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Portland Recovery Community Center

Issue 2

PRCC Offers Diverse Menu of Support

People find recovery through a multitude of different ways and this is a beautiful thing. Just as Mt. Katahdin has many trails that one can take from the base of the mountain to the snow covered peak, there are many paths that can lead us from the darkness of active addiction to the deeply meaningful and joyful experience of lasting recovery. In the same way that no one trail on Mt Katahdin is fundamentally better or worse than another (just different!), there is no path of recovery that is inherently better or worse than another. We each have certain unique needs, experiences and stories. We all have our own preferences. What a gift this is! If we were the same, life would be horribly boring, don’t you think? We are living in an exciting time, when there are more and more doorways to recovery opening for those seeking healing.

The Portland Recovery Community Center is a shining example of the many paths to recovery, with diverse offerings of over 50 meetings and activities a week and over 125 people coming through their door daily.

The PRCC, at 468 Forest Ave. in Portland, is open seven days a week. While the front of the building may be subdued, the inside is full of life. On one recent evening there were multiple meetings and groups that included the arts of some kind (the Artist’s Way, a poetry reading and others). The simple, inviting space was filled with piano music as people connected in the front lounge area and laughter bubbled up from around the corner.

Like the center, Executive Director Leslie Clark is warm and has an inviting energy. “When somebody walks into [PRCC], they can feel completely accepted for where they are,” Clark says.

Clark has been in recovery since 1989. Her recovery is grounded in the 12 steps and other spiritual and health pathways. With a background in nonprofit leadership and former CEO at Greater Portland Health, she was hired almost two years ago as the executive director for the PRCC, where she devotes herself full time to supporting people healing from Addiction. Smiling, Clark said she doesn’t think she would have “gotten well” without “a lot of different things” to support her recovery and that the beauty of the PRCC is “that we support the whole person and let them find their way.”

The offerings at PRCC include support groups that are based on the 12 Steps –Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous — as well as those that are not — SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery, H.O.PE., among others. The Center hosts multiple social events like Open Mic Night, Movie Nights, dances, monthly Kirtan (music and chanting) and more. Included in the monthly activities are holistic offerings such as yoga, Reiki, meditation, music, art and tai chi.

Alongside the meetings and activities, PRCC offers peer-based recovery support in the form of Recovery Coaching and telephone recovery calls. Both are widely popular. Recovery Coaches work within the center’s walls and out in the larger community. More than 100 people have signed up to receive calls from volunteers every week and that number is growing.

In conjunction with its many support groups, activities and peer coaching offerings, the Center is also involved with advocacy work to break down the barriers to recovery that so many of us experience in the form of the shame and stigma surrounding addiction.

At the PRCC, all groups and activities are FREE! All are initiated, formed and led by volunteer members; there are few paid staff members. This important aspect
of makes PRCC what it is: an accessible Recovery Center for the community and by the community. It was the first of its kind in Maine, but seven new Recovery Community Centers have opened in Caribou, Machias, Houlton, Calais, Boothbay, Bridgton and Bath. The Portland branch will be the “hub” for each of them.

People are finding more and more that recovery is an intensely personal journey, and there are no “right” or “wrong” ways to recover, only ways that either work or do not work for each of us. We are fortunate to live in a time and place where we can find recovery, and a community that supports it, along with inclusivity and acceptance. The Portland Recovery Community Center is an invaluable resource to those healing from addiction. By finding the tools that work for us and showing up to the process to the best of our ability, we can heal far more extensively than many of us may have ever thought possible.

Sarah Siegel
Sarah Siegel
Sarah Siegel is a recovery coach at Crossroads as part of an innovative project with Portland Recovery Community Center. She has been in recovery from opioid use disorder and substance use disorder since 2007 and from working the sex industry since 2003. Today she is a mother, interfaith minister, meditation coach and writer.

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