Written by guest contributor Melissa Thompson
Recovery Coach, AmeriCorps member, mother of six, partner, mentor, friend: Tracey Drimer has endless amounts of energy and enthusiasm that she owes to her passion for helping others, as well as coffee – and lots of it.
In recovery from heroin addiction for nearly seven years, Tracey was inspired to make a difference and shatter the stigma that surrounds addiction and medication-assisted treatment. “People see Methadone and Suboxone as a crutch,” she says. “I was made to feel ashamed of my treatment pathway, but it’s proven – it works for many people.”
Encouraged by her boyfriend – also a Recovery Coach – Tracey began her career by volunteering at the EB Hope Drop-In Center in East Bridgewater and began attending Recovery Coach Academy. After learning about the partnership between PAARI and AmeriCorps, she knew this would be the right opportunity to reach even more people in the community.
Working with police departments primarily in Hingham, Hull, Norwell, and Cohasset, a typical assignment starts after someone has overdosed, treated at the hospital, and refuses further treatment. This where Tracey springs into action, visiting the person at their home the following day. Accompanied by a police officer, Tracey sits down with the addict, as well as their loved ones – offering support, resources, and various options for treatment and recovery.
“Each call is different,” says Tracey. “Some people are receptive, some feel hopeless and confused. Often people need time to process what we talk about and they reach back out to me at a later time. When I’m at the home, we explore all the different recovery options available.”
“Whether it’s inpatient, outpatient, going to meetings, or medication-assisted treatment – everyone’s path is different. I try to make them aware of what’s out there, meet their needs, and educate them. I’m not there to judge them, I’m there to help them and I can truly relate to what they are going through.”
Working with AmeriCorps has made a positive impact on Tracey’s own growth and she’s facing a bright future full of possibilities. “Since being in recovery, my quality of life is incredibly different. I love giving people hope that their quality of life can be this good, too,” explains Tracey.
“When people realize that recovery is possible – that they are worth it – and seeing them just come alive – that’s what keep me going every day.”