Greetings! A Letter from the Editor/Blogger

By Christina Mersereau Greetings from Christina Mersereau! I was hired back in May of 2018 as a member of the ROOT team. ROOT stands for Recovery Opioid Overdose Team. For several months, I and my teammates were on call at all hours of day and night, ready to go to St. Joseph or University of Michigan hospital any time there was an overdose case where the patient was treated with Narcan. Narcan is a trade name for Naloxone, which is used to treat patients who have overdosed on opiates: heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl etc. It works by essentially “reversing” the…

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Women’s MAT House is Open

By Christina Mersereau Courtney Atsalakis and her team of passionate supporters from the Amber Reineck House Foundation furnished the house and paid the first and last month’s rent. The beds are made with donated linens, and the cupboards are stocked with food. All that needs to happen now is the clients must come, and they will.  As the only women’s MAT house in Washtenaw County, the 6 beds are sure to fill up quickly. Sadly, this is due to the opiod epidemic that continues unabated county and nationwide.  With the opening of the new house, however, there is reason to…

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Barb Jensen Lives for the Birds (and the horses and dogs and…)

By Christina Mersereau “For as long as I can remember I have loved horses, and wanted to have one when I was a child.”  Barb Jensen’s love of horses drew her to a fascination with other creatures, which led to a deep connection with and concern for the environment. After her elementary school teaching career ended, Barb’s lifelong passion resulted in a job at Kensington Metropark in Milford, at the Farm Center, followed by another job at Kensington’s Nature Center. When the Osprey Reintroduction Program of Southern Michigan came to the park in 1998, Barb became the Site Coordinator, a…

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Meet Debbie and Ted Green

Meet long-time Ann Arbor residents and major funders Debbie and Ted Green. By Christina Mersereau Debbie and Ted Green met in a German class while studying at the University of Michigan, she eventually earning an MA in German and he a BA in German and a BS and MS in Computer Science. Forty-two years later, their marriage going strong, Debbie still refers to Ted as her “go to” guy, the guy that can do anything, who knows something about everything.  We spent an hour chatting over lunch: authentic Mexican tamales and tacos on a blustery January day. The Greens’ warmth…

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Women’s Specialty Helps Mothers in Need

By Christina Mersereau In 2019, Home of New Vision opened its doors to over 2000 individuals, most of whom are from the underserved–the underinsured or not insured–segment of our community. By and large, our clients have jobs, children and often other members of their extended families to support. Many rely on public transportation or walking to get from place to place. Our Women’s Specialty Program is an example of what we do in the community. The program is for women who are either pregnant, want to become pregnant, and/or have young children. These individuals also have substance use disorder, and…

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Recovery Opioid Overdose Team (ROOT)

Tamera Lewis’s experience as a person in long-term recovery makes her particularly effective in ROOT, a program of Home of New Vision.  By Christina Mersereau ROOT stands for “recovery opioid overdose team.” The program, still relatively new, relies on community involvement and support from CMH (Community Mental Health), the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department, and Home of New Vision (HNV). Tamera Lewis is HNV’s sole team member at present, and she loves her job.  “This job has brought me back to life inside. I didn’t know what my role was supposed to be, where I fit in. Now, with ROOT, I…

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One Woman’s Story

By Christina Mersereau, rewritten from the original by Aileen Vazquez This is a true story. Zoe is not her real name. Zoe, 26, came to Home of New Vision a month after her grandmother took her to detox, and learned she was pregnant. She had hoped that by quitting the substances and relying on her love for her other children, that she could get back on her own feet herself. She found she could not—it was just too hard. Zoe had experienced a great deal of pain and trauma in her life from emotional and physical abuse, and found comfort…

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The Reaching Out

By Dave LaFave A message to the newcomer… AA, NA, Smart, Refuge, Hip, Detox, CA, OA, CMA or any other alphabet variation of “Please Help Me Stop Hurting Myself.”  “Reach out? To whom please. WHO am I supposed to reach out to?”  “No one waits for me.”  “No one cares.”  “My sisters? Nah. They have families already. They have things going on. And they don’t care.  My partner? Nah. I’ve pissed them off enough already and anyway they could care less.  Friends? No one will talk to me since that night at the game when I puked in that girls…

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Finding Your Fit

By Ryan Sawicki Seventy-five percent of people who could be diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder end up giving up substances or other unhealthy activities on their own. For the other 25%, treatment or mutual support groups are often other options for them to begin their recovery. We’ve come a long way since Bill Wilson founded AA in a dusty church basement in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. 12-step groups were the bulk of treatment options that were available for most of the 80+ years since AA was founded, and other pathways to recovery have started blooming in cities all around the…

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Language and Stigma

By Tim Shewcraft, 2019 Does language have effect because it is powerful or, rather, is language powerful because it has effect? While these questions may differ only slightly, the implications of their answers could not be more dissimilar. To affirm the former would be to say that language has power from the moment that it leaves the mouth of the speaker; whereas, an affirmation of the latter would imply that language derives its power only upon entering the ear of the one spoken to. Now, imagine that after much debate consisting of a lot of big words and confusing loops…

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