LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – When you step through the front door of the Recovery Café in Longmont, you’ll immediately be greeted by staff members with a warm smile and cup of coffee. And for dozens in the community, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Recovery Café is the only café of its kind here in Colorado. It opened in May, and it provides a place of refuge for people in some of their most vulnerable times while conquering addiction.
“I’ve been coming here since June 25,” Andrew Spidle told CBS4’s Mekialaya White with a smile.
It’s quickly become his favorite place to be.
“It’s a place of camaraderie, friendship, and like-minded people. Recovery is very hard, and they get me,” said Spidle.
Spidle says the simple things, like sitting and talking to someone who empathizes with his journey, that make all the difference.
“Coffee gets you through the door. But it’s the conversation that rallies around the cup of coffee. Yes, we’re having lunch, but having a conversation of, ‘Why are you feeling this way? Can we help?’” Spidle said.
Recovery Café Program Manager Leigh Larson says the work she does daily at the café with people like Spidle has given her life a new meaning.
“(I’m) fulfilled. Absolutely fulfilled and excited. Every day we’re seeing proof of our model come to life in our members’ lives. Every day on the way home I get this feeling that what we’re doing here is real,” said Larson.
Not only is Larson a mentor on Recovery Café’s staff: She’s seen the massive lifestyle change that alcohol sobriety requires first-hand.
“I started my recovery journey eight years ago. I lost my friends. I lost what I was doing, where I spent my time and money. My whole world revolved around that toxic lifestyle. And to get sober, I knew that I was saving my life,” Larson explained.
That’s why she is especially thankful to stand in the gap between crisis and stability for members of the café. It can be all-encompassing.
“Not only do we have members that are recovering from drugs and alcohol, but also mental illness, homelessness, grief, and loss. We believe everyone is recovering from something, and it’s not our externals that seem to make us different. It’s our similarities that bond us on a very human level,” said Larson. “But after a matter of time, they’re standing a little taller, they’re smiling a little wider. They’re just warmer, more open.”
That sense of belonging, for Larson, helps rebuild lives. “We ask… How can we empower you? How can we make you feel like you belong and have a purpose and that you matter?”
Larson invites anyone who’s interested to stop by the basement of Central Presbyterian Church for lunch or coffee; membership is free. The non-profit café also welcomes volunteers and donations.
The Recovery Café is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
LINK: Recovery Café