Local Nonprofits Provide Support for Substance Abuse Recovery

Sober Syracuse, Road2RecoverCNY are two organizations that help those with addiction

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Ed Gabriel is the co-executive director at Ready2RecoverCNY. “Our goal is to address the question for people in recovery, ‘What do I do with my free time now?’” he says.

Recovery from substance abuse relies upon the right support.

That’s what Ed Gabriel strives to offer at Ready2RecoverCNY where he serves as co-executive director.

The 100% volunteer-run organization helps people with substance use disorder get treatment at a drug rehabilitation facility in Kaysville and learn about “sober” activities and events to help them live a full life in sobriety.

“We fill a niche in the recovery efforts for CNY adults who are in need of assistance,” Gabriel said.

He explained that the problem is the time limits of insurance coverage for recovery. Most insurance plans cover only up to four weeks for in-patient treatment. Ready2RecoverCNY, formerly Road2RecoveryCNY (with the ‘y’ after recover), helps fund 90 days of in-patient treatment and 90 days of sober living at a facility in Austin, Texas.

Why Texas?

“It’s an area that has a strong support system,” Gabriel explained. “The number of facilities in New York state that are long-term is very limited and tremendously expensive. In addition to the robust recovery community in Austin, the distance is helpful. For any person in addiction, its person, places and things contribute to addiction. Removing them from that environment and the things that trigger addiction are helpful for recovery.”

The 501(c)(3) organization does recommend New York resources when applicable.

Two years ago, Ready2Recover started a sister website, Sober Syracuse — www.sobersyracuse.org — as a resource for people in recovery to find local rehab resources and MultiPlan Insurance Coverage for Rehab.

“Our goal is to address the question for people in recovery, ‘What do I do with my free time now?’” Gabriel said. “We have suggestions for sober activities that might be of interest that they haven’t thought about before, like the zoo or local music venues.”

He had hoped to populate the site with “sober” events in the area. However, the CNY region has fewer events than he had anticipated. Gabriel hopes that more organizations will host sober nights where no alcohol will be served at places where it is typically offered, such as a ballpark.

“At this point, the amount of information we can put on the site is limited by what’s available,” he added.

Last year, Ready2Recover started an initiative, Resources and Connections, which will offer a monthly meeting open to the public starting in April this year. Anyone who has a friend or loved one in recovery or is involved in this type of work — such as law enforcement or therapist — are welcome to attend.

“When someone’s in recovery, one of the challenges they face as they begin the recovery journey is what do I do to spend my free time, to engage with other people, to recreate that I can do without drinking or using,” Gabriel said. “Sometimes, the answer to that isn’t as easy for someone in recovery as someone who hasn’t had to face that challenge.

“There’s ample opportunity for entrepreneurial initiatives whereas some venue could sponsor a sober night, charge admission and refreshments and still serve a purpose.”

About 24 volunteers operate the organization.

For more information, visit www.road2recoverycny.com.