm associated with addictive disorders by providing safe space and peer-based supports for people in all stages of recovery,” it states on its website.
Information from: Foster’s Daily Democrat, www.fosters.com