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"The Gateway" starting to strengthen the recovery community in Knoxville

Metro Drug Coalition executive director Karen Pershing said she wants The Gateway to be a "place of healing and hope."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When Jason Goodman was in the early stages of recovery, he wondered where others in recovery would go. 

He was attending meetings, treatment and church services. But what was he supposed to do in between?

"In music, the real beauty is in between the notes. A lot of recovery happens in between the notes," Goodman said. "Earlier in my process, I just needed to know where to go."

In mid-October, the Metro Drug Coalition announced plans for "The Gateway," a community recovery center that will offer a host of resources under one roof.

It will also help create a network of individuals in recovery that can support and help each other through the process.

"I need to know where the people were outside of just an hour long meeting," said Goodman, now the director of recovery support services at MDC. "Where's everybody at? Where are they making a positive impact?"

Located at 530 W Fifth Avenue in Knoxville, The Gateway is already open for all recovery meetings on Saturdays at 2 p.m. 

Those meetings are open to everybody who is participating in some type of recovery and are followed by fellowship and meditation.

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"We found some great benefit for those in recovery and seeking recovery to come in and learn what it's like to meditate and get that peace of mind," Goodman said. "We just want you to come here and participate in getting better."

Eventually, MDC's executive director Karen Pershing said The Gateway will be home to art therapy, music therapy, recovery meetings, exercise or yoga classes, financial resources and one-on-one coaching.

"There's just nothing that we can't do here once we get this building renovated and open," Pershing said. "I just want them to think of it as a place of healing and hope for folks."

Pershing said they still need to raise about $1.5 million to address structural issues and make the necessary renovations to complete The Gateway.

RELATED: Metro Drug Coalition unveils plans for new recovery community center

Community partners like BarberMcMurry Architects have helped them along the way.

"Obviously, this epidemic touches everyone in this community, and so I think it's important that multiple entities that have skin in the game," said Ryan Dobbs, vice president of BarberMcMurry Architects. "Since it is a response to to our region, we should all be a part of the effort and fulfilling the mission."

That mission is to make sure no one in the Knoxville area has to go through recovery alone.

"Addiction is a disease that isolates and so it's important that we keep folks early in the recovery process from isolating again," Pershing said. "This center will allow that connectivity to happen and for that to be maintained over time... people need people."

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