2022 Year In Review — Growth and Gratitude


Three adult women standing facing the camera with their arms around each other, they are all smiling and wearing t-shirts with information about the rally for recovery walk.

January 2023

Dear friends of Recovery Is Happening,

Last week, the Board of Directors and I worked with a consultant to begin a new strategic planning process for Recovery Is Happening’s Recovery Community Organization. This led to reflections about the past year that I would like to share with you. In 2022, we faced challenges due to the opioid crisis and the other painful realities of substance use disorder, and we also shared many beautiful successes.

While in many respects the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are delighted to share that more and more in-person recovery meetings are happening at our Rochester center, including traditional 12 step support groups as well as SMART Recovery, Wellbriety, Soul Recovery, and SANE Recovery. And, more people than ever before have been using our onsite gym, including a weekly “CardioBlast” where staff and recoverees get together for some high intensity workouts. Our gym is open to everyone in recovery and is free to use! We also host events at our Rochester center including the Jolly Trolly, St. Patrick’s Day, Game Nights, with more to come this summer. 

We have welcomed 8 new Peer Recovery Support Specialists that we have highlighted or will be highlighting – our “Staff Stars!” – in our e-mail newsletter (sign up here!) that gets sent out to about 1,700 people each month. While most of our Peers are based in Olmsted county, thanks to the support of the United Way of Mower County and Hormel, we have a Peer who is quite active now in Mower county, too!

Check out the January issue of our email for details including an infographic about our latest program funded by the Behavioral Health Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services: Deepening Our Roots: Growing an Interconnected and Sustainable Recovery Community (“the Roots program”). Through the Roots program we will be building more connections with other community organizations to reach and better support people seeking recovery from substance use disorders. We will also be offering more targeted supports for people who want to build life or work skills through the Roots program. A major focus of this program will also be growth as an organization in terms of our equity and inclusion efforts. 

For the last year,  since I became Recovery Is Happening’s executive director, I have been committed to ensuring our high stress jobs do not take too much out of us. That is to say, we want a workplace culture built on trust and communication as well as one that emphasizes work-life balance. One important step in this direction was Cheryl Otto’s work as a supervisor for our Peers. Cheryl provides support and guidance and helps our Peers notice if they are “doing too much.” The work our Peers do with recoverees is inspiring and joy-filled and can also be heartbreaking. Substance use disorders are cunning, baffling, and powerful, indeed. Our Board of Directors welcomed three new members in 2022 and have been an amazing support for our organization’s continued growth.

For our staff we have brought in consultants to help build stress management skills. We also hope to create a Restorative Wellness Lounge in our expanded office space later this year to benefit staff and recoverees alike. This room will be comfortable and relaxing, filled with plants and offering healthy snacks for staff to rest and rejuvenate throughout the work day. Recoverees can meet with their Peer Recovery Support Specialists privately in the lounge, as well. If you would like to help us make this space a reality, we always welcome donations!

Our Strong Start Housing program continues to serve recoverees living in sober living homes who participate in Recovery Is Happening’s Peer-infused intensive outpatient treatment program. 65% of participants in Strong Start Housing who worked with our Peers consistently have been staying sober! Program participants receive rental assistance for the first three months in the recovery homes and work with our Peers to build their recovery capital with amazing results. Check out this wonderful summary of recovery capital offered by Faces & Voices in Recovery: https://facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/2019/10/08/recovery-capital-its-role-in-sustaining-recovery/ 

Last fall we brought back our Rally for Recovery and enjoyed the amazing turnout and overwhelming support from our community. Check out the photos! If you are interested in sponsoring the Rally this upcoming September, like Adult & Teen Challenge Minnesota, Doc’s Recovery House, NUWAY, Rochester Chevrolet, and Valley Medical & Wellness did in 2022, please let me know!

Our peers met on a one-on-one basis with recoverees over 10,400 times in 2022, providing much needed personalized recovery support serving more than 150 recoverees. They also made over 6,400 telephone recovery support calls last year. We participated in more than 240 meetings or activities involving nearly 6,400 individuals.

So much is happening for Recovery Is Happening, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community. So, thank you. And, if you know of anyone who needs support in their recovery, please send them our way.

With gratitude,

Jenna Christensen
executive director