Sober Support: Before, During and After Recovery
Folks sometimes forget that sober support is crucial throughout recovery — and that includes even before it begins. In fact, sober support is often what makes recovery possible to begin with. A fact too few stakeholders acknowledge.
HOPE Sheds Light aims to change all that. The New Jersey-based non-profit has tasked itself with providing de facto sober support whenever it’s most needed, even if that means leading people to recovery’s door. After all, without access to recovery programs, sobriety seldom has a chance.
Of course helping people to the door only marks the beginning of recovery’s long journey. They’ve also got to get across the threshold. And that is perhaps one of recovery’s most formidable obstacles. It’s also where sober support becomes ever more important. Helping active addicts surrender to sobriety requires considerable patience, kindness and knowing. It also requires all three types of empathy — cognitive, emotional and compassionate — in just the right amounts.
HOPE Sheds Light provides all that — and then some. The astute staff at ROI-NJ have put together a Nonprofit Profile attesting to that very claim. And we eagerly and gratefully share their findings with you here.
Founding HOPE Sheds Light
As ROI-NJ makes clear from the get, HOPE Sheds Light was founded in grief, and is helping through hope. Ron Rosetto, Arvo Prima and Steve Willis are the three co-founders. Each suffered the equal — and equally immense — tragedies that spurred HSL’s creation. And each was equally determined to do everything possible to prevent such tragedy from striking others.
Ron Rosetto was the first to be struck. The year was 2012. Mr. Rosetto’s son Marc lost his “hard-fought battle against substance abuse.” And, naturally, Mr. Rosetto was devastated. “Family and friends of those with addiction problems often feel isolated, ashamed, overwhelmed and hopeless,” notes ROI-NJ. Mr. Rosetto was no exception.
Neither were his friends Stephen Willis and Arvo Prima. Both Willis’ and Prima’s sons were also battling addiction at the time. So both knew exactly how their friend was suffering. Then Mr. Willis’ own son Mark lost his fight with the disease. Unfortunately Mr. Prima’s son Paavo lost his fight just a few short years later.
Mission & Goals
HOPE Sheds Light’s Mission is simply “to raise awareness and educate individuals, families and the community about the impact of addiction.” Executing its Mission however, isn’t quite so simple. In fact, it takes courage. Considerable courage. Because HSL’s Mission gets accomplished via the founders’ own personal experiences. And “sharing personal experiences” takes courage. So does stepping up and “offer[ing] strength, wisdom, hope and resources that lead to positive community change and long-term recovery.” Especially after such devastating losses.
Then again, it’s precisely those losses that give HSL its strength. Knowing firsthand what it means for families to suffer is largely what drives HSL. It also means HSL is uniquely qualified to meet its goal in “reduc[ing] the negative effects substance use disorder has on families and in our communities.” To accomplish that goal, says HSL, it “align[s] their programs with the recognized best practices in peer-to-peer recovery support services.” In other words, to provide top notch sober support.
Providing Sober Support
According to ROI-NJ’s profile, “HSL has assisted 1,948 people seeking support through its 24/7 help line.” They’ve also “met with 534 people for follow-up in-person support.” Furthermore, HSL “ended 2019 by expanding” to “launch the Hope Recovery Center.” HRC is “a hub for community members to access peer-based recovery support services [and] participate in social recreational activities, [as well as to] receive education, academic and vocational training.” More, it encourages people to “become active members [who are] engaged in the solution.” A solution made possible “through volunteerism and advocacy efforts.”
HOPE Sheds Light has a variety of components, including:
- An educational website with up-to-date resource listings
- Weekly support meetings for individuals, family and community members impacted by addiction and the opioid epidemic
- A weekly grief and bereavement group in partnership with the Office of Mental Health
- Programming designed to help our youngest victims of the opioid epidemic — children separated from their parents and/or removed from their homes due to parental SUD
- Special recovery services to parents in early recovery
This year HSL also launched additional sober support efforts, among them Recovery Speaks (a yearlong project to reduce the stigma related to addiction); Recovery High School (a planning grant exploring the feasibility of opening a school in Ocean County); and Recovery Housing Assistance (funding to help residents secure sober living placements).
HSL’s nonprofit profile ends with a candid and fitting testimonial:
“I called HOPE Sheds Light when I was experiencing homelessness,” it reads. “I was sitting at the Toms River Library, recently discharged from my treatment facility with no plan. And I didn’t know what I was going to do. Then, a woman at the library gave me the number for HOPE Sheds Light. HSL was able to assist me, first by just listening and then by providing me with a lot of recovery support services. HSL arranged for me to get housing in a sober living home, [including] assisting me with funding. An HSL volunteer connected with me and helped me stay actively engaged with my recovery.”
“During this time, I had to leave my job because of the drug use taking place there,” in continues. “I decided it was unsafe. HSL helped me find another job at a small deli. When COVID hit, I lost that job, too. Because of my connection with my volunteer recovery coach from HSL, I stayed motivated and didn’t give up. I am now working at Philly Pretzel Factory and I am up for a promotion to a manager position because of my work ethic. I am getting manager training at different locations and I am excited for my future.”
“When I was using drugs, I was separated from my kids. Since getting back on my feet and feeling good about my future, I have taken the steps necessary to be back in my children’s lives. I am so proud to share that I just had my first visit with my kids in months and am now becoming an active part of their lives.”
Sober Support in Action
It’s a remarkable testimonial. It also shows what’s possible when people are provided continuous and caring sober support. HSL not only helped this person get into a sober living situation, they also provided support when the person faced recovery-threatening events. That’s why this person “stayed motivated and didn’t give up.” And it was all because of their HSL recovery coach.