Steve’s Place to provide safe space to recovery community in Concord

Recovery center Steve's Place opens permanent space on 40 Thorndike St. in Concord. (COURTESY MRINALI DHEMBLA)

Recovery center Steve's Place opens permanent space on 40 Thorndike St. in Concord. (COURTESY MRINALI DHEMBLA)

By Mrinali Dhembla

May 20, 2024

After Jon Evans and Ted Donovan lost a friend to substance use in 2016, they got together to create a space for people in the recovery community in the Concord area. That’s when Steve’s Place, named after their late friend Steve Cherup, came into being.

“Our model is not unique,” Evans said. “There are many cities across the country that have recovery clubs,” he said, referring to other peer-led recovery organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The club had been organizing recovery meetings at community centers and churches for the last several years, and wanted to find a permanent spot in the Concord area.

Despite the difficult real estate market, thanks to the board’s fundraising efforts, Steve’s Place found a permanent home on 40 Thorndike St. in Concord in April. The club held its first open house on Saturday, which welcomed anyone in the recovery community as well as families of those recovering from substance use.

Steve’s Place was awarded nonprofit status in 2017 and, since then Evans said, its eight board members tried day and night to raise funds to secure a permanent home where they could hold recovery meetings.

“It’s been really all grassroots like putting on a music [show at a] coffee house type of deal, acoustic guitars and stuff or a yard sale. We sold hot dogs out in front of the ice rink out here down on Loudon Road,” he said.

Besides a private Facebook presence, both Evans and Donovan said they’ve spread the word about their club through distributing flyers or word-of-mouth in the recovery community.

The club is different from AA or NA in the sense that it does not run comprehensive recovery programs, but still helps members sustain long-term recovery through providing them an interactive community space, Evans said.

“The process of getting clean and sober and detoxing…will take a couple of weeks, a couple of months, a year, maybe into the second year,” he said. “But ultimately, if you don’t take on recovery as a lifestyle, as a new way of life, then your success is limited.”

Both Evans and Donovan have been sober for more than two decades and say they want to give back to the community through their efforts.

“As a board member, it certainly enriches my life,” Donovan said. “It’s pretty awesome because we celebrate each other, which is really the purpose of my goal with sobriety in my life—my peers’ love and service, caring and being the best person I can today.”

Currently the club does not have regularly scheduled meetings, and hopes to do so at the new permanent address, which opens its doors on a need-basis.

Author

  • Mrinali Dhembla

    Based in Manchester, Mrinali Dhembla is Granite Post's multimedia reporter. She's previously worked as deputy editor at The Keene Sentinel, and has experience writing for many national and international publications. When not doing journalism, she likes to cook food (and eat it).

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