Dear Hope Nation: Join us April 13 for the return to living in community, sharing love and laughs and tears (and cookies) as we support each other in recovery

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Dear Hope Nation:

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, not because I don’t miss you, but because I didn’t have real news to pass on, and felt I was giving too much of Keith and too little of Hope. This, after all, is not Keith Nation—a country I wouldn’t visit, if I were you.

We are Hope Nation.

We want to have a huge turnout!

Tell your friends and join us (293 Wilson St., Manchester).

Tuesday evening is a big deal for Hope, for you, for the Hope staff and for recovery in general. Not being a huge megacorporation, we won’t have a prime rib dinner or goodie bags with iPads. We will offer:

  • Cookies, Coffee and Milk to the first 3,000 people who show up.

These cookies will be real homemade or real bakery cookies, not the box of dusty chocolate chip ones you buy at the dollar store. The coffee will be hot. The milk will come from cows, not almonds or oats.

Come for the Cookies.

Stay for the Recovery.

Of course, because of state regulations, we’ll still screen visitors and require masking and social distancing. To be safe, the cookies, coffee and milk will be outside.

I have enough other bits and pieces to start a list:

  • A television crew will be filming opening night. We’ve spent a few days with them already, and they’re very serious about not filming folks without permission and offering to blur people’s faces. Because they’re working on a longer feature piece, they’ll have time to edit and make sure any requests are honored. I’ll make every effort to make sure we announce when they move from area to area. Still, if you don’t want to take the chance on getting filmed, I understand. Please come Wednesday evening instead.
  • If you’d like to start a meeting (SMART, 12-Step, Recovery Dharma, Three Principles, Celebrate Recovery or any other recovery-related group), please contact Dave or Bob at the numbers below—or on the website https://recoverynh.org
  • Speaking of the website, Dave has reworked, redesigned and reinvigorated the Hope site. It’s worth checking out. Please, please, please—if you find anything that doesn’t make sense on the site, or that could be improved, let Dave or me know. The site is designed to help you and people who are looking for recovery find stuff.
  • Hope has all new flooring, at a generous discount from Dean’s Flooring. I think it’s beautiful, but I’d like to know what you think.
  • My office has been rearranged, and I’ve got two completely blank walls. I’d love to have you paint a painting to be hung there, a way of saying, “I was here and I matter.” Likewise, if you have a mural idea and a willingness to do it, let’s talk.
  • If you have ideas for groups or classes that are conceivably recovery-adjacent (e.g., tai chi, astrology, chess, cooking with a microwave, meditation or any of a thousand other ideas), please talk with Bob or me. We want Hope to be a community center with recovery at its core.
  • If you have any interest in writing, songwriting, painting or monologuing, please see me. A group of us have been meeting Thursday evenings at 7 to rap, sing and write, and I think we’ve come up with a multimedia concept that could be really cool. Join us!
  • Some folks from Hope and Better Life Partners have started a recovery meeting at 1269 Café every Tuesday from 1:30 to 2:30. We’d love to have you and you and, most especially, YOU join us. We’re looking to do the same thing at New Horizons in the evening. Please contact me for details.
  • We’re working to be able to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at Hope in May. See me for details.
  • Over time, we’ll expand our hours and hope to return to normal operating hours by the summer. This will happen most quickly if we can all be cool about masking and distancing—and getting vaccinated. Thanks!

Those of you who are old may remember a show called “24,” which aired at the turn of the century. One repeated line in that show, which took place in real-time one hour per week, was “Today is the longest day of my life.” Since Hope closed in early December, many days have dragged horribly. These past four-and-a-half months have been the longest period in my life. And now, Tuesday, April 13, will bring that time to an end. We can return to living in community, sharing love and laughs and tears as we support each other in recovery.

I’m not sappy, but I really want to see each of you Tuesday evening and as many times as possible after that. After all,

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Keith


Keith Howard is Executive Director of Hope for NH Recovery, 293 Wilson St., in Manchester.