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SAFE's Family Recovery Center Supports Whole-Person Healing and Growth


SAFE's new event space at our Franklin HQ

March welcomes the arrival of SAFE’s new meeting space and home to many of our Family Recovery Center gatherings. But how much do you know about SAFE’s Family Recovery Center?


The concept of a family recovery center began in 2019 and doors opened in January 2023. Since that time, FRC programs have supported over 1,000 attendees. The FRC is founded on the principle that substance use disorder (SUD) is a family illness, and families need their own recovery separate and distinct from the loved one who is battling SUD.


Jim Derick, co-founder of SAFE and Director of the FRC, saw a need for allaying the isolating effects of mental illness and SUD on everyone involved. “As a dad with a son that had suffered from SUD for years, I was keenly aware of the anxiety, stress and impact of this illness on the family,” Derick says. “Many families initially feel they are at fault for their loved one’s illness. At the FRC they find that this is not the case and importantly that they are not alone.”


Recognizing that the process of recovery for any family is different for everyone, FRC provides more than a dozen pathways to access support and wellness. In addition to our support groups, families can access compassionate and judgment-free quiet space, social activities, self-care training, and health and wellness training.

The FRC’s offerings are designed as a supplemental resource to traditional clinical care, which SAFE CEO Jen Levine says makes them first in class in the region. “Peer work is just as important as clinical work,” says Levine. “It’s what makes our support a unique, whole-person, whole-family style of care.”


The FRC's support groups rely on trained volunteer peer leaders with shared lived experience of the topic. Families Anonymous, The Ripple Effect (an adult sibling support circle), Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Artists’ etc. and Peer Support all honor the crucial role that shared experience can play in witnessing and holding space for a person’s grief, emotional processing, and ongoing support.


Derick says by treating the individual as just one part of an entire system in need of healing, spaces like FRC offer critical paths toward recovery. “We know that SUD is a family illness, “ says Derick. “Without treatment, the impact on the family and its individual members can be devastating. Statistics show that the individual with SUD has a greater chance of maintaining their recovery when the family of origin is pursuing its own recovery.”


Most recently, the SAFE Cafe was launched offering additional opportunities for support and connection. Every Friday 8:30-noon, SAFE Cafe is open for coffee and conversation. And the Cafe After Dark series offers open mic performance art and safe and sober space for everyone in the community to enjoy. Cafe After Dark runs May 11th, August 3rd and October 5th.


 With offerings every week, SAFE is making a measurable impact in the mental wellness of our community. As one member of Families Anonymous said, “This support group has changed my life.” Explaining how they learned how to set boundaries and seek guidance, they said the group helped them heal. “I learned that my loved one needs to have their own experience and that I am there to love [them],” they said.

For more on the Family Recovery Center and a full list of SAFE’s support services, visit our Support Groups page and Community Events Calendar. With questions or more information, email info@safecoalitionma.org.

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