Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community - MetroFamily Magazine
MetroFamily Magazine

Where OKC parents find fun & resources

Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community

by Jenna Morey

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

September marks renewed hope as we celebrate National Recovery Month at ReMerge of Oklahoma County. Based in Oklahoma City, ReMerge is one of only a handful of nonprofits in the United States serving mothers through a holistic, pre-trial diversion program. By helping mothers who have been charged but not yet convicted of a nonviolent felony charge, we are disrupting intergenerational cycles of poverty, substance abuse and incarceration that plague our state. Rather than serving time in prison, women are restored to our community and reunited with their children.

At ReMerge, we believe that we are all deserving of opportunities for treatment and recovery and this belief is echoed in the 2023 National Recovery month tagline: “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.” We know the damage created by addiction does not contain itself to certain demographics or to the individual who is struggling with a substance use disorder. Mental health, substance use disorders and incarceration affect people of all races, socioeconomic levels, age and experience, but they also have ripple effects for families and our community at large. In fact, a child with a parent who goes to prison is seven times more likely to enter the criminal legal system themselves. Incarceration is not the answer to our public health and public safety crisis — treatment is.

So many of our suffering neighbors are not receiving the treatment and help they need to live healthy, full lives in recovery. Oklahoma has some of the highest rates for mental illness and substance use disorders in the United States. In fact, based on 2020 data, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) estimates that of approximately 950,000 adult Oklahomans who need mental health or substance use services, only approximately 180,000 received ODMHSAS services in FY 21, indicating that most Oklahomans are not receiving the care they need to recover from their illnesses.   

ReMerge was started in 2011 as a direct response to the Oklahoma’s substance use rates and rates of incarceration of women, which were the highest in the United States for nearly three decades. Through structured accountability, trauma-informed care and mental illness and substance use treatment, mothers are given the opportunity to reclaim their lives and be restored to their families and our community. We provide intensive services including food, clothing, sober housing, therapy, parenting skills, education, employment support, medical treatment, transportation and much more. By removing barriers, ReMerge moms can focus on recovery and parenthood, which has the power to change the futures of generations of Oklahomans.

Most ReMerge moms join our program with little self-worth and hope for their futures. It is awe-inspiring to watch them courageously heal and emerge from our program in recovery, self-confident, bonded to their children and thriving in our community. Over the last 12 years, ReMerge has graduated 182 mothers who parent a combined 455 children, saving the state over $44 million dollars. Together, our graduates have collectively avoided 973 years in prison. ReMerge is proof that treatment works and I am so proud to live in a community that believes in believes in our mission and supports pathways to recovery.

I hope you will join ReMerge in celebrating National Recovery Month this September and the men and women in our community who have or are currently courageously seeking a life in recovery. 

Jenna Morey is executive director of ReMerge.

more stories

Verified by MonsterInsights