COCA opens recovery center focused on support, fun


It's the day that comes every year, when recovering addicts share their success stories in front of the Berks County commissioners. Something happening a few blocks away in Reading could make sure there are more stories to come.

The Council on Chemical Abuse, or COCA, cut the ribbon on its new RISE Center in the 700 block of North Eighth Street. RISE stands for recovery information, support and education.

"When you take a look at the place, it is a nice facility, an inviting facility, and shows the dignity people deserve when in recovery," said Stan Papademetriou, COCA's executive director.

"A long time coming, the first of its kind in Berks County, where an individual can immediately get support," said Yvonna Stroman, community programs specialist at COCA.

Officials said the RISE Center is a more laid-back operation; there will be no treatment going on. Instead, there will be yoga classes, movie nights and other fun activities to go along with the support that recovering addicts need.

"Once an individual leaves treatment, the question is 'now what?'" said Stroman.​

Officials said those in recovery will focus on bettering themselves by learning skills, from doing laundry to balancing a checkbook.

"It's not just about I put the drink down. Now, how do I put my life back together?" said Andrew Eisenhauer, a former alcoholic who is more than 40 years sober.

Leaders of those in recovery said there is always hope.

"Don't quit before the miracle happens, and it can happen for anyone," said Eisenhauer.