Recovery Aroostook opening new center in Caribou

CARIBOU, Maine - It's a place to call their own, and a place built on a four letter word: hope.

"Sometimes that's all anyone has left when they walk in through the door," says Ali Bell, the Chair of Recovery Aroostook.

Leadership and members of Recovery Aroostook are excited about their new space in Caribou.

"It establishes us," says Erik Lamoreau, the Public Relations Chairman of the group. "It makes us who we are and makes us believe we are accomplishing something besides just talks."

The group formed in May of last year with the goal of being a community of support and resources for people coming out of the throws of addiction and/or those affected by addiction. They've held regular weekly meetings for the last year and a half and now they're transitioning into their new space at 14 Old Van Buren Road - the former Catholic Charities thrift store.

Pete McCorison with AMHC says "the center as it develops is going to be a place where people can come and get access to recovery supports."

That means support in areas like employment, housing, substance abuse recovery, physical health and personal goals. Right now, the group is paying for the building with funds they've raised but Pete McCorison says the Aroostook Mental Health Center secured a four to five year grant for the development of two recovery centers in Aroostook County. The second one will be in Southern Aroostook. Though this space is a work in progress now, members are excited for when renovations are complete.

According to Recovery Aroostook's Vice President, Stacie Holton, the program also has a playroom so that parents can monitor their kids while in the meeting. "My daughter comes to meetings and she sits there bored sometimes, so she was really excited about having this she even helped paint it."

Cary Medical Center has been a big supporter of this group since the beginning.

"What I love about this project, it's community taking care of community," said Kris Doody, the CEO of Cary Medical Center. "It's not just the hospital, AMHC or a small group of people. It's all of us coming together to make a difference."

Group members have big goals for the center but say the most important thing is that those in recovery have a place to get connected.

"Having a nice spot like this that's free to come and where its safe to be in good company with other people, I think it's going to work out very well," said member Kristi Russell.

And who knows how many more people will walk out with hope they didn't have before.