Reality Check to open for in-person, outdoor groups and meetings

  • NH Drug Czar David Mara joined Reality Check founder Mary Drew and others to celebrate the opening of Reality Check's new recovery community center on Turnpike Road in Jaffrey on Thursday. Dec. 13, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/5/2020 4:05:49 PM

For the first time since the middle of March, Reality Check in Jaffrey will begin hosting in-person support groups and meetings for those in the midst of or looking to begin their recovery journey.

Reality Check founder Mary Drew said since March 13, the addiction recovery center has operated remotely. So far it has worked, Drew said, but a crucial step in the process is being able to connect with people face-to-face.

“It’s still critical to our primary goal,” Drew said. “The people we serve really need it.”

As Drew put it “the interior of our building is not conducive to social distancing” so the only safe way to proceed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic was to switch to a virtual model.

“That was a way to ensure people had access to treatment and recovery resources,” she said.

But after seeing the way Sunflowers Cafe adapted to use the alley way for outdoor seating between the restaurant and The Park Theatre to alleviate concerns with a small indoor space, Drew got an idea.

They tore down the old deck on the back of the Reality Check building on Turnpike Road and rebuilt a new, expanded space now called The Outback, where they can safely host meetings and groups up to 15 people.

Drew said starting next week, they will begin offering support groups, recovery coaching, individual appointments, AA meetings and recovery yoga and art, among others in the renovated outdoor space.

Drew said they will revisit the protocols around hosting meeting and groups indoors at the end of September, but in the mean time this is a way to connect with people that hasn’t been possible in close to five months.

“And it will continue until we are able to return to full in-person,” she said.

And with the pandemic coming in the midst of a drug epidemic, being able to ensure people have the support they need is more important than ever. Things like social isolation and economic insecurity can be a trigger for relapses, not to mention the mere stress of living in a COVID-19 world, Drew said.

“It’s a struggle, just for regular people that don’t struggle with addiction or use,” Drew said.

But there is a silver lining in that Reality Check’s online services have allowed them to connect with those seeking recovery from around the state and beyond – those who may not have made their way to Jaffrey for a group support session or meeting.

It also led to the creation of new web-based programming, which Drew said will continue even when indoor gatherings resume.

“It’s really helped us develop online services that we should have had in place all along,” Drew said.

For more information, visit https://www.realitychecknow.org/ or call (603) 532-9888.


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