Recovery walk and picnic mark one-year milestone for recovery center

HOULTON, Maine — The road to recovery can be a long and winding path for those dealing with addiction. 

Thankfully, the Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope (ARCH) is available to assist those in recovery, offering a wide variety of services and support. Located at 36 North St., ARCH, a substance abuse recovery peer center located near downtown Houlton, opened its doors in Houlton a year ago and has been helping individuals in their recovery ever since. 

The center celebrated its one-year anniversary Saturday with a walk and picnic.

Erik Lamoreau, Aroostook Mental Health Services’ substance use disorder peer center manager, said the Houlton center has seen a strong turnout in its first year of operation.

“This year has been really great for the ARCH center,” Lamoreau said. “It started out slow, but we have definitely seen an uptick in attendance. Individuals really seem to be engaging with this center as are our community resources, like Houlton Regional Hospital. Other organizations have also stepped up to offer support.”

HOULTON, Maine — September 14,2020 — Erik Lamoreau, Aroostook Mental Health Services’ substance use disorder peer center manager, writes a message on a face mask Saturday at the Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope’s (ARCH) one-year anniversary celebration. ARCH is a peer support recovery center in Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Houlton’s center is modeled after the Bangor Area Recovery Network, which has served that community for the past 11 years.

A walk-in center for individuals who are coping with all types of substance use disorders, the focus of ARCH is unique in that it features recovering addicts helping one another.

“A lot of people get us confused with treatment centers,” Lamoreau said. “We are not a treatment center, we are for people who are already in recovery. I really believe the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel.”

Chelsea Putnam, peer support specialist for the Houlton center, said having a personal connection with many of the clients has helped her get acclimated to her new role with ARCH. She began as a peer support specialist just a few months ago.

“I was an addict for years and years in this town,” Putnam said. “It helps to know the community, and I think the people I used with are more comfortable coming here for help. We are advocates for so many things, whether it’s mental health, work study, referrals for housing and even helping people navigate health care.”

Putnam said her role with ARCH has also brought a sense of normalcy to her life.

“My recovery was not very strong until I started here,” she said. “Having the support offered here has been wonderful. You have to have someone there supporting you. Now, I just want to help others get to this point.”

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