By Simone Greene
Recovery Ready Community
The Chicago neighborhood of Austin knows all too well the destruction of addiction. One of the city’s largest neighborhoods, it’s also one of the deadliest for overdose deaths, consistently ranking in the top five. Despite that, resources in the community aren’t readily available for those looking for recovery. Dora and John Wright are trying to change this.
In 2012, the Wrights started the Chicago Recovering Communities Coalition (CRCC) to provide resources and a voice to those impacted by addiction in the community. They understand the voice of people in recovery firsthand. Together, they have over 45 years in recovery themselves and nearly 40 years of experience working with people struggling with substance use disorders and mental illness.
Embedded in the heart of Austin, CRCC is Illinois’ first Recovery Community Organization (RCO). In its simplest terms, an RCO is a peer-driven organization whose mission is increasing visibility and resources for those in recovery. Whether a family member, a person in recovery, or a person still in active addiction, CRCC is there for them, providing support beyond the treatment doors. As Dora puts it, “Those in recovery aren’t the only ones who need support. Family members need our assistance too, and we provide them with resources.” Its services include peer support, recovery coaching, trauma groups, naloxone training, outreach, education and meditative art. It recently opened a 10-bed recovery home and CRCC’s Recovery Community Center provides an atmosphere of hope and wellness.
So, what’s next for the Chicago Recovering Communities Coalition? Dora recently retired from her day job and the sky’s the limit: partnerships with other organizations in the community; placing peer supporters in the hospital; constantly advocating for the recovery community. “Working in the treatment arena, we saw how many fields were in separate corners. But now, people are talking about this disease and we have the opportunity to work together and create change. This is an exciting time not just for Austin, or Chicago, but for the nation.”
Chicago Recovering Communities Coalition was a featured award winner in the 2019 Innovation Now project of the Addiction Policy Forum.
Simone Greene works to highlight best practices and innovators in the field of addiction through her work at Addiction Policy Forum. Prior to joining, she was a project coordinator for The Moss Group, a correctional consulting firm based in Washington, DC. She received her master’s degree in Forensic and Legal Psychology from Marymount University.