MAKING AN IMPACT: Nonprofit provides road to recovery from addiction

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:57 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – In today’s world, many are bound by addiction.

According to the state Department of Health, among adult Minnesotans, alcohol is the primary substance used at the time of admission to treatment, followed by methamphetamine.

Only one in ten people with a substance use disorder receive treatment in the U.S.

A Rochester nonprofit works every day to change that.

“Addiction isn’t black and white, there’s so much gray.”

Kalie Vreeman, Certified Recovery Specialist

Kalie Vreeman has been a Certified Recovery Specialist at Recovery in Happening in northwest Rochester for six months and counting.

She’s part of the organization’s growing Peer Recovery Support team that helps hundreds of individuals battling addiction all across southeast Minnesota.

“I go home every day and I thank God that I was given the opportunity to give back,” Vreeman said. “We do some amazing things here.”

Vreeman knows firsthand the impact of recovery. She’s been fighting addiction for about ten years.

“It was very lonely. You think you got it all together and you’re hiding it well and you don’t know how much out of control it is until you’re hit with it. You didn’t want the world to know but at the same time you don’t know what to do.”

In June 2022, after just giving birth to her fourth child, a daughter, Vreeman started treatment at Recovery is Happening.

Vreeman added, “She got to come to group with me, so she’s been through my journey with me as well, and they’ve been totally supportive on that.”

The Stewartville native spent the next seven months working to get sober through intensive outpatient services, peer recovery, and group support.

“It felt like I didn’t have to hide anything and there was other people here that felt the same.”

Kalie Vreeman, Certified Recovery Specialist

Vreeman graduated in January and says the reward is greater than she ever could have imagined.

“I shut my family out in my addiction and in the last 18 months, I got to reconnect with my 9-year-old and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Vreeman said. “I rebuilt relationships with my mom, my sisters, everything that I thought I lost for good.”

“It is so remarkable the difference sobriety can make.”

Jean Keefe, Volunteer

Another critical role in the success of this nonprofit is committed volunteers, like Jean Keefe.

“You’re doing it because it matters, and they tell you service is such a huge deal, no matter where you decide to dive into,” Keefe said. “These are real people.”

She gives about five hours a week of her time to Recovery is Happening.

“I have a small study group of women and then I also volunteer at the reception desk.”

She volunteers for personal reasons.

“I have a family member that’s been through the program. I wanted to somehow be a part of how I can support her.”

She also volunteers for the lessons, stories, and skills she’s gained along the way.

Vreeman added, “There is such a great community of support, and even if we’re not directly related to what they’re going through, there is a way to extend that love and support that even looking back they’ll say ‘that person was there for me, this is how I got out of the pit I was in.’”

Whether you walk in the door or pick up the phone, staff will stop at nothing to help you find a way to a healthier, safer, and happier life.

“I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be an easy journey because it’s not but it’s worth it.”

Kalie Vreeman, Certified Recovery Specialist

A unique aspect about Recovery is Happening is the treatment plans are not ‘one size fits all.’

Staff help create an individualized setup that works for you.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, helpful resources can be found here.