So Far recovery group looking for mentors

By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

If you’re struggling with substance abuse, there’s help here in Charles City.

So Far, a recovery group that stands for Sober For a Reason, is looking to team up with the Second Judicial District Department of Correctional Services in Mason City to help those who are fighting an addiction they can’t control.

“The purpose of this project that we’re doing is to team up people who are sober with people who are trying to get sober,” said So Far member Dave Holschlag.

Holschlag, owner of Dave’s Restaurant in Charles City, recently hosted a So Far meeting that came up with the idea to help out those who may need some guidance to overcome a substance abuse issue.

So Far will distribute questionnaires or forms for people who are willing to mentor or help  someone in the area who is struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. In turn those forms will be given to the DOC in Mason City. Once the DOC has the questionnaires, it will match up people of like interests, similar age backgrounds, etc., for one-on-one mentoring.

“If you want to help somebody, we’ll get your criteria on here and then the Department of Corrections can match you up with somebody who is struggling and then you can encourage them. That’s what this is really about,” Holschlag said.

The Second Judicial District Department of Corrections comprises 22 counties in northern Iowa, including Floyd County.

Holschlag said his group is in the early stages of putting the program together, but he has made out forms for anyone who is willing to become a mentor. Some of the questions on the form are:

• What type of social activities do you like?

• Are you a recovering addict?

• Are you in a recovery program?

• How many years have you been sober?

“The DOC believes that … somebody who’s successfully in recovery has a better understanding of what it’s like to get sober than anybody else,” said Holschlag. “If we can team up people one-on-one on a small-scale basis, it’s much more effective than having great big, large groups.”

The idea came about after someone in the So Far group said they thought there were at least 200 recovering addicts in Charles City who would love to help out people if they just knew what they could do to help, according to Holschlag.

So Far is a volunteer-based organization that wants to promote a substance-free lifestyle and deter drug use in Charles City and surrounding communities. It has been in existence for more than two years.

“Every person is important,” said Holschlag. “Only that person can make the decision to get help. If we can put the avenues in place so when they’re ready to get help …, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

So Far meets 7-8 p.m. Thursdays at Dave’s Restaurant. Anyone looking to mentor and fill out a questionnaire can attend a meeting or stop by the restaurant. Anyone interested can also contact Gus Meyer at 515-227-3823.

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