NOURISHING THE SOUL: New Recovery Cafe soon will open at The Landing Place

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GREENFIELD — When the new Recovery Cafe officially opens at The Landing Place in Greenfield next month, those who stop in will be served much more than just a warm meal.

Organizers hope to provide nourishment for the soul.

The cafe concept invites those in recovery from various hardships or addictions to come into The Landing Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a bit of food, fellowship and support.

“We want them to feel welcome and supported here,” said Anna Coy, a longtime addictions counselor who has been hired to manage the new cafe.

The Recovery Cafe has come about from a three-year exploratory relationship with We Bloom, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that plants Recovery Cafes in communities throughout Indiana.

We Bloom founder Beth Kreitl and the rest of the local cafe’s advisory team gathered at The Landing Place for a mock run earlier this week, going through the details of how the new venture will run.

The cafe will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays through December to give the staff and volunteers a chance to get the program up and going, but the official opening will take place on Jan. 4.

Coming to the cafe is free to anyone. The only requirement is that guests must be clean from substance abuse for 24 hours prior to attending.

All visitors will be able to enjoy a warm meal and the opportunity to use the shower facilities. Each visitor is required to take part in a recovery circle, where participants state what they’re struggling with and what they’re grateful for that week. They also will share a short-term goal to work toward over the next week.

The cafe will also provide those in recovery with the relationships and life skills necessary to resume a healthy life, Coy said.

That includes teaching those in recovery concepts from cooking to car care, as well as introducing them to new hobbies to provide a new focus in the absence of whatever it is they’re recovering from.

Most importantly, recovery coaches will be on hand to provide free one-on-one coaching in a safe space where sober relationships can be forged.

Visiting the cafe will enable guests to build relationships with others on their own recovery journeys, said Hancock County Council member Keely Butrum, who serves on the cafe’s advisory team.

Having given up alcohol after facing her own addiction 13 years ago, Butrum knows how important the right relationships and resources can be to a successful recovery.

Those in recovery may have spent 50 to 100 hours a week engaging in their addictions, Butrum said. “That’s a lot of time to fill with new things in life. Having a place where people can go to learn some new skills and to get an encouraging word can be lifesaving.”

The cafe will offer classes on a wide range of activities like art therapy and yoga as well as wellness classes that teach things like how to maintain healthy relationships. Local chef Grant Ford will teach a cooking class, while others in the community are being sought to cover a range of other life skills.

Offering all these components for free makes the Recovery Cafe a tremendous community resource, Butrum.

“These types of resources aren’t affordable for most,” she said. “Even taking an art class is unaffordable to many, particularly when they’re coming out of the rock bottom phase of their life. Giving those in recovery a plethora of skills to help them build hobbies and other outlets so they can get better mentally, at no cost to them, is the key to success.”

A team of “Cafe Companions” will be on site every Tuesday and Thursday to offer companionship and a listening ear, or even just to play a game of cards. Child care will also be available during recovery group sessions.

“It’s just a safe environment for people to come in and sit and enjoy some companionship,” said Linda Ostewig, director of The Landing Place.

While the Recovery Cafe is held at The Landing Place, Ostewig said it’s an entity all on its own, guided by We Bloom and backed by the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction.

Ostewig has been spreading the word about the cafe through a series of “lunch and learn” talks with various organizations throughout the county and is encouraging referrals of those in need.

She hopes new volunteers heed the call to help support the cafe, and that local restaurants and churches will step forward to provide the meals to be served at the cafe, as others have provided meals for the youth recovery groups that already meet at The Landing Place on Wednesday nights.

Every staff member and volunteer at the cafe will have a background in or trained in recovery coaching, she said.

Coy, the new cafe manager, previously worked as a clinical field trainer and addiction counselor with Groups Recover Together, a Greenfield treatment center.

“I wanted to move away from that aspect of recovery and try something new,” said the Greenfield woman. “At the cafe, we’ll hook you up with food, companionship and peer support, and we’ll get you to the right person to get you whatever help you need.”

The staff at the Recovery Cafe believes that everyone is recovering from something, Coy said, whether it’s an addiction, mental health struggle, or a personal challenge like homelessness or an abusive relationship.

“This cafe is going to be run by people all in recovery,” she said, including some who have been sober for over 10 years.

“Hopefully the kindness and compassion people find here will help them see they are worthy of this life of recovery,” said Coy, as she took break from a strategy session at the cafe on Tuesday. “I pray we’re able to help every single person who walks through that door.”

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