Drug Recovery organization celebrates one-year anniversary by looking to the future

Published 8:09 am Friday, September 27, 2019

Roughly one year since Dare to be You Recovery started up in a nook in Downtown Elizabethton, its founders are looking back on how they got to where they are today, as well as forwards to what the future has in store for them.

Gail Street and Traci Campbell said they first opened the doors of their drug addiction recovery center on September 18 last year.

“It is pretty amazing,” Street said. “We are giving [people] the tools and education they need.”

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The organization is not the first of its kind in Carter County, though Campbell said their approach is different from how other nonprofits handle addiction recovery, what she called Smart Recovery.

“It actively works with the whole individual,” Campbell said. “It does not use labels like alcoholic or addict. Your addiction does not define you.”

This motivation to try a different approach comes from the duo’s direct experiences with loved ones going through addiction.

“I grew up in a family of addiction,” she said. “My little sister died form a drug overdose. She was my best friend.”

Street said she has lived alongside similar struggles.

“I was married to an alcoholic for 10 years, and we have been remarried for about six and a half years,” Street said.

Campbell said Smart Recovery works to underline and help resolve the issues that lead to addiction rather than stopping at the addiction itself, a method she said is more successful because it creates a better foundation for the person in question.

“If you do not heal the inside, you are not going to help the addiction,” she said.

The road from September 18, 2018 to today started out with some unique challenges. For starters, they learned the hard way they could not receive state funding or grants until they had been in operation for at least a year. Instead, they had to rely on voluntary donations from individuals or organizations, such as Atlantic Reclaimed Lumber. Without them, she said, they might not have even taken off the ground in the first place.

“One of the challenges has been getting people back,” Campbell said. “Sometimes you have two people in a meeting, and sometimes you have eight.”

Maintaining that level of commitment can be tough, they said, because of their life circumstances.

“Transportation is a big issue,” Street said.

An example of their work in the community, they said, was a man who has been out of jail for about three months in a 10-year period. Dare to be You helped him create his resume, apply for jobs and more, all to help set up a foundation so he can stay out of prison.

All of this, they said, is also to help change the community’s perception about those with addiction. Street told the story of an officer who she interacted with during an Evening on Elk (not from Carter County) who told her “once an addict, always an addict.”

“We want to change that perception,” she said. “I know it is possible.”

Now that the organization has made it through their first year and can now apply for additional avenues of funding, Dare to be You’s agenda for growth is expansive, from reaching out to colleges to possibly find interns and to be included in their GED programs to working on creating programs with the jail, to start the rehabilitation process early.

“We want to eventually have a halfway house,” Campbell said. “We will sit with them in court.”

They said they will still do fundraisers from time to time to raise both funds and awareness of what they do, such as their current car wash partnership with Ultimate Shine in Elizabethton.

From now until August, part of every wash’s cost will go towards Dare to be You.

“We want to educate the public on what addiction actually is,” Campbell said. “You are two checks away from homelessness. It could happen to anyone.”

For more information on what Dare to be You provides or the sessions they host, contact the organization at 423-518-1095 or by visiting them at 439 East Elk Avenue in Elizabethton. The center is open most weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.