WellStrong in Teaticket—a fitness and wellness community for people in recovery from substance use disorder—will turn one year old on Saturday, December 1. On Friday, November 30, WellStrong members will gather to support one another and take classes in yoga, strength training, meditation and more.
Founder and president Amy Doherty said Monday, November 26, that WellStrong and its activities have grown considerably since last year’s opening. The gym is at 6 Alphonse Street off Route 28 and is open 9 AM to 7 PM today. The full hours and class calendar can be found at www.wellstrong.org.
“We are excited to be part of the Falmouth community and have experienced so much growth, positivity and enthusiasm among the recovery and supporting communities,” she said. “On Friday, we’re open for people to stop by and visit for a tour or to try a class. We’ll soon be adding kickboxing and meditative drumming.”
Open 45 hours a week, WellStrong has an eight-member board of directors and four part-time employees who work the front desk and/or teach one of the 15 to 20 classes offered. All the other instructors are volunteers.
The number of members has grown since August when WellStrong received a $20,000 grant from the Falmouth Human Services Committee.
“Once we got the grant, we were able to offer more classes,” Ms. Doherty said. “The word’s getting out and the energy right now is exciting. People who are coming are really happy to take part. Members have talked with me about the sense of community here. It’s a safe place, with healing of mind, body and spirit all in one place. Close to 550 people have come through our doors over the past year.”
Suzanne Hauptmann, director of Falmouth Human Services, said Tuesday, November 27, that WellStrong works with clients from treatment organizations such as Emerson House and Gosnold of Cape Cod.
“WellStrong provides a real benefit to those in early recovery, and it allows those in long-term recovery to serve as mentors,” she said. “Meditation and wellness programs are often a part of inpatient treatment, and a program like this helps them maintain the kind of services they had while being treated.”
WellStrong’s Refuge Recovery meeting is open to anyone who is dealing with addiction, whether or not the person is a member, and sometimes has as many as 30 people in attendance. Refuge Recovery is a non-theistic, Buddhist-inspired approach to recovery from addictions of all kinds, including drugs, alcohol, gambling and eating disorders.
The 12-Step yoga class, which is based on a national program started by Nikki Meyers, is also open to nonmembers.
To use the open gym or take other classes, people must become members, which means having been sober for 48 hours and actively working on recovery.
“Membership is free for the first three months, and we ask new members to make a donation of at least $10 a month from then on,” Ms. Doherty said.
Funding for WellStrong has come from across the Falmouth community. The largest fundraising events have been the David Lewis 5K for Recovery in September and the Charter Cup Fishing Tournament.
“Our largest grants to date have been from Falmouth Human Services, Falmouth Road Race and Cape Cod Healthcare,” Ms. Doherty said. “These grants have helped us purchase equipment and hire employees and instructors. We have applied for additional grant money intended to create jobs at WellStrong for people in recovery and to help us with outreach efforts to expand our programs to others.”
WellStrong also has a Founding Family appeal through the end of the year. Any family that has donated a total of $5,000 or more from last December 1 to this December 31 will be considered an original Founding Family of WellStrong.
“We have two Founding Families to date: Melissa and David McGraw and Amelia and Josh Katzen,” Ms. Doherty said. “We have a few more who have pledged to meet the criteria by the end of the year. Anyone meeting the Founding Family criteria will be added to a plaque displayed at our Falmouth location.”
Last year, six members ran their first triathlon together, and another group is raising money to team up for the Ragnar relay race in May.
“Our goal has always been to start in Falmouth, and as we’re accomplishing our mission here, to expand to other communities on the Cape as funds allow,” Ms. Doherty said. “Evidence-based studies show that exercise and meditation make a difference for people in recovery. They increase well-being and help reduce cravings and relapse.”