What should a Recovery community look like? Supporting Recovery doesn’t always directly show. Exponential Recovery growth will require a collective and diverse Recovery community!
At the beginning of 2018, I posted a video to encourage those who would, to search our individual talents and abilities and join the fight against addiction, and to be a part of helping the Recovery community in some way. I still believe we all have the ability to help in some way. Our fight is big- no single way is going to be the solution. Just as there are many pathways to Recovery, so there are many ways to help in the fight to save our loved ones battling addiction, moving forward in their Recovery. My mission at Shop Recovery Stuff is to give people in Recovery the opportunity to live Recovery out loud with a positive self-association to Recovery and by doing so, help those still suffering. That mission and goal hasn’t changed.
I’ve owned and operated businesses for 30 years and have been involved in volunteer community service equally. All long enough to know that having a multi-dimensional and bigger picture mindset produces far more results than an island ideology, and learning and implementing strategies from others who’ve gone before me successfully always makes sense. I decided to utilize a system I learned through my volunteer time spent at the Dream Center in LA when I started Shop Recovery Stuff. My mission and goal for Shop Recovery Stuff is 2-fold: to put the opportunity to share Recovery directly into people’s lives- where they were at, in real-time; and by doing so, reach those still suffering. Wearing a Recovery shirt or jewelry or sharing a Recovery item opens the door to conversation. I have yet to wear one of my Shop Recovery Stuff designs without being asked about it- I’ve been able to share Recovery resource information with both those still suffering and those affected by the addiction of a loved one. The messages I get from my customers share the same experiences I have myself. I often joke with people when they buy something to make sure they’re ready to share Recovery!
But how do I fulfill the second half of my company mission? To reach those still suffering. I wanted to directly impact people in Recovery as well- but how? Several years prior, I joined a church group and we all paid to spend a week volunteering at the LA Dream Center. I slept in a tight dorm on the top bunk with 3 other women who’d also left the comfort of their homes, took not so hot showers, and worked every day, learning new ways to help those in need and how to implement them in my own environment. I loved every single minute watching and learning how the Dream Center equipped people with opportunities for independence, and teamed with other businesses, providers, ministries, a college, even Orange County, in out-of-the-box ways. I saw full-sized motor homes pull into the parking area that were mobile dentists, doctors and chiropractors; a community college opened a satellite campus on the Dream Center campus, and the list could go on. Following one of their church services, I bought a t-shirt at a portable station set up in the lobby. The shirt says, “We Get To Serve”, along with the Dream Center logo. Upon my shirt purchase, the person checking me out gave the commission to share the message to serve others. I paid for the opportunity to go to the Dream Center to help others and I paid for a shirt to take that message back with me to share when I wore the shirt. Just like my Shop Recovery Stuff shirts, I’ve yet to wear my Dream Center, “We Get To Serve” shirt without getting to share about the great experience I had at the Dream Center, learning and serving others. I’ve even had to opportunity to connect several people with the Dream Center to go! The Dream Center understands the congruent necessary is always equipping people right where they’re at to share the message forward.
While thousands of people are impacted daily by the food, healthcare and services publicly known at the Dream Center, there is a lot you won’t outwardly see- the daily lives impacted of those who have aged-out of the foster system living in a campus within the Dream Center campus. Young adults who’ve had no parental direction that are learning real-life skills, going to college, being equipped to move forward in real life aren’t easily recognized. The same for women who have been rescued out of sex trafficking, for which the average time it takes for healing is 7 years. You won’t visibly see the healing they’re receiving.
It is still my goal that Shop Recovery Stuff equip people in their Recovery. I knew I would need the help of others to be equipped right where they were at, to exponentially share the message to accomplish my company mission and goal. It shows when I share about one of our Shop Recovery Stuff models who is a person in Recovery as we provide financial assistance with rents, food, clothes, etc. for those who model for us; as we do for those who help with our pop up store set-ups and tear-downs. I believe strongly that giving people an opportunity to work provides dignity and builds self-esteem. What doesn’t show so publicly is how our arm extends outside the box to help people in Recovery through others. One of my designs, Power of Recovery, was inspired by a person I heard speak and a lightning storm! The profits donated from the sales of all of our Power of Recovery items is dedicated to helping those in early Recovery secure sober living. I offer co-branding on some items. That’s when a group, organization, business, school, etc. selects one of our stock items and I add their logo, or a special insignia, customizing our stock item for them. Last week, I shipped out co-branded, Power of Recovery shirts to the University of Delaware’s Collegiate Recovery Community. This morning, those proceeds already went to work, helping people into sober living. College students in Recovery in Delaware are wearing shirts that will open the door for them to share their Recovery with others; and helping people they’ll never know move forward in Recovery. We may not always be able to see the full picture or know how we’ve impacted others in their Recovery journey.
As the owner of Shop Recovery Stuff, it’s not my goal to just sell t-shirts. It’s my goal to open doors for Recovery, teaming with others in out of the box ways to share Recovery. That’s what being in a Recovery community is all about.