An interview with Tammy Wilson CAS, CCTP, OP Supervisor, MRT, QMAP and
Brenda Durante, peer recovery specialist at RESADA.
Tammy Wilson is passionate about raising awareness of the resources and services available for recovery in Southeastern Colorado. As the outpatient clinical supervisor at RESADA, a small treatment center in Las Animas, Colorado, she wants moms who need support to know that they are not alone and recovery can start with small steps.
“Being a mom, myself, you know, we tend to exclude ourselves or kind of hide back. But there are other people dealing with the same issues,” she said. “We would rather have people come in, even if it's just to sit with peers for some support, than have no treatment at all.”
RESADA is a recovery center in Southeast Colorado, a region with one of the highest opioid overdose rates in the state. Still, the center had to fight to move into its building, which used to house social services. The community was worried it would bring substance misuse to the neighborhood.
Wilson explained that some community members think that the town’s substance misuse issues exist in part because of its proximity to the nearby Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community, an inpatient program for people formerly or currently experiencing homelessness. “People don't understand that it's not them that's necessarily bringing in the substances. It's just, it's already here in town,” she said. “So we had the whole conversation of, okay, it's the same people that would go to social services that would be coming here for outpatient services.”
While the RESADA has 28 beds for residential treatment and social detox services, Wilson says it’s often better for clients to receive outpatient services first. “If you have sustainability at home, we don't want to rip you out of that and then send you to treatment and completely disrupt your life. So really the outpatient service is to try to work with you while you're in your home, and just try to give you those tools to keep going or help you figure out those next steps for yourself,” she said.
The comprehensive outpatient services at RESADA include individual counseling, life skills, a women’s trauma recovery group, CRAFT groups for families, and numerous other groups that employ different types of cognitive behavioral therapy. They recently began providing adolescent services as well, and are talking with the school board and local school about starting prevention and harm reduction programs.
RESADA clients also now have access to peer support through the center’s Peer Connection group. Brenda Durante is a peer recovery specialist, and began her own recovery journey at RESADA. “My probation officer sent me to (inpatient) treatment, and while I was there I was able to stay sober long enough to listen,” she said. After volunteering to do community service at RESADA, and taking classes on peer support, the center asked her to join the staff. “I am so grateful today that I get to work here,” she said. “My role is really just to meet the person exactly where they're at and connect with them through my own experience of recovery.”
Durante supports peers through motivational interviewing and recovery meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Recovery Anonymous, Smart Recovery, and other groups. She is also helping Wilson fulfill her vision to raise awareness about their region’s recovery resources through RESADA’s first annual recovery walk, coming up on September 18.
The Annual Steps for Recovery and Prevention will raise money to help pay for treatment for those who can’t afford it, and bring prevention programs to local schools. “The whole idea is to raise awareness within our community to let people know you can’t just turn a blind eye [to substance misuse] and that we have to have support,” said Wilson. “It is also to let people know that there are treatments and resources available.”
Wilson emphasized the need for providers to collaborate because of the lack of treatment centers in the area. She and Durante are working to bring in partners from all over Southeast Colorado, including La Junta, Springfield, and Rocky Ford to participate in the event. “We will have resource tables from as many entities as possible. It's all about, here’s all of our resources in one place. Let’s get you the information so we can figure things out and help you,” she said.
In addition to resources, the event will include AcuDetox services, live bands, free HIV and Hepatitis-C testing, face painting, food for purchase, and a rock wall. Wilson explained that a big goal of the event is bringing the community together around recovery. “It’s just getting us all as one, having them mingle with those that are in addiction, in recovery, the whole nine yards, and saying ‘We’ve got to do this as a community, together.’”