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THRIVE addiction recovery panel discussion on Saturday

THRIVE, a Hauppauge recovery and support center, will

THRIVE, a Hauppauge recovery and support center, will mark its one-year anniversary on Saturday, March 3, 2018, with a panel discussion featuring experts on addiction and recovery. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

For the past year, THRIVE has provided Long Islanders in recovery a place to go for help bridging the gap between treatment programs and sticking with healthier choices once they leave.

To mark this anniversary, the Hauppauge-based THRIVE — which stands for Transformation, Healing, Recovery, Inspiration, Validation and Empowerment — is hosting an on-site panel discussion, free of charge, from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

More than 200 participants a week have sought the safe and sober environment of the THRIVE Recovery Community and Outreach Center, an official said, taking part in support groups, skill-building sessions, and stress-relief offerings such as yoga classes and meditation workshops.

Participation has “far surpassed” expectations, said Jeffrey Reynolds, president of the Family and Children’s Association, one of four partnering agencies for THRIVE, which opened its doors last March and is funded through the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

The plan is to celebrate victories, as well as assess the state of recovery on Long Island, Reynolds said — looking at “where we’re succeeding, where we’re not, where the gaps are,” with at least one being the need for not just one such center, but a dozen or so. In addition to Reynolds, the panel’s speakers will include representatives from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the Long Island Recovery Association and Families in Support of Treatment.

Also addressing issues related to the brain, addiction and recovery will be Marc Lewis, a cognitive neuroscientist, professor emeritus of developmental psychology and former addict who has written of his experiences in “Memoirs of an Addicted Brain.”

Concepts in Lewis’ 2015 book, “The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease,” have spurred some controversy in the recovery community as medical associations, the American Medical Association among them, have long considered addiction to be a disease.

Reynolds said that while he and others may not agree with varying approaches, “I think there’s room for discussion.”

“There are multiple pathways to recovery and multiple viewpoints about addiction, and, as a center, we try to be as inclusive as possible,” Reynolds said. “If there were one solution to addiction, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in with overdose rates continuing to rise.”

Lewis also will be presenting at a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in Port Jefferson, discussing the value of developing awareness on how habits are formed, nipping bad ones in the bud and laying the groundwork for creating those that support positive goals. The workshop is sponsored by The Time to Play Foundation, a nonprofit and “enjoy life” advocacy organization.

For more information about both events, which require registration, visit the Family and Children’s Association Facebook page, facebook.com/thriverecovery or timetoplay.com/winatlife.

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