Women Guides Drug Addicts Toward Recovery

Shelly Dutch, board member and founder of the Recovery Foundation, assists people struggling with substance abuse by providing the support they need to heal.

Created two and a half year ago, the Recovery Foundation’s mission is to provide financial assistance for services, educate the public about substance abuse and donate funds to aid recovery research.

“The reason I began the Recovery Foundation was because there are so many people struggling,” Dutch says. “It is difficult for people to access treatment, both inpatient and outpatient access.”

Dutch says Recovery Foundation tells its clients drug and alcohol abuse is not a weakness, but is classified as a disease by the American Medical Society.

“Like diabetes, we are responsible for recovery from alcoholism, but not disease.”

Dutch is also the director of Connections Counseling, an alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) and mental health outpatient clinic. Both Recovery Foundation and Connections Counseling value their mentorship programs because of the relationships they create between participants.

“When I started [cocaine abuse] treatment in the ’80s, it wasn’t something you really talked about, and I felt alone,” Dutch says. “One of the things we try to do is encourage everyone who wants to make a difference to come forward and talk about it, and recognize there’s a place for them in the community.”

Dutch says the power of mentorship programs lies in their ability to encourage learning strategies to reach out to others, build leadership skills and create a safe place to have fun and appreciate life.

“You can’t keep what you have unless you give it away and, through service, help others,” Dutch says.

Dutch says the Recovery Foundation educates the community through events, like the Voices for Recovery Luncheon, an educational fundraiser with speaker William Cope Moyers, on September 19.

“I think whoever has a desire to learn more about recovery and substance abuse has a responsibility to speak honestly about it to their families or friends, to help increase awareness that it touches all of our lives,” Dutch says.

For more information about the Recovery Foundation, visit recoveryfoundation.net.

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