Peer Recovery Group Assists Community Members
The Rappahannock Area Community Services Board is helping individuals in addiction recovery through a peer recovery group.
The Rappahannock Area Community Services Board provides other mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.The RACSB introduced its Hunger for Hope peer recovery group on July 20th.
Jeremy Burton, a RACSB recovery support specialist, leads the group every Friday. Since it started, an average of 15 people attend the meetings each week. Attendees discuss ways to stay sober, while also forming relationships and learning coping skills. The first three Fridays of the months are focused on open discussion while guest speakers visit on the fourth Friday.
Burton stated that the group has validated some of the experiences he went through in his own addiction recovery.
"I always thought it would hurt to be too authentic, that people would judge it and they wouldn't understand me," he said. "Being around people that suffer the same way, it makes me feel like I belong. That was the biggest thing for me and I think that they feel that way too. I can see hope in their eyes. I can see some of them lighting up. I guess, for me, it's like I never really understood [that] there seems to be something powerful [about] working with somebody else who suffers with a substance use disorder."
In addition to running Hunger for Hope, Burton assists individuals going through RACSB's medication-assisted treatment program (MAT).
"I was just told by a counselor that one of the guys missed the MAT group and he told him to come to the Hunger for Hope group to make up for it," Burton said. "We believe firmly in the MAT group. We believe that going to a couple community-based groups a week is really not a lot of work compared to what we did when we were using drugs."
RACSB also collaborates with a local crisis center.
Burton would like a centralized peer recovery center to open in the near future. He also believes that working on community service project would benefit patients in addiction recovery.