Recovery Services Continue During COVID
The program uses recovery-positive messaging, provides support and tries to assist individuals in recovery by “helping to remove obstacles and barriers to recovery, by motivating and mentoring, encouraging them, by educating the community, and advocating for [those in or seeking recovery].”
PISCATAQUIS – Getting a new program started can be challenging enough without running into a pandemic during early days. Libby Kain was hired as Recovery Coach Site Coordinator for Piscataquis County in December, working through Mayo Regional Hospital (now Northern Light Mayo Hospital). Healthy Acadia received funding to expand existing recovery services for substance abuse disorder from Washington and Hancock counties into Piscataquis, Somerset and Waldo counties, “so I am working through the hospital, but I am subcontracted,” Kain explained.
“The Recovery Coach program is a free, peer-based service for people in recovery or contemplating recovery or affected others – those who have friends or loved ones who struggle with substance abuse disorder,” Kain said. The program uses recovery-positive messaging, provides support and tries to assist individuals in recovery by “helping to remove obstacles and barriers to recovery, by motivating and mentoring, encouraging them, by educating the community, and advocating for [those in or seeking recovery].”
A meet-and-greet community dinner had been scheduled for potential recovery coaches in March, but that had to be cancelled at the last minute due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. “Another training was supposed to me in May, a four-day Recovery Coach Academy, but that also had to be canceled,” Kain said.
So for now, Kain is wearing both the coaching and site coordinator hats herself. “As coordinator my job is to oversee the coaches and coordinate in the community. I work with community partners and different organizations to let them know the program is available. A lot of the work I was doing was letting people know about this new program and trying to get volunteers on board so they can be coaches.”
With no volunteers yet trained, Kain, now working from home, continues her community outreach while also working directly as a coach with persons in recovery.
“We did have to make changes, obviously, with the physical distancing and stay-at-home, which eliminated in-person meetings,” said Kain. “I am not in my office. I’m working from home. However, I am still fully operational, still scheduling meetings, using Zoom to video chat or talking over the phone. And I am still able to take new referrals.”
It’s been a challenge, with a program “so new a lot of people don’t know about it,” she said. “Not only that we provide addition support for people in Piscataquis County, but that we want the community to get involved, we want to reduce the stigma and let people know that recovery is possible when people are given supports and are ready to use them. There is so much stigma. People think it’s not possible for them to recover, or that they aren’t worth it. I’m trying to create a recovery-ready community that knows people can and do recover, and I think that’s really important for our community to start thinking about.”
Once it is deemed safe, new in-person recovery coach trainings will be scheduled. For now, Kain is trying to put together virtual training opportunities.
“Safety is the most important thing, but we are safely continuing to provide services,” she said. “Word of mouth can do a lot. A lot of people don’t know what they can do to help, or are not aware of what programs and supports are available close to home, especially during these times. Isolation is really difficult for some people, especially people in recovery. They can call me.”Kain will respond to voice mail left at 564-1280 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about the Healthy Acadia Recovery Coach Program, visit healthyacadia.org.