GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Nanc McGorman knows how tough it can be to maintain sobriety while working in the service industry.
After getting sober in 2017, she realized she needed extra support in her recovery journey.
"I started searching out to see if there were any groups that were for people in the hospitality industry, that might know what I was going through and there really wasn't," she told FOX 17 News.
McGorman decided to fill the void by creating Beer City Recovery; a non-profit aimed at helping members of the hospitality industry struggling with substance abuse.
"We held our first meeting in the end of June 2017, and it expanded from there," she explained. "We hold weekly meetings now...mostly during the pandemic we've been able to offer financial support. We work hard to get people connected to resources in the community, if they're looking to detox, or rehab, or counseling. Things that they may not be able to afford."
With many workers losing hours and facing extended restaurant/bar closures, stressors from the pandemic may be exacerbating problems with substance abuse in the industry.
"Not only are you unemployed, but some of our members haven't even gotten their money yet, and it's just a lot of people don't know how to handle that. And using drugs and alcohol numbs that, said McGorman.
The support from Beer City Recovery has made a big difference for Nic Morgan, who's worked in the service industry for more than a decade.
He got sober in October 2018 and found the group shortly afterward.
"It really clicked with me and I've been a pretty active supporter of the group since January 2019," said Morgan. "It's almost like instantaneous support. I know instantly that if I were to maybe have a situation and feel like i might have a relapse situation, I can reach out to them and I know within seconds that someone's going to get a hold of me."
McGorman is now a Recovery Coach at Cherry Health, while also as a hostess at Grand Rapids Brewing Company.
As Beer City Recovery continues to grow, she says the group is open to all.
"You don't just have to be sober or want to be sober to come to our group. You can be sober-curious, or want to look at harm reduction," she said."Basically, if you're looking to be better than you were when you started coming to the meetings, we're here to find where you are, and where you want to be and how we can get you there."