At 608 Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Cumming, just beside Citizens Bank of Georgia, sits a house that seems like any other: there are snacks in the fridge, comfy couches and a big back yard.
But the location is no home, it serves as the headquarters for The Connection, a recovery and support center for those dealing with addiction established by the Recovery Community Foundation of Forsyth, which opened in September.
“‘The Connection’ came out of an old saying in the recovery community that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection,’ because if you’re not connected, you’re isolated,” said Founder Catherine Rosborough. “Being isolated in substance abuse, it just makes it worse. It’s really hard to stay clean and sober and maintain recovery without some kind of connection to another person.”
Rather than having a certain type of recovery meeting, Rosborough said the programming at the facility is driven by the needs of those in recovery.
“We don’t do counseling. We don’t do treatment. This is a place where we’re all peers. We’re all people in recovery or family members of those in recovery,” Rosborough said. “We come together to support one another. There’s no treatment that happens here.”
Offerings include meetings just for women, parent meetings and recovery meetings but also include more fun, community-driven events like movie or game nights. Many in recovery, Rosborough said, stop by after work because the facility is a better place for them to spend time than where they were before recovery.
The former home has a variety of places to meet, including: a larger meeting room for bigger meetings, programming and recreation; a smaller room for smaller groups and quieter activities, like reading; a kitchen with artwork and a popcorn machine; and a large backyard with a back porch that is already planned to be built even bigger.
Rosborough, who has been in recovery from alcohol issues for about six years, said having different offerings available helps build a community, which she said is vital for recovery.
“Essentially, this place sprang from my personal story,” she said. “I got better. Because I got better, my family got better, and I was gifted with being able to go to treatment. A lot of people don’t have that, so how do we stay clean and sober? How do we maintain our recovery in the absence of any real recovery community? So, it’s very grassroots.”
Talking with others that have gone through similar issues, even if addicted to different substances, creates a bond, Rosborough said.
“Having the shared experience, it’s kind of like people who have fought in a war together. Like, you might not necessarily want to sit down and talk about the details, but it’s the knowing that another person has been through it and there is that unspoken understanding, you have your own language around it,” she said. “Addiction recovery is the same thing.”
Since opening, the facility has logged more than 2,200 peer contact hours for those in recovery and more than 800 hours of service from volunteers.
“Everything in here is donated from the community: all the furniture, all the computers, the refrigerator, everything has been donated to us, which is great,” Rosborough said. “We started out with maybe two volunteers and a small smart recovery meeting, and now we have multiple meetings every day, we have Friday night fun activities.”