Substance use and the opioid crisis continue to impact our community daily. In 2020 and 2021 fatal overdoses in Oxford county were at their highest of all time. Please consider donating to maintain and grow recovery support resources in Western Maine.
Who is WMARI?
WMARI is a community non-profit organization made up almost entirely of volunteers—people like you. Members include local social service professionals, counselors, law enforcement officers, healthcare providers, people in recovery, family and friends, and other concerned community members. You are a member when you say you are, whether you join a monthly meeting, come to an event (like our annual recovery rally), add your name to our email list, participate in a sub-committee, volunteer your time, or support our work through a small donation.
WMARI’s only paid employee is our Director (a woman in recovery herself), who provides the coordination needed to work towards accomplishing our goals. Her part-time position is partially funded by a small grant, and donations make up the remainder of her salary.
Why is our work important?
WMARI believes wholeheartedly that RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE and COMMUNITY IS THE CURE. Almost everyone has been impacted by the opioid epidemic or substance use disorder. Whether a loved one, a colleague, or a community member. You have probably heard the statistics. Last year, opioid overdose deaths almost doubled in Oxford County. That is despite the work being done locally and at the state level to help individuals with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). WMARI has a strategic plan and the know-how to implement additional services to make a real impact on lives. We need financial support to do that work!
Do we have any success stories to share?
Yes, several. We want to share one recent success story with you, which demonstrates the value of peer support and the collaborative efforts of those working to address the challenges of SUD in Oxford County. In October 2021, a Sergeant with the Rumford Police Department referred a young woman who was experiencing opioid withdrawals to the OPTIONS Liaison for Oxford County. The Liaison accompanied this woman to the Rumford Community Hospital ED, where she was treated for her symptoms. Recognizing that she needed additional support, he reached out to WMARI to see if she could be paired with a trained peer Recovery Coach. WMARI responded immediately and connected her with a coach, who met with her, provided support, and discussed options. The Recovery Coach could share information about resources, including a sober living facility (that the coach had once lived at) in Portland. Knowing that her options were limited, that something had to change, and hearing the first-hand experience of another woman in recovery, the woman found the willingness to give it a shot. Donations from people like you made it possible for WMARI to award her with a scholarship to pay for her first month and drive her and her belongings to the home. The woman and the Recovery Coach continue to meet, and she now has almost ten months sober.
What are WMARI’s goals, and what do we do? How did we develop our goals?
WMARI’s goals and strategic plan were developed from community input…from you! Our mission is to build a collaborative, non-judgmental environment to support addiction recovery through education, advocacy, and compassionate community action. WMARI’s primary goal is to reduce overdose deaths attributed to the opioid epidemic. We work towards that in several ways, including providing peer support, planning and holding events to reduce stigma, and removing barriers to treatment.
What is a Recovery Coach? What is peer support? Why is it important?
Recovery Coaches are trained peers or allies who walk side by side with individuals seeking or trying to maintain recovery from SUD. A Recovery Coach’s job is to support the individual in pursuing their own goals (and to help them identify those goals). A Peer Recovery Coach brings valuable lived experience with addiction and recovery and can connect with an individual in a way that can be uniquely successful. A Recovery Coach is essential because they can help navigate the world of addiction treatment so people may find the right solutions based on their individual needs. There are MANY pathways to recovery, and we support them all.
Why are community education and events important?
Community education and recovery events help to reduce stigma.
Many people don’t understand Substance Use Disorder and how it affects the community as a whole and each of our lives. To impact change, we first must understand the issue. WMARI thinks it is essential that people recognize the science of addiction and factors contributing to the disorder, such as Adverse Childhood Experiences and the impact of early substance use. .
Community events provide a safe space where we can get together to discuss solutions and celebrate recovery and successes. In addition, when we gather publicly, we show our community how much we care about each other and recognize that we all must work together.
How will my donation be used?
Of course, you want to know what we will do with your donation. WMARI relies entirely on donations and limited grant funding. We operate on a very small budget, so we mean it when we say every penny makes a difference! Your donation will fund treatment scholarships for Oxford County residents, support community events such as the Western Maine Recovery Rally and our annual Substance Use Disorder Conference, and contribute to staffing support so we may continue to provide services. WMARI has very low overhead costs because much is donated, such as office space and event venues.
Donating is easy and tax-deductible! Just visit our website and submit your donation online, or mail us a check if you prefer.
WMARI is a 501(c)3 and actively seeks federal and local grant funding. Recently, we submitted a grant application that would enable us to open a Recovery Center in the Oxford Hills area. It would also allow us to employ a full-time peer support position dedicated to working one-on-one with individuals seeking recovery.