By Jennifer Bradford
Recovery Café Longmont is part of a national movement of more than 40 Cafés across the country that build a community to help people stay in recovery. Formed in 2018, Recovery Café Longmont opened their doors in 2019. They provide a peer-led community which supports recovery and builds skills to break the cycle of recovery from addiction, homelessness, and mental illness. Executive Director Lisa Searchinger’s favorite quote of Killian Noe, the founder of the original Recovery Café in Seattle, is “We are all in recovery from something.” Recovery Café Longmont supports recovery from many challenges—trauma, grief, mental health, and substance use disorder.
According to Becky Milanski, Volunteer Coordinator and Peer Support Specialist, the difference Recovery Café brings to those in recovery is accountability. “Membership means you belong to something. We bring people together in community. We know you; we care about and love you.” The barriers to membership are purposely low. The requirements are 24 hours sobriety, attending a weekly peer support group, and committing to giving back to the community in some way. The peer-led programs provide multiple pathways to recovery and empower people to make their “own best decisions.”
Lisa is proud that Recovery Café Longmont recently launched a bilingual/bicultural peer support program which better reflects the Longmont community. The School for Recovery classes provide members with a chance to learn something new or develop their skills to gain a sense of purpose, opportunity, and community. Each month Recovery Café hosts an Open Mic Night which is an evening of music, poetry, comedy, and more. It is open to all.
The last couple of years of Covid have been hard for everyone, perhaps especially for those in recovery. Lisa says, “Suicides and overdoses more than doubled in the county [in the last two years]. We were forced to close temporarily twice at the height of the pandemic and it was important to re-open ASAP.” Recovery Café Longmont reopened slowly but is now fully open and ready to grow. The hope is to find a new location in the community that has more capacity, is ADA accessible, has a commercial kitchen, and a full-service coffee/espresso service—which will provide job readiness learning opportunities for members.
Recovery Café Longmont is always in need of volunteers and community support. Some volunteer opportunities include becoming an Ambassador of Hospitality, a School for Recovery teacher, or Café Cook who cooks meals for 15 people at home to be reheated on site. Visit the Recovery Café’s website to learn more.
September is National Recovery Month. Lisa and Becky reiterate the saying “the opposite of addiction is connection.” The Recovery Café Longmont will continue to provide the community with a place of belonging, purpose, and connection for those who want and need it. Becky closes with, “Recovery is a bumpy road. All are welcome [here]. We meet people wherever they are [in their recovery journey].”