BARN History

    The Door Is Open, Come On In


     SAFE HAVEN    by  Susan Gaspar

                    "Please don't tell me a sermon. Show me one."

    Recovery 101 includes service work and for myself, this opportunity came in the form of the Bangor Area Recovery Network, which opened its doors in the summer of 2010. In good conscience, I cannot preach the accolades of great recovery if I had been unwilling to roll up my sleeves and pitch in with other like-minded members of the Recovery Community in the Bangor area who would strive to make this organization a great success.

     Physicians, psychiatrists, healers, all concerned with saving lives. But alcoholics? Not as familiar, but just as important. Important when the lives being saved are of those fellow alcoholics who required a place to go to find safe and sober individuals. The Bangor Area Recovery Network would provide such a safe haven, where the recovering community could come to meet, socialize and carry the message.

    It would be a venue in which change could be achieved through abstinence from mind-altering substances. Where improved health, wellness and an improved quality of life could become a reality for recovering individuals in our community. How could I NOT want to be a part of the BARN's inception?

     An idea formed...but no man is an island. No one individual could have achieved all that was necessary to see a recovery center to fruition alone. The very crux of recovery. We work together.

    It all started in February 2009, when a Brewer A.A. meeting that had been meeting consistently for fourteen years found it necessary to search for new place to meet as their building became unavailable. A call was placed to a recovering celebrity who promised assistance in finding a solution and through the persistence driven individuals working toward this common goal for over a year, the building at 611 Hammond Street in Bangor became a reality.

   Support and planning assistance from BARCC during the organizational process resulted in a Board of Directors being formed. BARN By-laws were written, legal issues discussed, committees were formed, an operations manual was created, a budget was set for the fiscal year. When the meetings were in full swing, other recovery groups in addition to alcoholics anonymous signed on to hold their meetings at the BARN. Word of mouth spread faster that the printed pamphlets listing the various recovery meetings. Every noontime meeting was filled. Every evening meeting had rising attendance. The BARN was in business!

     We board members of the BARN call these "mini-miracles," those opportunities which somehow materialize. Together with talented members, such as the volunteers, pushing to make the BARN successful, adamant about avoiding mistakes of previous recovery "clubs," we were on our way. Saturday movie nights, football Sunday gatherings, recitals, and even a talent show is in the offing for the BARN.

   Veterans meet at the facility, the Bangor Area Recovering Community Coalition meets at the BARN, various recovery meetings, including Overeaters Anonymous, Al-anon and Ala-teen all meet at the facility. Such wonderful opportunities to practice socializing sober!

     "Take away alcohol and we become frightened individuals," an A.A. old-timer once told me when discussing the BARN. "We needed a place like this. If recovery individuals can socialize here and are able to interact with people sober, they can socialize and interact out there." 

    As a BARN board member working to make this safe haven successful, I am honored to continue to make the Bangor Area Recovery Network my service work showing, rather than saying. Doing, rather than dictating. Living, rather than dreaming.

      BARN membership is $10 per month, $50 for 6 months, or $100 per year.

      Donations are tax deductible. Donations can be mailed to

      P.O. Box 2424, Bangor, Me04401.

     Or call (207) 561-9444 for more information