I have gripes about my current recovery center, yet, at the same time, there are aspects of it that align with me.
What works for me (and these not in priority order):
- Art class
- Outdoor cycling night
- Music lessons
- Outdoor hikes once a month on a Saturday
- Yearly duathlon race
- Recovery coaching
What doesn’t work for me (and these are not in priority order):
- Faith night that involves g(G)od being shoved down my throat and feeling excluded from faith night because I don’t want to hear about g(G)od.
- Art class with no guided instruction that doesn’t go deep or allow enough to time to do long-term projects and dig my teeth into something.
- Art class that is usually something to do with acrylic paint, and that’s about it.
- Feeling forced to eat at art class because people look at me like I’m crazy for not wanting to eat high carb foods and they don’t understand not wanting to break my fast.
- Art class is loud and people are so chatty and it’s never a quiet, restful experience.
- The person that leads the hike talks and talks and talks and talks. It gets old when you want to hike and you don’t want to listen to someone talk at you for half an hour.
- There’s no training program for any of the fitness activities that are offered.
- What’s on the calendar isn’t truly what’s going on at the recovery center. Lack of organization drives me nuts.
- Cycling night was surface level with no organization or planned or supported rides. The rules of the road are never followed.
What I would change or add to build my own recovery center (not in priority order):
- I would offer a combination of virtual and in-real-life experiences. Virtual for people not with me and and IRL planned experiences for people that live near me and can participate in real life.
- Planned rides that build and follow some kind of training plan.
- I’d have a training plan that gets people ready for the duathlon that the recovery center hosts so that the people that do attend the recovery center can be a part of the race. My husband and I were the only people who participated in the race who also attend events at the recovery center.
- I’d charge for membership. When people pay money, they have higher levels of commitment because they are paying for the experience. I believe having a place that is completely free is wonderful, but I think people would commit more and be even more involved and would show up more if they had to pay for membership.
- Guided art classes that focused on working on a longer-term project each week.
- IRL athletic programs and virtual ones targeted to people who are endurance athletes or who want to try endurance sports and not targeted to just recreational athletes. This would include cycling and running – things we can do IRL or virtually and talk about how things went for us afterwards.
- Community night that focused on spirituality and faith that didn’t shove g(G)od down people’s throats. There’d be no bible involved. There’d be no mention of g(G)od. It would be more based on meditation, gratitude and gathering as a community of like-minded people with a shift of the conversation to talk about how to contribute to society and be a good person without talking about the Lord. It would focus on community and helping one another out and building a recovery family without even having to mention g(G)od.
- Quiet hikes IRL and virtual hikes. Hiking for the sake of hiking and not having someone talk your ear off in the process.
- I’d have the correct messaging and a consistent message throughout my center.
- Planned field trips into the community I do live in and to Chicago.
- Culture club. Field trips that are IRL to meet up and go visit Chicago and local places near me to see plays, operas, ballets, symphonies and also do other fun stuff like architectural tours or walking tours. Maybe plans to go out to eat afterwards and a chance to enjoy each other’s company.
- I don’t think I’d offer recovery coaching unless I could hire someone else who is trained properly to do it. I think recovery coaching is invaluable, but I don’t know that I could be the one to do it because I don’t have the experience or the training or the desire to act as a coach for someone for their life.
So, if I build it, will people come? I don’t know. That’s part of my fear. This would be a for-profit recovery program that people would have to pay a membership fee for. It would be for people like me who like to dig deep, are introverted, who enjoy nature and endurance sport, are culture buffs and who aren’t religious. That’s me in a nutshell. I have a hard time finding people who are just like me. Sometimes, I don’t believe that they exist. I’ve been told that I don’t fit in and that it’s not ok to be who I truly am by my family of origin and my in-laws. I go so many places alone and by myself because I don’t know that many people who have the same interests as me. Yet, I know they are out there. I hear them speaking in podcast episodes I listen to and YouTubers I watch. I know people like me who are into what I’m into exist in the world, but I have such a hard time finding them, and I don’t want to keep struggling. I want to find them. I want to build a community of like-minded individuals.
So here it is: I’m going to start building it piece by piece and see what happens. I’ll start small and work my way up. In building any business endeavor, part of the challenge putting yourself out there, testing to see what works and what doesn’t and continuing to keep trying until you find what does work. It’s easy to criticize an existing program, say what I like and don’t like and what I’d change, but it’s another thing to put it into practice.
So here we go. Keep an eye out on the blog for upcoming events and community invitations. I’m going to build something big, and see what happens. See if people show up.
P.S. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. I’d love to hear from you, your ideas and feedback and to know if you’d be interested in being a part of my community I’m going to build.