The Rapidian

Frontline Recovery: Making Addiction Recovery Available to All

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

In less than a year, a new addiction recovery community center on Grand Rapids' southeast side is changing the neighborhood landscape.

Interested in learning more about Frontline Recovery's programs and services?

How can you help?

  • Frontline Recovery has an urgent financial need to help underwrite the cost of winter heating bills at their meeting center. To make a financial gift, please send checks to Frontline Recovery, 1717 Madison Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49507, or call (616) 514-9277.
  • Volunteer. Frontline Recovery is specifically seeking volunteers to help with building maintenance, infrastructure, and their website.

Please call (616) 514-9277 for NA or AA meeting schedules, or stop by and visit at 1717 Madison Ave. SE.

Degage’s Open Door Women’s Shelter has a rule that if you’re too inebriated to make it up the stairs, you can’t stay at the night shelter. But when she worked there, Dionna Bracey frequently found herself helping intoxicated women up the stairs at night. The option was leaving them to sleep on the sidewalk outside, and she couldn’t do it. “I found myself in love with these women who reminded me of my mother,” says Bracey.

Her mother battled drug addiction from an early age, leading to a difficult and often isolating childhood for Bracey and her sister. Now in long-term recovery for more than 10 years herself, Bracey went through Narcotics Anonymous to get sober, working through issues of depression and abandonment and, she says, eventually leading her back to church.

Today, Bracey is at the helm of a new nonprofit in the Garfield Park neighborhood: Frontline Recovery. A community center focused on recovery, Bracey’s organization offers Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings throughout the week, along with open drop-in hours. “People come in throughout the day,” explains Bracey, “they want help connecting to resources, encouragement, a cup of coffee. Everyone is welcome—I want people to know they’re loved, that the Lord is there for them, just like the Lord was there for my sister and me even when our mom couldn’t keep us safe.”

So far the response has been overwhelming. Often thirty to forty people pack into Frontline Recovery’s small storefront space for one 12-step meeting. Located near the intersection of Madison and Dickinson, Frontline Recovery will celebrate its one-year anniversary in February of this year.

“Drug and alcohol abuse cause criminal and violent behavior that affect our whole community—my kids and your kids,” says Bracey. Frontline Recovery aims to break down stigma around addiction, she says, particularly in the African-American community. The organization’s philosophy is to focus on recovery rather than addiction, and to bridge the gap between a clinical (inpatient) treatment episode and long term recovery.

As a community recovery center positioned in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, Frontline Recovery brings racial equity to the addiction recovery landscape in Grand Rapids. “It offers us the space to be ourselves—a space for minority people to go and feel at home,” explains Bracey. “Sometimes it’s hard to be myself with people who don’t look like me, and so because of racial barriers we may not heal fully. In addiction recovery, that can be a challenge.”

It’s one of the many challenges Bracey is prepared to tackle as she helps people seeking a life without drugs and alcohol find it in their own neighborhood. “We’re making recovery normal in this community,” Bracey says. “We are making recovery available to all.”

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