By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – “The Addiction Referral Center (ARC) was highly instrumental in my quest to abstain from alcohol. I had no other place to turn,” said Jerry D. “I had exhausted all other options. With the help of the director and the peer support of the ARC, I have abstained from alcohol for 12 years. The ARC performed a miracle in my life. I will forever be grateful.”
“In June 1999, I was a 46-year-old broken down woman with no self-respect,” said Terry B. “I was undergoing treatment in Worcester when I heard about a place called the ARC, a place where you could go and be accepted just as you are, a place where I would find hope. I walked through the doors of the ARC and was welcomed and told if I attended meetings there every day and stayed close to those who were finding a new life, I could do the same. I have been going to meetings there ever since. Without the ARC I would not be alive today.”
This is the testimony of two of the many thankful local and area residents who are finding freedom from alcohol and substance abuse at the ARC in Marlborough.
“It is so rewarding to hear people appreciate their sobriety and freedom from drugs,” said Executive Director Marie Cheetham. “They keep coming back to the ARC to share their experience and help and hope. Today there are a lot of people battling heroin addiction. We try to encourage them not to give up. It’s not a moral issue – it is a disease and we can help.”
Cheetham joined the ARC as a volunteer 14 years ago and was named director 11 years ago. She works cohesively with the volunteer Board of Directors to maintain the mission of the ARC – to deliver the highest quality of confidential services for persons suffering from the disease of alcoholism and addiction and restore their dignity and respect.
“We work closely with the courts for the rehabilitation of chemically dependent offenders and provide court-mandated community service opportunities,” said Cheetham. “We also provide speakers for area schools, businesses and organizations, informing all on the danger of addiction and introducing them to the many resources available at the ARC.”
The ARC was established 43 years ago as a drop-in center on Lincoln Street by a handful of individuals who were on a quest to remain sober from alcohol addiction. As the need for a larger space became evident, the center moved to Pleasant Street and eventually to its present location – 33 Main St. Today, men and women come from Roland’s House, the Marlborough-Hudson Homeless Shelter, local businesses and from every walk of life. Individuals find a healthy environment where they can attend meetings, spend time with recovering individuals and make lasting friendships.
Led by the Cheetham and the Board of Directors, the ARC has become a nonprofit agency that provides many extensive services to the community at large, as well as to addicted individuals and their families.
The director, staff and volunteers are at the ARC daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Twenty-seven meetings are held seven days a week. For a complete listing check the website www.theaddictionreferralcenter.com or stop in for a copy. The ARC is also on Facebook for information and upcoming fundraising events, including the sixth annual Golf Tournament Friday, Aug. 21, at the Juniper Hill Golf Course in Northborough.