We are a community of women and men who have been traumatized by homelessness, addiction and other mental health challenges coming to know we are loved and that we have gifts to share.
In Washington State, 10.7% of all adults are in need of substance abuse treatment, yet in King County, 69.6% of adults in need of treatment do not receive it. In the City of Seattle, at least 46% of homeless women and men report having substance abuse issues. Most experts in the field believe that the percentages are actually as high as 70%.
Mental health challenges often underlie addiction and many people manage their pain through substance abuse. This disproportionally hurts low-income and homeless women and men struggling with mental health challenges who often stop taking or lose access to medication, triggering substance abuse relapse, and lose access to housing, employment and health care services. Without sustained recovery from mental health challenges and addiction, accessing existing housing and social service providers can feel insurmountable.
According to the National Institute of Health, recovering addicts need a foundation of at least two years sobriety to ensure long-term recovery. Recovery Café’s provides this crucial support to women and men who want to rebuild their lives and break the cycle of homelessness, addiction, and other mental health challenges.
Recovery Café was founded on the knowledge that every human being is precious and beloved regardless of past trauma, mental and emotional anguish, addictive behaviors or mistakes made. We provide a beautiful, safe, warm, drug and alcohol free space and loving community to anchor Members (our most closely-supported consumers) in the sustained recovery needed to gain and maintain access to housing, social and health services, healthy relationships, education and employment.
Our program is designed to help people maintain recovery, reduce relapse and fulfill their potential. Important elements of this work include:
- A healing milieu with free, nutritious meals, coffee, tea and lattes, birthday celebrations, Open Mic nights, access to a computer lab, daily encouragement and a robust delivery of the message YOU MATTER.
- Small, loving accountability groups called Recovery Circles which offer peer-to-peer support. They are facilitated by a staff person, trained community volunteer, or a long-term Member.
- Volunteer opportunities allow Members to: learn the rewards of giving back, improve communication abilities, develop leadership skills, and learn to interact effectively and productively with staff, other Members, and outside volunteers who spend time at the Café sharing their gifts.
- Education through the School for Recovery, a school available to Members and Volunteers featuring classes that address the underlying causes of addiction, teach coping skills, develop knowledge, and build recovery capital.
- 12-step meetings are held in a dedicated space including Alcoholics Anonymous (Spanish and English), Narcotics Anonymous, Business Debtors Anonymous, Al-anon, Overeaters Anonymous and Dual Recovery Anonymous.
- Referral Services. We partner with a wide network of complimentary service providers to help Members gain and maintain housing, healthcare, mental health services, legal assistance and a base of support as they navigate the complex social services system. Recovery Café doesn’t seek to duplicate services but rather be a place of stability so Members can access the services they need.
We provide support, resources and a community of care along the entire continuum of a person’s need for recovery assistance. Whether in crisis, newer to recovery, in long-term recovery, after a relapse, during a difficult life change, or mental health transition, the Café is there as a refuge of care with evidence-based addiction support and love. We teach people ways to manage mental health, maintain sobriety, and build community. We help each individual reclaim life as a person worthy of giving and receiving love.
Through our work, we prevent individuals from another potentially life-ending crisis, saving taxpayer money in emergency intervention to help them stabilize, and allowing mental health and addiction support professionals to focus on health maintenance and addiction prevention.
Over the past ten years, the Café community has continued to refine and implement various means of providing services to build a program that leverages the best of peer and clinical support.
Today, our cohort of services synchs naturally with the new approach that Washington State Department of Behavioral Health has embraced during the last few years to create a more effective way to address chemical dependency issues: a Recovery Orientated System of Care (ROSC).
A ROSC meets people where they are on the recovery continuum, engages them for a lifetime of managing their disease, focuses holistically on a person’s needs, and empowers them to build a life that realizes their full potential. This person-centered system of care supports a person as she or he establishes a healthy life and recognizes that we all need a meaningful sense of membership and belonging in community. Recovery Café has been recognized by Washington State and King County experts as an excellent example of how a ROSC works.
Each year, our Members complete a self-report regarding the Café’s role in their drug and alcohol free time, impact of Café programming, and help (or lack thereof) Recovery Café provided in re-building and transforming their lives. Some highlights from our 2014 Member survey results show:
- 84% report Recovery Café has increased the amount of hope in their lives, and 75% report that since being at the Café, they have become a better advocate for themselves.
- 70% report that the Café has helped prevent relapse. Of those who report having a relapse since coming to Recovery Café, 69% report that RC helped them maintain longer periods of drug-and alcohol-free time and 45% believe that RC has helped them get back on track more quickly.
- 53% report experiencing suicidal behavior before coming to the Café and 31% believe RC helped prevent suicidal behavior. Of those 55% of Members who reported visiting the ER before coming to RC, 31% report that their visits to the ER have decreased since coming to RC.