Reflections Newsletter

In September, Ripple received a notification in the mail. As many of you know, we became a legally incorporated organization this year and took steps towards becoming a federally recognized non-profit. We received a letter from the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service, delivered on September 4th, 2020, and learned that the application for our 501(c)(3) had been approved.

A place among our friends: On September 21st, we were incredibly proud to announce that Ripple had officially been added to the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) website Advocacy and Support Resources section of their website.

Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership and Empowerment joined a list of organizations, including Advocacy Unlimited, Toivo, The Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, National Alliance on Mental Illness, TurningpointCT.org, Keep the Promise Coalition, and many more. We are truly grateful to be listed among all of the other amazing organizations offering services to the peer community.

Our goals for the future:

We recently added a new page to RockingRecovery.org that outlines our long term goals that can be found under the “ABOUT” menu tab. The biggest goal so far is the creation of a peer run respite. The plan: purchase a piece of property somewhere in the Northeast corner of Connecticut and establish a respite with a minimum capacity of four people at a time. The property would also have 2 – 4 cabins for staff such as a caretaker and live in Recovery Support Specialists. This respite location would also have a structure suitable to serve as Ripple’s main office and base of operations; this would include hosting phone and internet-based peer support platforms. To learn more, please visit us at RockingRecovery.org/long-term-goals/

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Ripple launches a late-night peer support group. Starting on September 15th, we began hosting peer support meetings on the Zoom platform. Over these last several months, many of us have learned just how effective online meetings can be. Advocacy Unlimited created a Covid-19 support group that has been very successful. Inspired by their efforts, we decided to offer another which members of the peer community could access.

One thing we wanted to address was a general gap in supportive services. Connecticut has many resources that offer support, but they are not always available. We have found through other peers sharing their stories that night groups are rare, and they generally don’t run past 9:00 PM. People who live with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health challenges often struggle at night when warmlines and support groups have shut down for the day.

Peers in recovery from addiction also find the nighttime hours difficult and might not be able to reach out to anyone who can help.

It is during these hours where we opted to focus our time. Our pilot program is starting with two nights a week, each session lasting two hours. Currently, the format would be 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

The eventual hope is to expand this service to encompass all 365 days of the year. We want to provide support from 10:00PM until 6:00AM daily with at least two certified peers on the call at all times. Having a second peer will allow us to run the meeting and also have the option to take a person in crisis into a private Zoom room if needed.

Volunteers are currently hosting our Tuesday and Thursday meetings, and there will always be at least one certified Recovery Support Specialist on these calls. To achieve a 365-day supportive service, funding will be needed. Certified peers outside of Ripple would need to be brought on board and compensated for their time. All of these things are doable but will take time to get going; this is especially true since Ripple itself is just getting started and taking shape.

For more information, please visit RockingRecovery.org/zoom-meetings/

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One of our many ongoing projects is the constant adding of resources to RockingRecovery.org. We believe that when people find and connect with the programs and services they need, their lives will improve. We are asking for your help in locating and sharing more resources in the three following categories.

Homeless Outreach: It is estimated that there are over 550,000 people in the United States experiencing homelessness on a given night. In Connecticut, the estimated homeless population was more than 14,000 people, including 2,500 children, back in 2012. It is likely that after the upcoming 2020 census, we will see those numbers change. Homeless men, women, and children come from every race, every level of education, and represent one of our most vulnerable populations. We will list as many resources as we can on this page to serve this community. Currently, this category has the fewest links listed, and we would like to change that. Please contact us if you know of any outreach program not already listed. Thank you.

LGBTQ+ Friendly: These organizations have made providing members of this community feel welcomed. They strive to create an environment that is safe and supportive at all times. They believe in equality and are respectful of everyone’s right to be who they are as individuals and how they choose to live their lives. Please visit our website today to discover the resources already listed and to suggest additions we can share.

Domestic Violence: is a destructive pattern of behavior that is harmful to the relationship and family. We are looking for as many of these services as we can find. Since the start of the pandemic, domestic violence shelters have been filled to capacity. People who are actively trying to flee abusive relationships and situations have no safe place to go. If you have a moment, please visit our website and look at the list of shelters and services already posted. If you are aware of any that are missing, let us know, and we will update the site. With every new option listed, we can potentially save a person’s life.

Domestic Violence Services

And now, a word of thanks to the entire community. While it is true that RockingRecovery.org was built and is maintained by Ripple, we must give credit where credit is due. Since our launch, in May of last year, we have spoken to dozens of people in recovery, our peers. They have offered thoughtful suggestions from resource links to add, the creation of entire categories, even going as far as suggesting a font known to be easier to read for those with vision impairment. Without you, this site would have been impossible to create.

We look forward to more feedback, ideas, and of course, more resources from you in the future. Thank you for all you have done.

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Ripple’s site, RockingRecovery.org continues to grow! We officially launched as a community resource on May 1st, 2019, and since that time, it has taken on a life of its own. The most visited section of this site is the CT RESOURCE LINKS page where we have hundreds of programs and services for people in Connecticut who need help. As of the publication of this newsletter, there are 49 categories leading to over 1050 links to providers who offer a combined 1,570+ resources within the state. This section of the site is icon-driven, which allows you to quickly scan through the services and find the help you need.

Over the last few months, several people have told us how impressed they are with the website, people who are involved with peer education have mentioned that they use it in their classes. We are both gratified and humbled that this is proving to be useful by the community, but we have a confession to make. The work and ideas being put into this website are not ours alone. Much of the creative influence of this site has come from people just like you.

Without the stories our peers have shared with over the last year, the site would be a lot more sparse. We not only understand the power of sharing our stories; we know the power of listening to yours. As a community, it is easy to see, the more we share, the more we grow.

One of our philosophies is you only need three things to help someone, hope, time, and compassion. It is our goal to show others out there that Connecticut offers a vast network of organizations, services, and programs for people living with mental illness and addiction… That they are not alone, and that people are willing to support them in their recovery.

Ripple’s mission is simple, as people with lived experience in the mental health and substance abuse services system, we seek to empower our peers. To use our voices to educate,

inform, and inspire new leaders in our community. We will bring new and innovative ideas to the recovery processes for the benefit of all. RockingRecovery.org is one of the tools that will help is be successful in that goal.

This website is made up of over 150 pages and has taken over 550 hours of work to get to where we are now. Currently, we are aware of more than a dozen agencies using our site to better serve their clients.

RockingRecovery.org has become a useful tool to help their clients get connected to outside services that improve the quality of their lives. We hope this will be picked up by more providers in the area and it can bring more help to those who need it.

A note from the webmaster:

RockingRecovery.org is a lot like a person’s recovery journey; it does not happen all at once, and at some points, it won’t go exactly as planned. We will hit obstacles and have setbacks, but with enough time, we will see our way clear and be able to move forward. It is our goal to create the most useful site possible for our community and peers. We will be continuously adding the CT Resource Links section and expect that it, just like recovery itself, will always be a work in progress.

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