September is National Recovery Month. A time when voices of recovery are brought to the forefront of conversation and celebrated nationally. While The Phoenix shares stories of hope all months of the year, right now, I’d like to highlight our efforts in Boston specifically, which is where our newest Anchor Chapter is already creating positive change in New England.
The Phoenix was founded in Boulder, CO in 2006, with a core group of people all seeking a new way of life in recovery. This core group helped shape the concept of creating a sober active community. Several individuals of this core group are still with The Phoenix and have helped us grow our model into what it is today – an organization with more than 45 locations across the U.S.
While The Phoenix was launched in Boulder, the concept was born in Boston. Not only did I get sober in Boston over 22 years ago, but it’s where I met Jacki Hillios, our Deputy Executive Director who has been instrumental in grounding our model with evidence-based approaches. It’s always been my dream to bring The Phoenix ‘home’ to the city where it got its roots. After refining our model for several years, we were ready to launch programs in Boston in 2015. We started small; running remote programs throughout the city, while in search of a building that would serve as a hub of recovery.
After slowly growing our Boston membership and integrating into the community, a unique opportunity presented itself to purchase a 10,000 sq.ft. building in a neighborhood hit hardest by addiction. With the support of local donors and The Stand Together Foundation, we were able to purchase what is now our flagship site for the New England region, a region profoundly impacted by substance use disorder.
We were incredibly proud to officially open the facility one year ago this month, where now nearly 300 individuals from all over the state come together to celebrate this beacon of hope. In addition to supporting The Phoenix’s capacity building in launching this flagship site, the continued support of Stand Together Foundation has allowed us to increase our reach by investing in PR & marketing efforts that have amplified our message of hope to new audiences – including a partnership with the Boston Red Sox! These initiatives have been instrumental in accelerating our impact and ultimately saving more lives. In 2019 alone, we have served over 1,500 new individuals in the Boston community.
We look forward to expanding into even more communities across this nation, to stem the tide of the addiction crisis. With STF’s support, we know we will reach and meet the needs of many struggling with the disease of substance use disorder.
Scott Strode is the founder and executive director of The Phoenix. He is 22 years sober.