MEDFORD, Ore.– A twist to the normal cafe environment is being used to help people struggling with substance abuse disorder and providing them with a support group to help on their recovery.
Located in downtown Medford, The Recovery Cafe is holding it’s grand opening this week. Put together by local non-profit Reclaiming Lives the cafe is meant to be a low-key and relaxing refuge for people to come and meet others looking to try and stop their addiction.
Originally started in Seattle, the cafe network has now spread to states across the country. Medford’s will be the first in the state of Oregon.
According to Stephanie Mendenhall, executive director of Reclaiming Lives, this cafe has been in process for the last two year. Finally, it’s all coming to fruition with the help of numerous other partners in the community.
“Recovery Cafe is a place where people can come and make those connections with people who have either been in the place that they’re in right now and are giving back or people who have a lot of compassion for people who are out there struggling,” said Mendenhall.
The cafe will be open every Tuesday and Sunday evening inside Rogue Organic Cafe on East Main Street. Mendenhall says when Reclaiming Lives started several years ago, they saw many people struggling with addiction simply wanted a connection.
It’s not a program though. Mendenhall says the point of the cafe is supposed to be a calm atmosphere where people can come in and work with others to develop a plan and goals they can work towards. Then, they provide each person with a group to build stronger relationships focused on a common purpose.
“Really our only requirements are that you be 24 hours clean from whatever substances, that you commit to coming to your weekly coffee circle with eight other people, and that you give back to the cafe in some manner,” she said.
Even if someone relapses or has underlying mental health issues, Mendenhall says it’s about supporting them even through a hard time and finding the resources to move forward.
“You can pick up where you left off and we will just continue again and make some adjustments to your recovery plan,” she said.
It’s expected up to 250 people can be served at the cafe at this point in time. But if everything goes according to plan, the non-profit hopes to help even more people reclaim their lives.
“We’re gonna know your name. We’re gonna know something about you. We’re gonna care if you come or don’t come, that’s really our intent,” Mendenhall said. “We intentionally want to love people. That’s our whole mission.”
The grand opening will take place again on Wednesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. It will be held at Rogue Organic Cafe.
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