The SOS Berks Opioid Coalition held a Recovery Simulation event on Thursday, April 20th. The inaugural event was created to increase participants’ understanding of complexity the addiction recovery process.
The event aims to foster empathy and compassion among those struggling with addiction. “We recognize that there’s a stigma that exists, in Berks County and throughout the Commonwealth, around people who are in early recovery with addiction. Therefore, we wanted to have an event to highlight what someone goes through during recovery. If you haven’t lived that experience, it might be hard to understand and gain empathy for those who do,” said Jaclyn Steed, the program manager with the Council on Chemical Abuse.
Roughly 80 people attended the three-hour-long simulation, held at Easy Does It Inc in Bern Township.
Approximately half of the participants received life cards representing individuals in early recovery during the recovery simulation event. Participants visited various tables to complete tasks listed on their cards, and volunteers were available to help.
Tasks on a life card included meeting a probation officer, applying for social services, attending counseling, and using public transportation.
“All of our participants are people who don’t have first-hand lived experience. They are trying to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be a person in early recovery and all the challenges one is faced,” said Scott Althouse, Executive Director of Easy Does It, Inc.
Steed said SOS Berks is hosting the Recovery Simulation event for the first time. The response from volunteers and potential attendees has been tremendous.
Attending events like this is beneficial for those who do not already know about recovery. Encouraged attendees include those with backgrounds in Human Services, Criminal Justice, Education, college students, or anyone interested in learning.
“I think people don’t understand what substance use addiction is all about and how difficult it is to achieve recovery and maintain it. I think everybody could benefit from experiencing something like this and gaining empathy for those suffering from substance use disorder,” said Tina George, an event volunteer and Senior Coordinator of Student Assistance Programming at Caron Treatment Center.
The Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug & Alcohol Commission is hosting an event on May 8th, 2023, in Palmerton, PA. For more information, go to sosberks.org/event/recovery-simulation-event for additional details.