Beer City Recovery (BCR) is a peer-based support group designed to address the growing problem of substance abuse in the Grand Rapids community's restaurant service industry. 16.9% of servers report a substance abuse problem within the last year. 11.8% of severs report heavy alcohol use in the last month. 1 in 10 managers are abusing at least one controlled substance.
There are many recovery groups out there: AA, Smart Recovery, and Life Ring to name a few. Attend a meeting and mention you work in a bar, restaurant, or any other establishment that serves or sells alcohol and you will hear the token "Clean people, dry places," and be told you won't be able to get clean until you give up the industry. This sentiment requires people who are seeking recovery to forfeit their livelihood and, in many cases, their existing support group of coworkers in order to demonstrate a serious commitment to self-improvement. These biased expectations often prevent people in the service industry from getting the help they need. BCR focuses on working through the challenges of going through recovery while immersed in an environment prone to substance abuse, as opposed to outright avoidance of temptation. We also don’t preach complete sobriety but instead promote discussion and exploration of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a balanced relationship with alcohol. We have members who are completely sober and some who are just starting to evaluate their relationship with substances.
If leaving the industry entirely is the primary path toward recovery, then we are not actually solving our problems: we are running away from them.
Enter Beer City Recovery
After growing up and spending almost 16 years in the food and beverage industry and going through my own legal problems that arose from alcohol abuse, I realized that the industry I loved was in crisis. Crisis from binge drinking, recreational drugs, drinking and driving, and alcoholism. Substance abuse is not a black and white problem. You can fall on a scale of "not at risk" to "imminent death" and anything in between. This group is for people who might find themselves somewhere in between those two extremes and want to take a look at how they are living their lives. We are an open format peer counseling group. We meet biweekly and talk about the problems that arise from trying to stay sober/cut down your drinking/drug use while being surrounded by it.
Currently our goal is to hold our biweekly meetings and continue helping the industry workers that are exploring their relationships with alcohol and help them with their journeys. Long term goals include partnering with other small recovery groups and opening a Recovery Center in Grand Rapids - a place where people in recovery can have a safe place to go that they know will be substance free. Think art, yoga, meditation groups, hangouts with kids, community events, and other activities that help build a community that does not rely on alcohol to socialize.
You can help us.
We are trying to raise a cool $1,000. That money will be spent on marketing BCR and spreading the word as well as covering the cost of galas and community events to further our connections in the recovery community.
Why you should help :)
If you chose to help us you will be fostering a happier, healthier community. Beer City Recovery is trying to change the food/beverage/service industry. You will help us pay fees to attend events to continue to spread the word of the group, print meeting schedules and brochures to pass out around town, and so on. We are also making greeting cards geared towards recovery, such as cards expressing encouragement for those in recovery gratitude for those who support them.