Mind and Body

A celebration of recovery

The Blessing Way celebrates the opening of the its recovery housing for women and their children

Photo by Richard Asinof

Danielle and her son at the celebration of the opening of The Blessing Way in Portsmouth.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 5/20/19
The Blessing Way in Portsmouth, a newly certified recovery house, offers a place to live for women in recovery and their young children, blending services around recovery, treatment and counseling, helping mothers with young kids embrace a lifestyle of recovery and health living.
When will the state consider investing in this model to replicate it in other cities and towns in Rhode Island? How does the recovery housing for young mothers and their children provide recognition that the needs of women and men in recovery are different?
After the event, driving down East Main Road to Newport to visit the new home of Innovate Newport, ConvergenceRI had a chance to reflect on what he had just witnessed: a sense of hope and confidence being reborn, with the focus on creating a safe, secure place to live. For all the talk about invigorating innovation, promoting health care, improving education and spurring job creation, all too often the missing ingredient was a sense of belonging and connectedness, a human enterprise.

PORTSMOUTH – There were no TV cameras or radio microphones in attendance. The stars of the show took center stage before the actual speaking program began, as the four of kids residing in the shelter performed an impromptu boogie to the music being played, encouraged by their moms.

It was a confident, spontaneous response to the moment, in which mothers and their children could feel safe, confident and secure, capturing the importance of the opening of The Blessing Way, a division of Trinity Village, in Portsmouth. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “A safe place to call home for moms and their kids in recovery.”]

There were numerous speakers, including Tom Coderre, senior advisor to Gov. Gina Raimondo and co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Overdose Prevention and Intervention, who spoke about celebrating 16 years in recovery on May 15. “Recovery is possible for everyone,” Coderre said, citing the fact that there were now some 23.5 million people in recovery in the U.S.

More importantly, perhaps, Coderre continued, was the model being developed by The Blessing Way “could be replicated” elsewhere in Rhode Island, providing a road map for the state to follow.

One of the keys, Coderre said, was providing those in recovery with the opportunity to regain their own confidence. He also praised the efforts of Holly Cekala, chief operating officer for Trinity Healthy Living and the director of development for The Blessing Way.

George O’Toole, the new executive director of The Blessing Way recovery home for women and their children, also spoke about his personal journey in recovery, and the influence that Jim Gillen, a recovery community advocate, had had on his decision-making to find a better future.

But the soft-spoken star of the ceremony was Danielle, 26 years old, in recovery from substance use and an abusive relationship, who talked about the importance of the community of women living in the recovery housing as building a supportive environment where she could rediscover her own confidence.

With The Blessing Way, Danielle said, she and her young son, a year and half, had found a community where she was welcome, where she felt at home, where she could belong, a place where she could begin to create her own future success story and believe in herself.

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