Female-centered recovery centre open in St. Stephen

ST. STEPHEN – A female-centred recovery from addiction centre is opening its doors in Charlotte County. In late December, Sophia Recovery Centre (SRC) began offering one-on-one peer counselling at a temporary location. In early April, the new centre with two staff and more programming opened at 63 Union St. in what was formerly the Catholic church and is now Neighbourhood Works. SRC is the first organization to be up-and-running at Neighbourhood Works.

SRC provides “one-on-one guidance through a structured recovery program [that] helps women build a strong foundation in recovery concepts and practices,” its website says. It also explains the name Sophia was chosen as it “has represented a uniquely feminine expression of divine wisdom.” SRC had been in Saint John since 2008, and based on need, was looking to open a satellite in Charlotte County. Community Coordinator, Emily Rodas, and Peer Recovery Specialist, Sheila Walker, are staffing the new centre and working on the development of programs in addition to peer counselling.

Women are invited to drop-in Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for a coffee and a chat. “They can talk to Sheila about one-on-one peer support,” Rodas says, “and maybe talk about which option is best for them.” Rodas explains at SRC “one-on-one coaching is delivered by someone who is in recovery themselves, as that is proven to be the most successful.” “Sheila is in advanced recovery,” Rodas adds.

Rodas wants the word to get out about the new facility in order to reach potential clients, and to help take some of the wait list pressure off Horizon Health Network’s Addiction and Mental Health services. Clients can be referred or self-refer to the free programs, which may include meditation, education around addiction, or specialized programs. “Hiking, meditation, or breathwork,” are other things Rodas says women may want to focus on. Clients can “choose from a menu,” Rodas explains. “It’s important to know,” she says, “that women can come to Sophia at any state of your recovery. If you’re not ready to tackle it, we can tell you about the services.”

Why a centre unique for women? Rodas says, “Sophia recognizes that it’s very difficult for women to focus on recovery as there are different outside factors that men might not have, such as children and access to transportation.” She adds, “other programs based on recovery involve men and women together, but ours is delivered for women by women.” Past trauma is one factor Rodas mentions that might make SRC programs more comfortable for their female clients. In email, she writes, “Women require a safe space and trauma informed recovery programming that differs from the typical needs of men.”

In an email, Rodas says, “Our funding comes from the NB [New Brunswick] Department of Health, the United Way, private donors, and from our own internal fundraising initiatives. Grant funding does not cover all our operational costs. The support of private donors is essential for us to maintain operations.”

Other grants have come from federal agencies and Economic Inclusion Corporation, but, Rodas writes, “It is our hope that we will build support in the local community to raise sufficient resources to replace this funding when it expires next spring.” Rodas is also looking to establish working relationships with Fundy Region Transition House and other organizations.

Although newly opened, the centre currently has 12 clients and is preparing for more. SRC can be reached through Facebook and at 469-1058.