September is celebrated as National Recovery Month and each week there’ll be a flurry of pep rallies and activities at Nexus Recovery Center aimed at engaging clients and informing them that “recovery isn’t just a Nexus deal,” says recovery support services director Niki Prince. “It happens nationwide, and it’s celebrated by millions of people every year.”
Prince’s primary role is to initiate rapport with the women entering the center, sometimes before. According to a press release, the nonprofit treated more than 880 women from March 1 through July 31 with about 25% reporting homelessness.
“Our main work starts when people discharge,” says Prince. “When that happens, we are able to remove barriers and build bridges to long-term recovery.”
Services are tailored to each person’s needs, says Prince, adding that housing support, employment and even help getting IDs and birth certificates are some things that people need help with for a successful, long-term recovery.
Prince became involved with Nexus in 2007 as a client entering residential treatment for substance abuse disorder trying to kick habits of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. After being discharged, she returned for outpatient services and has been a Nexus alumna since April 9, 2008. At the time, recovery support services didn’t exist, she says. “Back then, they had what they called aftercare.”
Prince, now 45, stayed connected getting help with housing and other services. And in 2016, the Dallas native returned as an employee.
“They provided, like, a sense of recovery family to me,” she says of Nexus. “I’d never had anything to that magnitude where everyone was in recovery and people were helping people stay clean and sober. So, they provided that sense of support I needed early on and later on.”
“Our main work starts when people discharge ... When that happens, we are able to remove barriers and build bridges to long-term recovery.”– Nexus Center's Niki Prince
Nexus, which opened in 1971, is not the only treatment facility Prince has been involved in or worked at, she says, but there are a few things that make the center unique.
“A woman can bring up to three children in with her while she’s receiving treatment,” she says of a program that’s also available for pregnant women. “The kids are in school or daycare, sometimes right there onsite.”
There’s also a detox program and an adolescent program as well as a program for women who are entering treatment without children.
The center’s certification allows it to operate on more of a private pay scale. “In that, we’re able to provide that same type of treatment to a woman who has insurance as well as to the woman who has nothing, you know, no financial income or anything like that,” Prince says.
Prince also points out that the center has followed CDC guidelines with mask-wearing, hand-washing and temperature-taking resulting in zero positive COVID-19 cases.
“In the absence of 12-step meetings or support from faith-based organizations, those at risk for relapse have few places to turn,” the center’s press release reads. “Yet, while treating so many different clients and having more than 100 women and children living on-campus, Nexus Recovery Center has kept each client COVID-free thanks to strict protocols and a dedicated staff.”
With closures of face-to-face meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nexus quickly became involved in making sure that women had access to 12-step Zoom meetings on a nightly basis.
“In addition to that, a lot of the staff that work there are in recovery themselves,” Prince says. “Some of those people stepped up and started providing those sorts of face-to-face meetings. And it was safer, because they were people that they were already dealing with.”
This month, Nexus is planning a variety of celebrations for clients and alumnae. Weekly activities include costume contests as well as artistic activities like creating an annual Nexus t-shirt for staff and clients and its National Recovery Month picnic. Prince says one of most important things for her personal recovery was the knowledge that “people don’t recover alone."
“We need other people,” she says. “And not just other people for support, but we need to be around other people who are in recovery.”