NEWARK – A recreational addict, Newark based Khara Chrysler has used many of the services available in Licking County.

After discovering art therapy through a program at the Licking County Justice Center, Chrysler said she followed art therapy for three years on probation, on-site and through treatment. It was her probation time that helped her connect with resources that gave her an impetus to help others.

“It got me to the point that I was so grateful that I wanted to help give something back,” she said.

Chrysler began pursuing a social work degree at Central Ohio Technical College, where she was introduced to Newark’s Think Tank on Poverty. She is now one of the organizers of an event aimed at bridging the service void for those recovering from addiction.

After seeing the need for several organizers, they put together The Justice Cafe, a free event for people looking to relax in a sober setting. The event will take place on Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Grill at The Works on 50 S. 2nd St. in Newark.

According to a flyer for the event, there will be an open microphone for readings and music in addition to food, coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks.

In the past few years, Alan Schwartz, who is involved with the Newark Think Tank on Poverty, said that many agencies and people have begun to look at addiction and recovery in a healthier way, moving from the “personal failure model” to “addiction is a disease model. ‘

While programs like Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Mental Health America, and Mental Health and Rehabilitation have met some of the needs of this community, Schwartz said one of the places that was not addressed was social life.

“My students and staff at the think tank tell me how difficult it is to overcome social isolation when you are in recovery,” Schwartz said recently. “There’s nowhere to go. If one night you and I feel lonely, want to go to a bar, hang out and be with people, we can. You can’t.”

Such an event is an important part of recovery for David Ruderman, an associate professor at Ohio State University in Newark who also leads a poetry workshop as part of Licking County’s daily reporting program and is a member of the Newark Think Tank on Poverty.

“In my view, part of creating a safe space for people to begin recovery is that they can come and enjoy themselves and relearn how to connect with parts of themselves that have been buried in time, when they were addicted. “Ruderman explained.

It can be difficult to find the person they were before the addiction once they are clean, he said. But having a community and getting back to the things they loved helps them get back in touch with the person they used to be, Ruderman added.

The event will also include art and poetry. Schwartz said they hope to show some people’s art at the event and hope that people will feel compelled to talk about their art.

Another organizer, Eric Lee, was enthusiastic about the event and the music that will be performed at the event. He said it was either written or produced by someone with an addiction.

Stressing the importance of such an event, Lee stated that while the think tank has hosted events that focus on issues in the recovery community such as the addiction forum, The Justice Cafe will allow people to network and give to those who don’t know what The think tank offers the opportunity to give back and be a lawyer if you so choose.

In Ruderman’s 30 year recovery, he said he learned that a big part of getting and staying clean is helping other people once they get clean. He hopes, therefore, that The Justice Cafe will give people in early recovery space to engage as part of their community.

He explained that there are ways to get involved and give back such as B. 12-step meetings and sponsorship, but there is also an awareness of issues affecting the recovery community.

“My hope would be that (The Justice Cafe) gives people a chance to have a really good time and share their creativity. Maybe they’ll come back to something they haven’t done in a long time. Just enjoy it to be with others. ” Said Ruderman. “And then I honestly hope that it will be successful so that we can keep doing it.”

For more information on The Justice Cafe, please visit The Justice Cafe Facebook events page.

When you go

The Justice Cafe is on Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Grill at The Works, 50 S. 2nd St. in Newark. Food, coffee and other soft drinks are provided. The free event also features an open microphone for readings and music.