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H.E.A.L. hosted at Groove Town Lounge

By Staff | Nov 23, 2018

James Boyd and Donna Joy, seated, will host the weekly H.E.A.L. gatherings at Groove Lounge, formerly Mellow Moods, thanks to owner Matthew Thompson, standing. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — H.E.A.L., Helping Everyone Adjust to Life, will gather at Groove Town Lounge weekly, beginning on Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. The gathering, headed up by James Boyd and Donna Joy, is aimed at providing a resource for those in the community who are in recovery or those dealing with loved ones who need additional support.

“We are all in recovery for something,” Joy said. “We took the training to lead groups, and have been looking for a place through the summer.”

“Honestly, I was very disappointed that the stigma was so prevalent here,” Joy said, mentioning some locations she approached would not consider allowing the gathering to occur.

“For me, it goes in the plus column when there are pockets of stigma,” Boyd said. “It’s mostly fear and the fact that change is difficult, but we can target that behavior.”

Both Boyd and Joy have completed training through the Blue Ridge Technical and Community College’s Recovery Coach program, and believe offering a location in Shepherdstown for people to gather will be a healing step, especially in the realm of the opioid crisis in the Eastern Panhandle, the state and the country.

“We have to have something for those who go underground and isolate,” Joy said. “This is a disease of isolation.”

By meeting in a public place, Groovetown Lounge, the organizers hope that those who need support will feel more comfortable. The lounge, owned by Matthew Thompson, will be open after hours for the H.E.A.L. gathering that will last approximately one hour every week on Thursday evenings.

“People need a space to come and make a change,” Thompson said. “Where else can they go?”

“All are welcome,” Boyd said. “And what is said here, stays here.”

Both Boyd and Joy are encouraged the issue of recovery and the need for support is coming to the forefront locally and nationally.

“It is a highlight in my life that the country is talking about the issue,” Boyd said, as he explained that he has many years of experience on both sides of the fence, having suffered addiction for 30 years. “I would like the group to be a place of celebration because it’s happening.”

According to Joy, while she has not personally experienced addiction, she has had family members who have faced addiction problems.

“To have a place of support for people because a loved one is suffering — where they don’t feel alone in their suffering — is one of the goals,” Joy said.

The H.E.A.L. movement falls under the Recovery Coaches Association, of which Boyd is president. There is no cost to attend.

For more information on the gatherings, please contact Boyd at boydbw@smn.com.