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Metro Drug Coalition opens community recovery center

The Gateway is a centralized hub for recovery support. Community leaders hope it will make a difference in the fight against addiction.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Thursday, Metro Drug Coalition welcomed recovery advocates from across the region. The first phase of its community recovery center, The Gateway, was finally complete.

The transformation began in 2019 when MDC purchased the property. Now, the interior looks completely different. 

"It was in rough shape, but honestly it kind of signifies what the recovery process is like," said Jason Goodman, MDC's director of recovery support. "We start out kind of broken, not knowing what to do, kind of in shambles. And then over time if you're resilient enough, if people are helping you ... their lives can look like a remodeled place like this."

The Gateway will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and offer family support groups, all-recovery meetings, recovery coaching, music and art therapy, life-skills training and community resources.

It's something Goodman said he wishes he would've had after his six months in sober living.

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"The day I left, I knew I had to be at work the next day on second shift and I knew there was a recovery meeting that night at 8 o'clock," Goodman said. "I had the whole day that I did not know what to do with my time and honestly, it was a little fearful because that old stuff starts to creep in."

The Gateway will provide a safe space for people in recovery to build a community.

"Recovery is a lifelong journey," executive director Karen Pershing said. "But, especially in those first couple years of recovery, it's important that people stay engaged and that they have as much support as they can possibly have."

Goodman said he's looking forward to seeing this community center open.

"When folks come here, they feel safe, first and foremost," he said. "And they know this is a sanctuary for recovery, where I can come in and express myself. I can grow. I can get better."

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