On the rebound: Program coordinator helps those in recovery from substance use disorders


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

After starting drinking at a young age, Aaron Cypret moved out of the family home at the tender age of 15.

“As with many teens, I didn’t know how to process the traumas I experienced,” he says. “Hanging out with others who used substances was a place I felt accepted, heard, and understood.”

Cypret experimented with many substances, and at 21 was introduced to prescription opiates, leading to a decade-long dependency.

“I did what was necessary to fuel my SUD—substance use disorder,” he says. “I was in and out of jails, which wasn’t enough to change my behavior. Then jails led to prisons. The last time was my ‘rock bottom.’”

So Cypret is only too familiar and empathetic with others who struggle with this problem. He has served since October 2018 as program coordinator for the nonprofit Jackson Area Recovery Community (JARC) a program of Home of New Vision; HNV has been a leader in the field of substance use disorder treatment and a voice in the State of Michigan for more than 20 years.

“If I had one word to describe an individual in recovery it would be ‘resilient,’ he says. “Having lived this experience and education, I’m able to help people in their process of recovery. I no longer let the world define who I am—people, places, and things.”

Cypret’s greatest motivation for recovery is his son, Austin, who will turn 14 in August. Austin plays baseball for the Jackson-area Western Schools, and is on the youth 13-14 baseball team.

“They just finished up the year and I’d help coach the team during games,” Cypret says. “Austin likes camping with me, riding his bikes, having air soft gun wars, and fishing with me on kayaks.

“I want him to see this article and hopefully it inspires him to be like the father I am today, and learn from my mistakes.”

The JARC team aims to shatter stigmas attached to substance use disorder through education, prevention, and bringing awareness to the Jackson and surrounding areas, Cypret says.

“We all recover differently,” he explains. “The process of recovery is not a cookie cutter approach—we understand this and offer many different pathways.”

Members of JARC are in long-term recovery, and are a network of members, friends, and JARC partners in the Jackson community.

“Our vision is to eliminate the negative perception of addiction, and enhance the face of recovery through community outreach with the goal of saving lives and families through advocacy, education, and awareness of recovery,” Cypret says.

Each day, JARC offers free services to people seeking recovery.

“This isn’t limited to just the person with substance use order—we offer support to all individuals in our community,” Cypret says.

JARC also is a resource center, connecting people to agencies in Jackson and surrounding counties that offer resources JARC doesn’t have.

JARC also offers peer support training to anyone interested in helping others with their path of recovery; the only requirement is to have gone 6 months or more without using a substance.

The two-part training educates people in specific areas, including ethics, boundaries, and message trainings. Peers help with event planning, volunteering, and assisting others in recovery.

“The goal is to have our peers trained as Certified Recovery Coaches when they become eligible,” Cypret says. “We know through direct experience that giving back is rewarding and gives purpose—this helps build self-esteem and allows us to engage in community events, and helps develop personal and professional growth.”

Various events throughout the year focus on different components of recovery.

“Our most recent event, ‘Recovery Is,’ helped the community discover many of the pathways,” Cypret says. “Spirituality, 12-Step, Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), SMART Recovery,
Holistic approach, Refuge Recovery, are some of the many pathways and the list is endless.”

The next big event is Recovery Out Loud on Saturday, Aug. 17, the organization’s 5th annual walk/rally.

“This event is created to break down the stigmas of SUD and to instill hope into others who are seeking recovery,” Cypret says. “We have guest speakers, a 1.7 mile walk, food, and entertainment following. On average we have 300 community members that participate in this event. Recovery Out Loud will be held at our location, 407 West Michigan Ave., and registration begins at 8 a.m.”

The JARC Recovery Bistro is open from 10:30 a.m. to noon on weekdays.

“Everyone is invited to have a cup of coffee and perhaps a doughnut or breakfast cake,” Cypret says. “We gather to talk about recovery and discuss what’s going on in our community. At times we’ll have our allies as guest speakers to educate the community about the services they offer. This is a great place to meet new people and to see recovery in action.”

JARC is a Recovery Community Organization (RCO), an independent, non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery and recognized by The Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO).

Normal operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and people can also find information by calling 517-788-5596, visit Facebook: Jackson Area Recovery Community or visit www.homeofnewvision.org.