Recovery Center of the Ozarks has been in the news lately with Executive Director Rodney Beaver approaching the Quorum Court and City Council to inform the local government of funding opportunities as well as provide a detailed account of the peer-based program. What is the heart and motivation behind this effort and will it work for our community? Is there a need?

The Board of Directors met with the Daily Times to share the difficult, arduous, journey this project has taken which will be part one. Part two will show how the public can engage and support the project. Part three will be the future expansion of the project.

Board member and pioneering visionary, Scott Swanson, was told 37 years ago as he completed a recovery program, “I hope you will use your talents and abilities to help others recover.” Swanson has been involved for years with the process. “But when the late Bryan Somers pleaded with me on Oct. 31, 2018, to do something to help others, I felt very burdened to do more. So many people were impressed with his dedication to God and recovery, I want to make sure he is mentioned as a catalyst for this program,” Swanson said.

A board of directors was developed with Dr. Dawn Phelps as chairman. The process then began. The journey took them in state to Russellville, Conway, Little Rock and out of state to Springfield, Missouri; Georgia; and Houston, Texas.

“In Oct. 2020 we explored four different treatment models,” Swanson said. “Teen Challenge after a year of research just didn’t work for us. This has really been a God-thing — even through doors being closed. When one door closed, a better one would open almost immediately. Mike Thomas put us in touch with a friend of his who ran Project Hope. We came very close to building them a center south of town on some land donated by Ron Moore. At the last minute, Project Hope purchased the same Teen Challenge we had started with. With the new six-center operation they told us they didn’t have time to do both, so we were out,” Swanson said.

A week after that some of the board met a faith-based operation out of Conway and got to the end of negotiations with them. Phelps, as chairman of the board for the first two years, addressed her desire to lean a different direction. She knew from personal experience with friends and family that a medical component was crucial for success. “Boston Mountain wanted to be involved and the Conway facility didn’t want medical involvement at all,” Phelps said.

“At that point, we almost went out of business,” Swanson said. “But two days later, a friend of mine called me and said I had to come to Little Rock and meet a man from Virginia who has been doing this for 18 years. May 2, 2022, Rodney and I went to Little Rock.  He told us he started with $4,000 and an 80 square-foot office. He was just named the Man of the Year for Virginia.”

In his 18 years in business, he has opened 15 recovery houses, has a 10,000 square foot recovery center and 200 men in recovery with an average of 12 men per house. He also has about 200 members of the community who come to the classes but don’t live in the recovery homes.

Arkansas signed on to have him import his program and ideas into the state. He started with P.E.A.R.L. in Rogers (Positive Energy Affecting Recovering Lives). They received a grant from the state because they were willing to follow his guidelines. Little Rock and Pine Bluff got the same sizable grant. That same model pointed the board of directors toward peer-based recovery.

The spark that created a positive path of hope with holistic recovery in the community then transitioned into what has now become Recovery Center of the Ozarks. 

Donna Braymer [email protected]