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To help people struggling with addiction, a new organization starts with community conversations

Alpha Stock Images via Creative Commons

A new organization dedicated to destigmatizing addiction, sharing stories of recovery and educating people on treatment recourses held its first event at the Homer Public Library Friday.

The Bearded Sister, in conjunction with Recover Alaska, showed a documentary called “The Anonymous People” and facilitated a conversation about the film and addiction.

The movie celebrates people in recovery, and that is something The Bearded Sister aims to do as well. Hannah Heimbuch is a co-founder of the organization.

“We want to bring the possibility of healing, the hope of healing, just more to the forefront of the conversation,” she said. “We're not experts: we are friends, family, neighbors that really believe in a post-addiction life and a life that can be healthy and thriving even with this disease.”

The Bearded Sister is a group of four area residents who have been touched by addiction in some way. The name of the group is based on the nickname of two members’ beloved brother who lost his life to the disease.

Heimbuch said the group is already involved in local efforts surrounding addiction issues, such as the opioid task force. But she said The Bearded Sister hopes to fill a gap in the community by becoming a support network for those trying to find recovery services.

“What we really want to be is a relationship for recovery, and sometimes that means being a source of information for somebody that is struggling or for a family member of someone that is struggling to help point them in the right direction—help either make the decision to seek out additional support whether that's rehab or a 12 step group,” she said. “We want to be a connection to the great professional resources that are available.”

They also hope to one day establish a residence for people working through recovery. In the meantime, Heimbuch said The Bearded Sister will continue to host community events and discussions focused on addition.

News Addiction and Recovery
Renee joined KBBI in 2017 as a general assignment reporter and host. Her work has appeared on such shows as Weekend Edition Saturday, The World, Marketplace and Studio 360. Renee previously interned as a reporter for KPCC in Los Angeles and as a producer for Stateside at Michigan Radio. Her work has earned her numerous press club awards. She holds an M.S. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.
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