POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Help is now a close phone call away.
The Friends of Meetings phone line is a lifeline for those struggling with addiction or sobriety. The phone went “live” at 4 p.m. April 13. The number is 304-373-5600.
Initial funding for the phone came through donations and some start-up funds from The Meeting House in Point Pleasant, which is a centralized location for recovery services located in the former St. Paul UM Church. In addition, Mason County Sheriff Greg Powers recently donated money to put “minutes” on the phone.
Unlike some help lines which may be answered by a person an hour away, the FOM phone line will be answered by specially trained recovery coaches from the tri-county area. The coaches, of which there are six, will be responsible for answering the phone on a rotating basis. These “coaches” went through an intensive training session at The Meeting House and organized by Stacy Adams, the county’s drug court counselor. The course itself was taught by representatives of the Genesis Program of Westbrook Health Services in Parkersburg.
Those passing the recovery coach program were trained to provide peer support and act somewhat as a “sponsor” to those facing addiction. They are to be helpful in finding resources for treatment, family support and education, as well as supporting any positive changes the addicted person incurs.
The goal of the FOM phone line is to provide the community with recovery support services by being a phone call away. In addition, the phone line will be used to help callers establish a strong support system to reduce the risk of relapse. Both calls and texts will be accepted seven days a week.
As recovery coaches Matt Young and Brent Kapp pointed out, not everyone wants to meet face-to-face, saying the use of the FOM phone line may be an easier way to connect people with recovery services or just an understanding voice. Both men are in recovery themselves and will be speaking from not only a place of sympathy with the callers, but empathy.
Adams said she’s also made contact with agencies in Gallia and Meigs counties in Ohio about the new phone line which is meant to be used by people not only in Mason County but the surrounding area as well.
In addition, those struggling with addiction issues can call The Meeting House between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., at 304-857-6534 for assistance and meeting times. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and the Loved Ones Support Group are all meeting at The Meeting House at this time.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.