The SOS Berks Opioid Coalition recently held a Recovery Simulation Event that involved nearly 80 people, including numerous volunteers. The event, which took place at Easy Does It, Inc. in Leesport, is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by people in early recovery from addiction.
Participants were given life cards representing their identity as a person in early recovery, and throughout the three-hour simulation they were charged with completing various tasks on the life cards within 15-minute time slots.
Tasks were completed by visiting tables manned by volunteers who acted as parole officers, social service agents, counselors, employment agents, pawn dealers, bank tellers, etc.
During a given time slot, a person might have to find a job, meet with a probation officer, take public transportation, borrow money, apply for social services and visit a mental health provider.
The already difficult timeline was further hampered by a “chaos creator” who announced business closures due to such unforeseen circumstances as to power outages and snow storms.
Following the simulation, participants engaged in a discussion, led by Dr. Ramona Roberts, Executive Director of Caron Outpatient Treatment Centers. During that discussion, people described the frustrations they felt while working through their tasks, but many people also noted that the exercise made them more empathetic to the difficulties faced by people in early recovery.