Celebrating Recovery Cafe

People trapped by homelessness, addiction and mental health challenges are struggling with often complex and overwhelming problems. That’s where Recovery Café comes in.

Currently a network of 20 Cafés nationally (and one in Canada), projected to grow to 50 in the next 3 years, walks alongside those who are trapped to help find freedom. On January 30th, they held the Grand Opening  of the World Headquarters for this effort. The offices are located above a second Recovery Café site in Seattle.  Full disclosure: my son David is the Executive Director, so I’ll try to keep maternal pride from coloring this portrait too rosily. But it’s important to celebrate the good when we’re surrounded by pervasive evil.

As Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in tribute, “this is a place to anchor hope.” Indeed, the large, surprisingly beautiful building is a sacred space where people will “choose life,” reach milestones of sobriety, and create communities that not only heal but stand as models of one human family. Seattle leads the nation in recognizing the futility of incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders who need not prison, but treatment. Here, they can receive many kinds of care: healthy meals, special lattes, AA meetings, yoga and writing classes, gatherings with counselors and supportive friends.

It was heartening to see at the opening philanthropists rubbing shoulders and eating pizza with the homeless—a rather rare occurrence in our stratified society. But it happened here, with enormous energy. An enthusiastic audience applauded members who’d offered feedback and perspective, visionary donors, architects, builders, staff and fundraisers. All celebrated the inclusion of a free medical clinic and dental services, which will help the area’s ERs by providing  preventive treatment. And the group looked towards the future, at the second floor network headquarters. Because the program has been proven worthy to replicate, staffs will train here in the model that can change lives in countless cities.

As co-founder Killian Noe said, the greed of pharmaceutical companies has created an opioid crisis. But the Cafes offset their evil by resisting forces that dehumanize and creating communities of accountability. “Divine Love goes by many names,” she said in her prayer of blessing.  “May those in this house know the wonder of their worth.”


  • For more background, see Descent Into Love: How Recovery Cafe Came to Be by Killian Noe (2015)


Retreat led by Kathy Coffey: “Those Feisty Gospel Women”

San Damiano Center, 710 Highland Dr., Danville, CA (925)-837-9141

www.sandamiano.org        March 27-29, 2020

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