REGION — The path to recovery can be a tricky one to venture on, primarily because many people don’t see themselves as having a problem. It is easy to write off the vices that many indulge in, like marijuana and alcohol, as being completely justified. How many have said, ‘I’ve had a long day, I’ve earned this.’?

The sad truth is that, for many, these simple vices can lead down a slippery slope. Many people don’t know how bad it has gotten until they hit rock bottom, and even then, many will try to blame others before ever pointing the finger at themselves.

In the rural communities of western Maine, like Franklin County the effects of addiction can be seen throughout the community, and it can be challenging to know what options are available to the average citizen.

One option is Provider Services. Offering medically assisted treatment [MAT], Provider Services is open once a month and only recently set up shop in Farmington after offering MAT in Skowhegan since 2018.

“Farmington was chosen because it’s kind of between Skowhegan and Portland, [and we’re] trying to hopefully help out the Lewiston area, Portland area. Anybody that has that need,” Rosemary, owner and administer, said.

Provider Services had its doors open on Thursday, May 4, where people in recovery visit to check in with Rosemary and their on-site nurse practitioner, Janet Zalanskas.


“If we don’t have the resources to treat them, we will find, refer them to those who do have those resources,” Rosemary stated.

“I’m not about getting their money,” she added, “We’re about making sure that this is the right fit for them. And if they need something else, I’ll go digging for resources, I’ll make phone calls, or whatever I need to do.”

In attendance was Darlene, a utility worker from Augusta. In 2011, Darlene suffered a back injury that resulted in a two-year period of heavy Vicodin use. After realizing she was going down a dangerous path, Darlene sought help and treatment. She has been on Suboxone for nine years and she says, at this point, it is just maintenance.

“I’m within 10 years of retirement, I don’t want to throw all of that away,” she said.

“People like Darlene, they are in and out in five minutes,” Rosemary stated. “A lot of my folks that are stable, their visits are quick. So, they don’t have to take a lot of time out of their day.”

Darlene pointed out the stigma of addiction was one of the obstacles that she had to overcome before seeking help with her problem with pain medication.


For most people, when you say someone is an addict, a portrait of an individual who is strung out, homeless and in poor shape comes to mind. The concept of addiction to any substance carries with it the burden of that societal stigma, which makes it even harder for someone to admit they have a problem, let alone find help.

The reality of the situation is that Darlene, and many of the other patients that visit Provider Services, do not even come close to the depiction we are all so familiar with.

Certainly, there are those individuals that fit that description, but with Provider Services, many that come in and out aren’t in need of the more intense programs that are offered by other programs, such as Kennebec Behavioral Health. For them, the recovery process is more intense and involves MAT, counseling, and much more hands-on treatment. According to Rosemary, many of her clients are past that and simply just need the basics.

“Most of my regular people that come in, we hardly talk about [their recovery],” Rosemary said. “We will talk about the price of groceries, or whatever.”

Over in Livermore Falls, Lifeline for ME recently opened their recovery house, known as the Summit House. A three-bedroom ranch, the Summit House is a place for occupants that are on the road to recovery.

According to Amanda Ricci, owner of Lifeline for ME and chief administrative officer, the house is meant to operate as a peer model, with every member of the house holding themselves accountable for their recovery.


Currently, the Summit House is an all-male only residence. Recently, Ricci appeared before the Franklin County Commissioners to seek ARPA funding for an all-female only residence, but as of Friday, May 5, no decision had been made on their application.

Finally, we have the recovery centers that are sponsored by the Healthy Community Coalition [HCC]. Open once a week, these centers offer a place for support and community for individuals that are in recovery or seeking treatment.

The program, officially called the Franklin County Recovery Center, is piloted by HCC and funded by the state for two years to combat the ongoing crisis of substance abuse in Franklin County. They have two locations, one in Jay and the other in Farmington.

The Jay recovery center is located at St. Rose of Lima on 1 Church Street and is open every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Farmington location will be at St. Joseph Church on 133 Middle Street and have the same hours of operation.

“The Recovery Center is going to be for folks in recovery, to come and just be accepted and be safe in a like a substance free environment,” Ashley McCarthy, a program management specialist for HCC, stated. “There might be some peer led groups going on, but also just a place that somebody can come in and grab a cup of coffee and just sit, play a board game or a card game with somebody, or just talk to somebody.”

McCarthy also explicitly stated that doors to the recovery center are open to everyone, regardless of recovery status. “We’re never going to turn anybody away,” she said. “It’s not like I’m going to ask you at the door, ‘Are you in recovery? How long have you been in recovery?’ Anybody is welcome.”

While the stigma of addiction and recovery may be unshakable for the foreseeable future, it is important to remember the personal battles we are all facing and that we do not have to face these battles alone. Provider Services, Lifeline for ME and the Franklin County Recovery Center are here for those people who do not wish to fight alone.

For more information about Provider Services, please call [207] 399-4438. For Lifeline for ME, please call [207] 320-3305 or visit For more information about the Franklin County Recovery Center, please contact HCC at [207] 779-3136.

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