Help and hope on Washington Street

CAMBRIDGE - On Washington Street in the City of Cambridge, between where you can pick up dinner and wash your car and where tractors are serviced and sold sits a brick building where they are serving up hope.

In early March the Dorchester Recovery Initiative, in partnership with Chesapeake Voyagers, opened the doors to the new DRI-DOCK Recovery and Wellness Center.
"Help and hope is available for those with problems with addictions, mental health problems and everywhere in between," said John Winslow, Dorchester County Addictions Program director.

The DRI-DOCK is a place where individuals can receive recovery support at no cost for mental health and addiction concerns. It serves as a safe, comfortable and uplifting environment to meet others in the community, receive one-on-one support, and obtain information and skills needed for individuals to continue their path to wellness and recovery.

"This is not treatment, it is recovery support. That could mean anywhere from somebody that has never received any addiction or mental health help, we could link them up to the services they need. To somebody that has been in recovery for 20 years and just moved into the area, they don't know anybody, they don't know where self-help meetings are, they need to form relationships and support - we will help them do that," Mr. Winslow said.

"We are very excited," Mr. Winslow said. "This is a pretty new venture and there is a lot of excitement around the state about what we are piloting."

The DRI-DOCK program is one of only a few programs of its kind in Maryland and the nation. States like Pennsylvania and Connecticut have similar programs and have led the way in the recovery support field.

"There has been a disconnect that has grown over the years between treatment and recovery. The disconnect has worsened in the last decade or two. The recovery-oriented systems of care is working to bridge treatment into the recovery community as well as build resources and support services within the recovery community," Mr. Winslow said.

Many times treatment is unsuccessful because frequently community support isn't there for people in recovery.

"If somebody comes out of a treatment center and goes back to their same environment where people are drinking and drugging and there are negative attitudes, they don't have a job, they don't have transportation that is not going to enhance their successes while being in recovery," Mr. Winslow said.
DRI-DOCK hopes to build those bridges in Dorchester County.

To open the DRI-DOCK, Dorchester County Health Department has joined forces with Chesapeake Voyagers, a mental health and peer support organization. They have a building in Easton and have a presence in the Mid-Shore and were looking to get a foothold in Dorchester County.

"Partnering with them provides an opportunity to address the whole behavior health spectrum. We are very excited about them joining us to provide services and activities here from a mental health perspective," Mr. Winslow said.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration of Maryland is financially supporting the new initiative. Mr. Winslow said it's his department's intention to eventually set up a new non-profit agency to manage the DRI-DOCK in the future.
The staff and volunteers at DRI-DOCK are all in recovery.

"They have been down the path themselves so they can serve as a guide to those that need recovery support," Mr. Winslow said.
DRI-DOCK officials said their initiative is dedicated to helping empower individuals to reach their full potential. Services and activities are aimed to help participants recover from addiction, address mental and physical health challenges, develop and refine life skills, re-establish positive social activities, and restore family and personal relationships.

Beyond regular 12-step meetings and social activities, including movie nights and coffee hours, DRI-DOCK is equipped with a computer lab that can aid participants in job searches and online addiction resources.

"You don't have to feel isolated. You are not alone," said DRI-DOCK Supervisor Diane Palmer. "We are here to help support you on your road to a successful recovery."

For more information, call 410-228-3230 or visit

The DRI-DOCK Recovery and Wellness Center is located at 108 Washington St.

Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

News Editor Logan B. Anderson can be reached at 410-228-3131 or