There are almost 30,000 homeless and underserved men, women, and children in Maricopa county. Mental illness, addiction, and poverty are among the top contributors to this problem. A Better Today Recovery Services (ABTRS) is reaching out to these homeless and underserved people to offer them a hot meal, experience, strength, and hope.
Of all things that a person needs to learn in recovery, staff at ABTRS know that humility and giving back is one of the essentials. It’s about being of service to those who need it most.
Equipped with a vision, ABTRS began the search for a community organization to help establish an outreach where the recovered and newly recovered can make a real difference. Scottsdale First Baptist Church opened their doors to ABTRS, welcoming not the only the ABTRS alumni program, but those who are currently in treatment. Around 8-10 alumni, patients, and staff members gather together to feed 60-100 people each week.
Patients who are currently completing the ABTRS treatment program can also volunteer to attend. They spend the evening not only serving food but sitting together with the men and women they serve. It’s more than just handing someone a hot plate. It’s about getting outside of one’s self. Whatever it is a warm hug, random conversation, or guidance for an addict still in the grips of use.
The idea is to be a beacon of hope for those who desperately need recovery or are going through difficult life circumstances. At the end of the day, ABTRS wants these people to leave feeling grateful, refreshed, and renewed – believing that they can better their situation.
ABTRS patients are encouraged to participate in the outreach program with alumni, because the experience is that much more valuable to those in early recovery. One gentleman who was struggling with his newfound sobriety was at high risk for relapse. The experience of helping others put him back on the course for long-term recovery and he is now thriving at ABTRS.
For the ABTRS alumni and patients, the simple act of giving sparks inspiration and hope for their own journey of recovery. During active addiction, they experienced a life with nothing to give back to others. Now in recovery, the realization that they do have something to give back to world around them hits them. Realizing that they are where they are today because others poured in love, time, and care to help them and meet them right where they are. The hope is that they will continue to find ways to pay it forward long after treatment and make acts of service an ongoing part of their lives.
Because so many people who are homeless struggle with addiction, the ABTRS team is equipped with resources and places that can help with treatment including scholarships.
Approaching a stranger who is struggling and sharing experience, strength, and hope can be intimidating and even scary for some. Regardless, recovery from drugs and alcohol is about learning how to be uncomfortable and realizing that when you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing by stepping out of your comfort zone.
ABTRS’s vision for community outreach doesn’t stop here. ABTRS patients, staff, and alumni have big goals when it comes to doing more outreach.