Meeting every Tuesday, Recovery in Rural Communities Project Meetings come to Mosses

Published 9:48 am Monday, February 20, 2017

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Those recovering from substance or alcohol abuse and those who care for them now have access to help and “a ray of recovery hope” in Mosses.

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The beginning of a Recovery in Rural Communities Project, in which recovery meetings will be held every Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. at Mosses Town Hall, was announced by Project Director Dr. Jerry Mathews of the Council on Substance Abuse (COSA) at Mosses Town Hall last Thursday, Feb. 16.

Mathews said at an open house held at Mosses Town Hall the program consists of is bringing recovery support meetings to Mosses. And, he said the meetings not only provide assistance with recovery, getting off alcohol and drugs, but recovery in other life issues, as well.

He explained that is because, “Alcohol (and other substance abuse) ruins every aspect of a person’s life.”

Mathews said, “So, we’re here to help support those individuals in getting their life back on track… continuing education, which is getting a GED (general education diploma) or if they have college goals or trade goals, we walk with them during the process.” He said, if there are relationship problems, and if the Mosses program can’t help, “We refer them to different agencies.”

Mathews said, “What we are trying to bring, I would say, is a ray of recovery hope to the town of Mosses.”

According to Mathews, every Tuesday from 3 – 5 p.m. there will be meetings at Mosses Town Hall were individuals can find recovery support, even if they’re struggling with jobs.

He said, “All of our facilitators are peer support specialist” who are certified and who network to help recovering individuals get connected with different help agencies or temp services or businesses that hire.

Lowndes County Commission Chairman Carnell McAlpine said the Lowndes County Commission and he personally supports the program. “I do know that there is a need for counseling of this magnitude in Lowndes County. Substance abuse is a serious problem in this community.”

Appointed to the program’s advisory board, McAlpine said, “This is my community, as well.”

Mathews said COSA did surveys of 100 people in the Mosses area in just the past month. He said, “Of that 100 people, I would say 97 – 98 of those people need the services that we are bringing.” He said, “A lot of them are trying to get off alcohol and drugs, but they don’t have access to meetings.”

He also said many of the recovering individuals need employment, but lack the training to get employment, which is another service the program offers.

He said the survey showed the need for recovery support, job support, education support and even relationship/family support in these areas (including Mosses) because they are so far out.

Mathews said, “You know, a lot of people may go to court and the judge says, ‘Okay I’m going to sentence you to some 12 step meetings.’ But if I live in Mosses, transportation is something that I don’t have. Then how do I get to these meetings? So, now, I’m in violation of a court order because I have a desire to get clean… I have a desire to recover, but I don’t have the access to get to where I need to get.”

He said, “So, what we’re doing at COSA, we’re bringing it down here to eliminate the problem of saying, well, I don’t have a meeting… there is not a meeting down here because we are offering a meeting once a week.”

Mathews said in addition to meetings once a week there will be monthly pot luck dinners for the families and the community to break bread together and share in fun activities.

Also at the announcement a documentary was shown called “Anonymous People” trying to get rid of the stigma of anonymity. Mathews explained, “I feel that the more people know you can recover, the more people are going to want to be a part of it.”

Mathews stressed that all COSA peer support specialist are themselves recovering drug addicts, “So, we’ve been there.”

He further explained that some of the people surveyed who need help are family members of recovering individuals who know the services that their sons or daughters need.

Mathews said COSA received a three-year grant from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Charles Haselrig is the COSA certified peer support specialist for the project in Mosses.

Haselrig said the program is an opportunity for people to recover from the use of drugs and is a wholeness program to help them find jobs, healthcare, get IDs and helping the whole community heal from the disease of addiction.

Haselrig said he has been a recovering from what he called “everything” for 22 years. He said, “I was just enjoying getting high.” However, he said, “There came a point in my life when I had to change and chose to get clean. And I’ve been able to maintain my clean by helping others.”

According to COSA the Recovery in Rural Communities Project will serve at least 400 individuals, ages 18 and older, in the River Region.

COSA-NCADD is partnering with an agency in each county to establish a program site in the communities of Ramer (Montgomery), Millbrook (Elmore), Prattville (Autauga) and Mosses (Lowndes). In addition to weekly recovery meetings, other project activities will take place at each site including recovery coaching, peer case management, information and referral, life skill development classes and social/recreational activities.

For more information call 334-262-7477.