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Restoration through Community thrives at Recovery Café

We know there was a lot more stuff talked about but also know they have to cut some things out. The Cafe feels they captured the Cafe perfectly!

VANCOUVER — Addiction in its many forms has caused heartbreak for many people in Clark County, but the Recovery Café may have a solution: community.

The organization was formed in 2018 by a group of community members from diverse backgrounds, and ever since has been helping people into recovery through accountability, family and good food. Along the way, they even give jobs to people that become members.

“We went up to the Seattle café, which that’s where the first cafe started. Before we even left that building, we were like, ‘This is what Vancouver needs, they need a place to where people could come and they feel safe,’” said Becky Gonzales, the operations manager for the café. “It was made to feel like it wasn’t just, you know, a building to come to, but it was a place to come and feel like you’re home and you’re safe.”

Becky and her husband Ethan both work at the café to facilitate the key components of its success. Nearly the entire team at the café are living lives in recovery themselves, and are now sharing the wisdom they learned on their journeys.

The three rules for becoming a member of the café are to be clean and sober for 24 hours as to not trigger any other member in recovery, plugin to community through a recovery circle and to give back to the community through work at the café or elsewhere.

The recovery circles are led by people who themselves have achieved recovery and are not programs as much as they are accountability and support teams. In the beginning, the café only hosted two circles. As of this month, they have 91 actively meeting groups. Each week they come together to encourage and listen to each other.

“I have everything I need to function, and a lot of that is because of the cafe and the closeness and the circles that I’ve attended. And now I’m employed here,” said Mark Schilling who is in recovery and works as a COVID monitor at the café. “This is an amazing place. I see it time and time again, people come in here and they find hope, and help and compassion.”

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