‘Recovery Café Columbus’ offers open house events

Photo provided A photo of the interior of the Recovery Cafe at 1412 Sycamore St.

A new organization focused on recovery is inviting community members to stop in and learn more about available programming.

Recovery Café Columbus is holding several open house events over this weekend and the next. The café, which is located at 1412 Sycamore St., is inviting people to visit during the following times:

  • Oct. 14: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Oct. 15: 2-6 p.m.
  • Oct. 16: 2-6 p.m.
  • Oct. 21: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Oct. 22: 2-6 p.m.
  • Oct. 23: 2-6 p.m.

Executive Director Alison Grimes said that the space is still in development, with organizers hoping to have a soft opening the last weekend of October, followed by a grand opening in November.

“We also believe that everybody’s in recovery from something,” she said. “This is not just drugs and alcohol. Anything that keeps us from thriving, whether that be grief, loneliness, any trauma.”

The first Recovery Café was started in Seattle about 20 years ago, Grimes explained. Many communities wanted to replicate the model, which led to the creation of the Recovery Café Network. The network now includes about 60 cafés across the country.

According to Grimes, We Bloom, Inc is acting as the fiscal sponsor for the local café, which is applying for its own 501(c)(3) designation. Recovery Café Columbus is also receiving support from the café network and will be an “emerging member” for two years.

The Recovery Café model is membership-based.

“The membership doesn’t cost anything financially, but it costs three core commitments,” Grimes said. “And that is that we agree to be drug- and alcohol-free in the space; that the members attend a one hour weekly recovery circle at the same time with the same people, because we believe that every person deserves to be deeply known and loved, and it gives them the opportunity to deeply know and love others. And finally, (the last commitment is) to give back to the café space, or café community, because this doesn’t belong to any one of us. It belongs to all of us.”

Any time the café is open, members will have a safe, sober place to be, she said. The café will also offer hot meals every day they’re open, as well as coffee. They plan to be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-7 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays. The organization is trying to meet gaps in times for recovery support and hopes to expand its hours as membership grows, Grimes said.

Additionally, the organization will provide opportunities for human connections and growth. Members will have access to the School for Recovery, which are one-hour classes that run from four to eight weeks and focus on subjects chosen by members.

These could include a range of topics, Grimes said, such as life skills, budgeting, art or trauma-informed yoga.

“Anything the members want to learn or want to do, they vote on it and we do our best to bring it to them,” Grimes said. “We also have member financial assistance. It’s a pilot program that’s run by Recovery Works for café members. It’s a resource coordinator that will help them connect with any type of the community resources that they may need.”

They also plan to have monthly social events at the café, with guests welcome to attend.

Individuals who aren’t sure that they want to commit to being a member are welcome to visit up to three times without making a decision, Grimes said.

“And if at three times they’re still not sure, we’re not going to say, ‘Oh no, you can’t come back,’” she said. “Whatever it takes for people to decide that they want to be a part of it.”

Other ways to get involved with the organization include volunteering as a “café companion” for people at the center who need someone to talk to, Grimes said.

The café is also seeking donations for furniture and a variety of supplies, with a list posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Grimes added that the café is not intended to replace treatment programs or service providers, but rather to come alongside anything else a person might be doing as part of their recovery.

“There’s all kind of hurts that we experience throughout our lives,” she said. “And again, just life in general is hard. And especially after COVID, a lot of us became even more isolated than before. And it’s hard, especially when you’re trying to stay away from drugs and alcohol or want to make a healthy connection with somebody. A lot of people working from home now. It’s hard to make friends. It’s hard to get that connection. And that’s what we’re here for, is to have a place where you can get to know other people.”

Where to learn more

More information about Recovery Café Columbus is available at recoverycafecolumbus.org and on the organization’s Facebook page.