Treatment search

Sober houses help fill void with addiction treatment services

Enso Recovery, which runs homes and treatment centers, provides services and support for people who need help now.

AUGUSTA, Maine – In 2021, Maine saw an estimated 636 people die of fatal drug overdoses, breaking the 2020 record of 504 deaths, according to a report from the Margaret Chase Smith Rural Drug and Alcohol Research Program. University of Maine Policy Center.

Experts said the crisis is exacerbated by a lack of treatment programs, but Maine’s sober shelters are helping fill that gap for people who need support now to get on the path to sobriety.

Angie, who asked us not to use her last name, runs a tight ship as the manager of Enso Recovery, a sober house in Augusta.

“They have their curfew, which is 10 p.m. on weekdays,” Angie said.

Helping to run the Enso Recovery Women’s House is a busy job.

Enso Recovery operates recovery homes and treatment facilities for men and women in Augusta and Sanford.

There are also mandatory “home” meetings, where women are taught how to administer Narcan or naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose.

The women do chores, shop and prepare meals, and undergo intensive outpatient therapy five days a week at a nearby clinic. The majority of the staff are also actively recovering, including Angie.

The loss of her young son Teegan led to heroin addiction. Angie had several stays in long-term treatment centers, but always relapsed. Finally, after promising her eldest son that she would get clean as a graduation present, she came to Enso in the fall of 2020.

“He didn’t want to get that call saying his mom had overdosed,” Angie said.

Angie learned to take responsibility for her addiction, and after making progress, she was allowed to take college courses with the goal of becoming an addiction counselor.

Steve Danzig, executive director of Enso Recovery, said the program supports clients with social services, jobs and educational opportunities to help them succeed when they are ready to live on their own.

While not a substitute for residential treatment, recovery homes provide an essential safety net at a time when inpatient beds in Maine are severely limited.

“If we don’t have a place to put someone, we’ll find a place to put someone. You can’t wait,” said Danzig, who has been recovering for 25 years.

Now a certified peer recovery coach, Angie helps other women struggling with the same demons. She is also eternally grateful to her son.

“He tells me he loves me and is proud of me,” Angie said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, there are resources available. You can call 2-1-1 or the Maine State Crisis Hotline at 1-888-568-1112.

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