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SaVida Health: An Addiction Treatment Program Making a Difference… One Life at a Time

Issue 27

Providing addiction treatment services from its three Maine locations in Calais, Brewer, and Biddeford, SaVida Health’s centers are designed for the “whole person,” offering individualized counseling options, Peer Recovery Coaching, case management and comprehensive medication management.

“Our approach to treatment includes putting our member’s first, including recognizing that a trauma history is both likely and manageable. We approach this with passion and focus”, shared Abbie Rohde, LCSW, CCS and the Director of Behavioral Health here in Maine.

Recognizing that entering recovery can be an intimidating and vulnerable process, SaVida Health has intentionally created a space that reminds their members that they matter. It is not enough to tell people they matter, however then ask them to sign forms they do not understand, sitting in uncomfortable chairs, hungry. The office culture includes warm, light filled spaces, cellphone chargers, snacks, coffee and hand selected furniture. “We want every member to feel that our Health Home is in fact their treatment home” shared Rohde.

“Our team, regardless of role, are committed to supporting trauma informed care, providing support without judgement, demonstrating compassionate accountability and helping our member’s rediscover who they want to be,” says Rohde.

Kyle’s Story: The Difference Feeling Welcome Can Make

What does a day in the life of a SaVida Health patient look and feel like? Kyle is a 41-year-old Mainer who has now been in recovery for three years. He found his sobriety with the help of SaVida Health, a place that, for the first time in his recovery journey, made him feel understood.

Here is Kyle’s story.

I experimented with marijuana and alcohol as a teen and started using opiates at age 20. I was addicted and knew I needed help, but for years, getting that help was like riding a roller coaster. I went to two rehabs, I saw multiple doctors…and I was still using.

SaVida was not my first attempt at recovery, there were other programs. I had the label of “drug seeker,” signed forms I didn’t read, knew I was a burden and understood I would be an addict for the rest of my life. I was connected to SaVida when I entered Fresh Start Sober Living and although I was hesitant and doubtful, I showed up to my appointments. It was there that I began to feel understood and was able to see myself as more than my decision to use opiates. I had underlying mental health issues that I needed to address in order to gain recovery. My addiction was not just bad choices, it was so much more complicated than that.

Early in my recovery, I would meet with my Counselor and attended my medical appointments, sometimes going to a Group session and sometimes talking to a Peer Recovery coach, every week. It felt intense and I did not always understand it.

There were times when I pushed back, when I did not show up, when I wanted to quit. They met me in those spaces and filled the gaps. And then I started to feel better, to understand more and could honestly share that I had accomplished many weeks in recovery. I gradually graduated to bi-weekly appointments, and then monthly. Ultimately, I received the help I needed to want to do better, to be better. There is so much more to life then being labeled an addict.

Two years into my recovery I received a text message from a SaVida Peer Recovery coach, Brian. He wanted to know if I wanted coffee, if I needed to talk. I did. I told him how hard it was to get out there, to work, to face the fears and doubts in own head.

He understood. Not only did I receive encouraging words, but he helped me sign up to take a course to become a Certified Peer Recovery Coach. This led to me becoming a House Manager at Fresh Start Sober Living. This led Fresh Start to connect me with a pilot program run by the City of Bangor to train new bus drivers. I then obtained by Class B license and a paid training.

The beginning of all of this was a seed. A seed of hope that I would find recovery and finding my way into a SaVida Health office. An office where I needed to show up weekly, meet with the Providers and not quit. An office where I was encouraged and challenged and supported. Today I am a city bus driver in Bangor, living in Recovery and proud of who I have become. I know that I can do this and I know that SaVida Health is a place that anyone who carries hope can do it too.

Jacqueline Brown
Jacqueline Brown
Jacqueline Brown is a freelance writer from Southern Maine who regularly contributes to national and regional publications. A former public school teacher in the Boston area, Jacqueline is the published author of several books for children, one of which won the Maine Literary Award for Children's Literature in 2018. When she's not at her computer, Jacqueline can be found looking for sea glass at her favorite beach.

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