Helping Hands: How We Find Recovery Among Community

“Alcoholism runs in my family, and it stopped with me.”

T0 achieve that, however, Sharon Woodruff, realized she needed help.

“I lost my father and little brother to this dreadful disease,” she said. “It took me many many years to realize I was unable to quit on my own. Treatment court and AA saved my life, and I found a purpose for living, to help others that suffer from substance abuse.”

Sharon is the founder of our Waushara Shines program, which launched in June 2018. She is also proud to be a mother of two daughters and a grandmother.

“I decided to become a peer recovery coach to help others in need,” she said, “because I know the struggle and how hard it is to overcome a  substance use disorder. No one should have to suffer in silence and alone.”

Waushara Shines currently supports about 40 people weekly through group meetings. The program also provides long-term support to men through our Shines Sober Living House. Here, clients can get out of the toxic environments they came out of in order to maintain sobriety. The average stay is about 6 months to 1 year.

Plus, Sharon and Rena Beres, another peer recovery coach with the Waushara Shines program, said they are basically on call for people in need, waiting with open doors to help.

“If there is a crisis, if we’re available – we’re almost always on call. If someone is in need need, we’re willing to help,” Sharon said.

“It’s hard because we don’t even have a hospital here, we take people to a hospital or detox … wherever we need to go; or we go pick them up,” Rena echoed. “We go out to the jail and listen to the people who just need to vent.”

Tips on Sustaining Recovery

Through their own personal experiences and continued work with people in recovery, Sharon and Rena offered a few pieces of advice for a successful recovery.

1. Giving Back and helping others in their Recovery Journey. 

It’s very common that someone in recovery will take training and go on to become a Peer Recovery Coach themselves, supporting others in a journey that is relatable. This type of giving back, both Sharon and Rena agree, is important in sustaining their own sobriety.

If Peer Recovery Coaching isn’t for you, then other charitable opportunities that help people in need are still a good way to pass your time and help you to feel positive, supporting your sobriety.

2. Share your story. 

Whether it’s during group meetings, 1v1 sessions with a peer recovery coach or a conversation with a friend OR stranger – telling your story helps you process what you’ve been through.

In Sharon’s words: “That’s part of the recovery process. You can’t keep it unless you give it away.”

This step in the process can also make your story relatable, you can find connections with others in recovery and learn and grow together.

3. Encourage your support network to get help, too

A lesser known part of the work that Sharon and Rena do is working with family members or friends who do not know how to support someone who is struggling or in recovery. This can either be support of someone who is actively working toward sobriety, or an individual who believes a loved one is addicted – but doesn’t know what to do.

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