Providing information for People & Families to Recover

September is National Recovery Month

Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

Each September, Recovery Month works to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.
Learn more
In past years, 10,000 Candles NH has been a series of community events held throughout the state intended to help people come together and heal from the wounds by addiction, overdose and suicide. Although deeply personal, it has also been an occasion to signifying the state’s communal sense of loss, love, and commitment.

10,000 Candles for New Hampshire will have a new look and feel this year -- as the state physically distances and yet stays socially connected -- as the event will be a livestream concert from Derry, NH, and feature prominent New Hampshire performing artists.

Captivating speakers will also share inspiring stories of hope and of the importance of human connection.

The event will close with a candlelight vigil and remembrance.

New York Times Best Selling Author Johann Hari illuminates the important role that 10,000 Candles for New Hampshire plays in redirecting the population's thinking away from isolation and towards re-connection as a solution. Because the opposite of addiction and suicide is connection.
Learn more

The Other Epidemic:

Recovery Month and the pandemic

By Janice Spinney
Founder and president of MWV Supports Recovery

As we approach September, even in the midst of COVID-19, we find ourselves busy with back to school, fall and preparation for the cold season.

For the recovery community, we come into September knowing it is National Recovery Month.

In years past, we would be getting ready for our annual “Take a Walk in Our Shoes" recovery walk and rally. The third Sunday in September has traditionally been our community’s day to share resources, strength and hope with families and individuals experiencing substance use disorder.

This year, statistics are grim as the opiate epidemic has continued despite COVID-19. Many who were receiving services have returned to drug use, and those needing services simply do not have the resources or strength to reach out for help. Telehealth and telephone recovery have made connection possible, but there are still a lot of individuals and families struggling on their own.

Recovery is all about connections, and COVID-19 has made connecting a challenge. In 2018 and 2019, we had made huge strides and began to see opiate-related deaths stabilize and even decrease thanks in part to community-wide Narcan distribution and availability, and the ongoing work of our two recovery community organizations — MWV Recovery Coalition and White Horse — as well as the traditional 12-step offerings in the area.

Last month, The New York Times published national statistics of overdose data showing an 18 percent increase in overdose deaths in March, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May. This represents a total fatal overdose increase of 11.5 percent compared with this time last year.

Locally, we have not escaped contributing to this statistic.

Read this full Op Ed on the Conway Daily sun

Report Highlights Recovery Sucesses

Harbor Care (formerly known as Harbor Homes) has been serving as the Facilitating Organization for New Hampshire’s Recovery Community Organizations (RCO) and their delivery of Peer-Based Recovery Support Services since 2016.

RCOs fill essential gaps in addiction treatment and recovery infrastructures and provide vital supports to achieve and sustain long-term recovery. New Hampshire’s innovation of funding a Facilitating Organization has led to exponential growth of RCOs and recovery centers over only a few years.
In 2020 there have been  more than 85,000 meetings and support groups held at RCOs, 24,624 community events, and nearly 3,000 trainings.

In addition, the FO has subcontracted with five new RCOs (Reality Check, Plymouth Area Recovery Connections, SOS in Hampton, Greater Tilton Area Family Resource Center in Franklin, and Revive in Derry) and facilitated 56 RCO trainings totaling 402 hours and 934 participants.
Download the Annual Report
SOS's Recovery Conference is shifting to a digital conference.  After consulting with public health experts as well as Ashworth by the Sea, the RCO has decided a large gathering in October is not in the best interests of the community.  In order to be responsible to public health our conference will be held digitally.  All registrations will be honored.  

More info will be coming but please keep your calendars clear as the conference will remain October 8th and 9th and will still be a packed two-day conference!  .

RCOs Face Funding Gap As State Waits For Opioid Response Grant

NHPRSome New Hampshire recovery centers say they are dealing with a lapse in funds as the state waits to receive more federal money.  

An official from the Department of Health and Human Services says the state applied for a national State Opioid Response grant in May. Now, they’re waiting for at least $28.1 million from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.

This funding provides support to 16 recovery centers in the state.
Read the story on NHPR

Thinking Outside The Box

Reality Check opens for in-person, outdoor groups, meetings

For the first time since the middle of March, Reality Check in Jaffrey will begin hosting in-person support groups and meetings for those in the midst of or looking to begin their recovery journey.

Mary DrewReality Check founder Mary Drew said since March 13, the addiction recovery center has operated remotely. So far it has worked, Drew said, but a crucial step in the process is being able to connect with people face-to-face.

“It’s still critical to our primary goal,” Drew said. “The people we serve really need it.”

As Drew put it “the interior of our building is not conducive to social distancing” so the only safe way to proceed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic was to switch to a virtual model.

“That was a way to ensure people had access to treatment and recovery resources,” she said.

But after seeing the way Sunflowers Cafe adapted to use the alley way for outdoor seating between the restaurant and The Park Theatre to alleviate concerns with a small indoor space, Drew got an idea.

They tore down the old deck on the back of the Reality Check building on Turnpike Road and rebuilt a new, expanded space now called The Outback, where they can safely host meetings and groups up to 15 people.
Read the full story on the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Triangle Club Addresses Need for In-person Meetings

People who struggle with substance abuse issues are traveling up to an hour to attend in-person 12-step meetings at the Triangle Club in Dover.

The facility typically hosts up to 55 meetings a week. It closed in March due to COVID-19, much to the dismay of many longtime meeting attendees.

Recently, leaders there talked about their decision to reopen starting on June 8 after two people in long-term recovery lost their battles with substance misuse. There are now 10 meetings a week with plans to continue expanding safely.

“A lot of folks are really respectful of this space and they want to be here,” said Executive Director Michelle Murch. “Zoom is not the same when you’re in peer-to-peer recovery.”

Read the full story at the Union Leader

Senior Substance Use & Covid

When your favorite — or perhaps even your only — friends are Jack Daniel’s, Johnny Walker and Kendall Jackson, you’ve got a problem. But you’re not the Lone Ranger.

Alcohol addiction and/or prescription drug abuse is one of the most common afflictions for the senior set, and according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is one of the fastest-growing and most insidious health challenges in a rapidly aging America.

“It is a huge problem for seniors. Huge,” says Keith Howard, the director of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, where the mission is to support people impacted by addiction through lived experience on their path to well-being.

Some may have been in the habit of drinking or drugging for decades. Others might have developed their addictions in their later years, especially after reaching retirement.
Read the full New Hampshire Magazine story

Governor Signs Bill Requiring MAT In N.H. Jails

One of the bills included in the omnibus healthcare legislation Governor Sununu signed into law on recently requires that superintendents at county correctional facilities offer medication assisted treatment to inmates, when medically appropriate.

Medication assisted treatment provides anti-opioid medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to help people dealing with substance use disorders.

Senator Tom Sherman was the main sponsor of the original bill. He says at the moment, substance use disorders are not treated uniformly across county corrections facilities in the state.

“That’s what this bill attempted to do...this is a medical illness. It should be treated like a medical illness, and it should be a part of what you’re required to do when someone is incarcerated,” he said.

Read the full story at NHPR

New Parenting Journey Facilitators Trained

Polly Morris (Harbor Care), Yolanda DaRocha, Trish Eisner (Greater Tilton Area Family Resource Center). Donna Marston (Harbor Care) and Jamie D’Allessandro (North Country Serenity Center)  received certificates to facilitate Parenting Journey II.

 Parenting Journey II is designed for people in early recovery who want to follow-up on what they learned in Parenting Journey in Recovery. The program builds on participants strengths while helping them to identify the steps needed to reach their dreams for the future. Participants will learn how to set and achieve personal goals, family goals, and how to create and maintain positive new behaviors moving forward in their recovery.

Recovery Represented

As New Hampshire enters the election season, the Recovery Fix will devote space to candidates who have championed the field, given voice to people struggling with substance use disorder (and the those who care for them) and held the space for new voices of recovery to emerge. This month, we feature Phil Spagnuolo, owner of recovery homes in Laconia and a person in recovery, who is running for State Senate.

Phil Spagnuolo (State Senate)

Well known recovery advocate Philip Spagnuolo Jr., a Laconia resident who has served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, is aiming his sights at the Senate this fall.

Spagnuolo (a Democrat) is best known in the community as the owner of three recovery homes, a founding member of Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region, and a person in recovery with a strong background in advocacy for substance-use disorder treatment and recovery resources. In 2018, he made history by winning the highly contested Belknap 3 House District, historically a Republican stronghold.

Spagnuolo has spotlighted his recovery story in local and national news outlets and criticized his Republican opponent for accepting donations from big pharmaceutical companies while on the campaign trail.

“It's so important to have people in government who have experienced life's struggles, who know what people in our communities are going through. I'm asking for your help because we will only be able to do this if we stand together,” Spagnuolo wrote in an August 10, 2020 Facebook post.    

Phil SpagnuoloIn a Laconia Daily Sun story dated May 29, 2019, Spagnuolo called the system for helping people with substance misuse “broken.” In the story, he said New Hampshire ranks number 49 nationally in the availability of drug treatment, despite having among the worst problems nationally with per capita fatal drug overdoses.

(See the Recovery Fix Trend story in this newsletter for current information.)

In his announcement on his Facebook account, Spagnuolo wrote:

“I know the struggles of this district. I’ve lived them. I grew up poor, I didn’t go to college, I know how it feels to be down and out. I know how it feels to be powerless. For a period of my life, I struggled with substance abuse. I consider myself lucky to be alive, and in the time since I got clean, I’ve devoted my life to making sure that people in our community have the support they need to get back on track.”
Visit Phil Spagnuolo's Facebook

Keep Connected

In addition to the NH Recovery Fix, many recovery community organizations release regular newsletters about ongoing meetings and support groups and upcoming training opportunities.

Subscribe to SOS' e-newsletter or read the Keene Serenity Center's July newsletter. Newsletters are also provided in recovery community organizations' listings on the Recovery Hub.

The voice of recovery

Harbor Homes is collecting stories of recovery throughout the granite state. Check out our YouTube account for more videos.

Older Publications

New NH DHHS Resource

You are not alone. Everyone is feeling some level of anxiety and discomfort right now. It is normal to feel this way. If you or a loved one have struggled with anxiety or other mental health concerns, this may be an even more difficult time for you. Here are some tips and resources to help.

This flyer contains hints for coping with stress during an epidemic, resource links and much more. Visit the DHHS Covid-19 information page or download the PDF now.

Family Support Services Brochure

Granite Pathway's Parent Support Program has produced new products that will be distributed throughout New Hampshire communities. A brochure, describes some of the benefits of family support programs, including helping parents and adult siblings develop relapse prevention plans.

To request a hard copy of these products, reach out to Lynn Fuller at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Download the brochure today.

Overdose Followup Kit

Although fatal overdoses declined this year for the first time since 2012, far too many lives are still lost. This short guide describes self-care for survivors of overdoses, tells you where to find help, and discusses safe practices designed to keep you and your loved ones stay alive.

Download the kit.

Family Resource Recovery Kit

Families suffer from addiction and recover together. Donna Marston has created a family recovery kit designed to help parents, grandparents, caretakers, and mentors begin to have difficult conversations about overdose and the grieving process. The guide also describes family dynamics around addiction and the importance of using person-first language.

Download the kit.

Tainted Stimulants in NH

Stimulants that are contaminated with fentanyl can be a deadly combination, particularly if the user has not developed tolerance for the opioid. Our FO team has created a flyer designed to help those still struggling with addiction identify risky substances. 

Download the flyer.


Better Know a System

General information on the New Hampshire Doorway Initiative


The well-known 2-1-1 system can direct you or your loved one to substance use disorder resources or connect you directly to Doorway NH staff, who can schedule assessments and referrals to services. Dial 2-1-1 today to start your journey.

The Doorway Website

The Doorway NH will direct you to the help you need, from screening and evaluation, to treatment including medication-assisted treatment, to long-term recovery supports. Doorway hours vary by location. Learn more

Caring Clergy

Caring Clergy After Overdose is an initiative designed to train inter-faith leaders to lead a funereal for one who has died in an overdose. Learn more