Unique substance abuse program in Montgomery offers hope

Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 5:03 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s the only one of its kind in Alabama in the fight against addiction.

The R.O.S.S. program opened its first state chapter in Birmingham three years ago and hasn’t been in Montgomery very long.

The acronym stands for Recovery Organization of Support Specialists.

Lorraine Smith knows all too well the darkness of addiction.

“I was on cocaine, yes sir and crack,” said Smith who is the agency coordinator for R.O.S.S.

The threat of real prison time changed her life. That was 25 years ago. Clean and sober, Smith helps others see the light through the R.O.S.S. program on Forest Avenue in Montgomery.

“We’ve been in some of those shoes and you can kind of feel the genuineness,” she said.

“For many years I was lost,” said Mark Litvine, one of the founders of R.O.S.S.

Litvine is also familiar with the path of brokenness through substance abuse.

“You lose control of your life,” he said.

And Litvine says that’s what makes R.O.S.S. different. The program is non-clinical, federally funded and focuses on the theme they “know and understand.”

“Everyone involved at ROSS is a state certified peer support specialist. And what I mean by that is we’re all in recovery. We know what it’s like to have been through that struggle,” Litvine said.

“They can kind of feel the empathy,” Smith said.

The words of hope and encouragement are often discussed in group meetings over a game of pool or in the lounge in the R.O.S.S. building on Forest Avenue in Montgomery.

“Our building offers a lobby and a computer lab,” Litvine said.

R.O.S.S. serves 500 people a month, a few more than that sometimes during the holidays.

“So the holidays can be a trigger,” Litvine said.

People like Mark and Lorraine found a way to redeem their past, reclaim their lives and in the process discover a greater purpose.

“And God has accepted me and forgiven me,” said Smith.

On Smith’s desk at R.O.S.S. there sits a truth carved in wood that says “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations” - a truth that’s become crystal clear for Smith 25 years later.

Litvine says R.O.S.S. has around 350 state certified peer specialists throughout the state.

R.O.S.S. offers a 24/7 helpline. That number is 1-844-307-1760. The local number is 334-356-2890 and agency’s email is: ross4us.mo@gmail.com

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