Randy Beard, founder of Recover2gether Submitted photo

LEWISTON — Achieving sobriety two years ago, Randy Beard, 52, of Auburn, has since worked to help bring the clarity he’s found in recovery to other Mainers struggling with addiction. Using what he’s learned during his struggles with addiction, Beard founded Recover2gether, an organization that aims to reach a larger audience through community outreach and educational programs. Using his experience in advocacy and recovery, Beard works with the homeless and those transitioning from the prison system, guiding them toward more healthy and fulfilling lives both personally and professionally.

How did you come to found Recover2gether? I was a year into my sobriety and my close friend overdosed and died on fentanyl-laced Xanax, so we did a celebration of life and within a week we had 400 names and 1,000 members. That was March 2021. I tried to commit suicide in 2020 by overdose and I got clean that year and then that winter, in February 2021, my friend died and we had the celebration of his life. I invited four friends to help me let people know on Facebook and it exploded — people just sending me names of family members. So we decided to host Maine’s first Black Balloon Day on March 6, 2021. We had hundreds of people show up to honor the 400 family members who died from overdoses. We had performers and speakers on the Eastern Promenade in Portland. This year, we held it in Augusta. We had double the amount of people and 30-plus organizations . . . attended. This year we will be hosting it here in Lewiston.

What are some of the things your organization focuses on? Do you have any particular programs or fundraisers? We do endless advocacy for the unhoused community, raising funds by donation for clothes, tents, housing. We also transport and get people into detox, sober living. We help people with re-entry from the prison system and help with mental health issues as well as grief, because so many people are losing their personal battles. I travel the entire state, mostly Recovery Housing of Maine, Recovery Connections of Maine, and The Rest Center. I am an organizer for the Maine Recovery Advocacy Project.

What made you want to become involved in helping others with their sobriety and why do you think it’s so important? I began using substances at 12 years old and was unhoused for many years. I battled to get off the streets and to get sober, but nobody ever showed me any resources until the late Jesse Harvey and Kari Morrissette showed me a way. So I somehow did it, and now I want to #KariOn their mission and give back to the community.

What are some of the things you’ve learned while working with Recover2gether that you’d like others in recovery or struggling to get sober to know? That they are not alone and that we all struggle and have relapsed and that we do recover. We want everyone to know that stigma, judgement and being uneducated on SUD (substance use disorder) is what cripples our community. Open mindedness, encouragement, connection is what helps fight against this struggle.

Do you think there’s a redeeming quality to working with people? I swear by it. I feel that it’s why I have maintained my sobriety for 3 years.


Why do you think the need is so great for an organization like yours? Because we are, first and foremost, a family and community that work as one to help fight this. Too often, groups judge people or charge a lot of money. We welcome everyone and anyone and the only real rule we stick to is hate is not allowed. We now have over 60 organizations partnering with us and that was my idea. Instead of all of them fighting over funding, we work together for our common goal. There’s all kinds. I don’t feel comfortable saying a few because there are so many.

Are you married and/or have children? I am divorced because of my addiction and I have one daughter and one granddaughter.

What are some of the changes that you’d like to see in the community? I want to get into high schools and educate young adults. The average age kids start using is between 14 and 18 years old. I want to make naloxone training and the carrying of it common and non-judgmental. I’d like to change the narrative and save a life. If we all save one, that’s big! Our group is almost at 3,000 people now in around 18 months.

Who are others that have been making an impact in the community by doing work similar to yours? Recovery Connections of Maine, Rest Center, Courtney Allen at Maine Recovery Advocacy Project, Direct Recovery Services, Rise & Grind Recovery, Recovery Housing of Maine, Church of Safe Injection, and Angel Wings. There are so many, I could go on for hours. I will tell you that the L-A area now has some of the top recovery advocates here, with so many moving here this summer.

What are some things that the community can do to help your organization and others? We are really trying to become an official nonprofit organization, but we take every cent we raise to help people, most of us even taking our last dollar because we live paycheck to paycheck. We are completely self-funded. But donations of clothes, any resources, volunteering, just being willing to listen. I have a group called the Truth Tellers and we would love to educate people

Does Recover2gether have an address or location? Where can people find you? We are on Facebook and TikTok — it’s the easiest way for me to reach people in a large scale. We are located in Auburn and volunteer daily at the Rest Center in Lewiston (205 Main St.)

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