Utah non-profit changing the way we look at addiction recovery

Jun 16, 2020, 10:44 AM
addiction recovery...
Evan Fields joins the Project Recovery podcast to talk about his work with USARA as a Peer Recovery Coach.

SALT LAKE CITY — Many who struggle with a substance use disorder find it hard to reach out to someone who can understand their struggle. One Utah non-profit organization is hoping to break that stigma and change the way we look at addiction recovery through unity.

Evan Fields, a Peer Recovery Coach for Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA), joined the Project Recovery podcast to talk about his work as a recovery coach after overcoming his own battle with addiction.

Evan’s experience with addiction recovery 

Evan’s introduction to USARA came after he was finally able to beat his own opioid addiction.

“I became a full-time single dad to an 18-month old boy and I was newer to recovery,” he said. “I wanted to be around other people that had the same goals, the same vision, that understood [addiction].

USARA would frequently hold a “family fun night” where recovering addicts could get together with free pizza and a movie. As a father getting his feet back under him, these family nights became a pillar of hope and led to continuous sobriety for Evan. He was allowed to be himself with others around him that could understand and empathize with his pain.

After attending the family-focused nights, Evan began to get more interested in USARA. His passion for the non-profit began to grow and he knew that he had to find a way to involve himself with the program.

“As that progressed, I got more and more involved and we just went from there,” Evan said.

He was eventually hired as a Peer Recovery Coach. Now he focuses on being there for others to find their own road to recovery.

How USARA is fighting for addiction recovery

Along with Evan, a full team of Peer Recovery Coaches work with addicts who are curious about, interested in, or are ready to commit to treatment. What’s different about USARA though, is the people who are there to help according to Evan. 

“We are all people in recovery who get to support other people who are struggling with substance use disorder and the family members,” Evan described. “[We] get to meet on the same level as other people that are looking for support.”

And for Evan, being able to communicate with a struggling addict as a recovered addict, is what is so impactful for the team at USARA. The importance of being able to truly empathize with someone who has a substance use disorder can truly make or break one’s recovery. Evan knows that first-hand.

“What really spoke to me was somebody who said, ‘Look, I’ve been there man,'” Evan recalled. That power of empathy and unity is what has also helped Evan stay sober for almost six years.

Different programs available

USARA offers many programs to help make a case for recovery. Along with Peer Recovery support programs, the non-profit also offers Addiction Recovery Coaching and Family Support groups. These groups can help family members and friends who are concerned about someone close to them.

Another option that is available is their Telephone Recovery Support program. The program allows recoverees to call in and speak with a recovering addict. According to USARA, the program “helps reduce relapse and enhances the recovery experience for recoverees as well as the volunteer making the calls”.

One benefit to such a program according to Evan is being open and transparent with addiction recovery. That way the recoveree can be open and feel free of judgment.

“We don’t judge anybody. We’re here because we’ve been on all levels [of addiction]. Let us meet you where you’re at,” Evan explained. “Let’s come up with a plan together.”

Resources for family members who just want to help

Along with their Telephone Recovery Support, USARA specializes in resources for family members on how to support recoverees. The program offers ways to educate yourself on addiction recovery, increase empowerment, and learn self-care strategies to help prepare your family for the road to recovery. 

If someone just doesn’t really know where to start, they can call and get connected with a coach. The coach then helps point them in whatever direction they need at the time.

Calling in to get help might be the best thing for a family struggling with a disorder. As well as being beneficial to USARA’s coaches. For Evan and the team of coaches, they’re just glad to be able to help any way they can.

“I was convinced that I was going to die an IV, opioid addict. Now I get to be a dad. I get to be a family person and get to have the best job ever,” Evan described. “I get to support everybody.”

Listen to the podcast to learn more about substance abuse awareness and USARA

For more information on addiction or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, Use Only as Directed, or USARA. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

Today’s Top Stories


second job inflation...
Heather Kelly

Many are getting second (and even a third) job to keep up with inflation

More people are getting a second job, said Bankrate.com, because inflation has them dipping into their discretionary funds.
14 days ago
Utah homes are recording high levels of radon gas. 
Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News...
Heather Kelly

Utah homes at risk of having dangerous levels of radon gas

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for people who are non-smoking. Utah homes are recording high levels.
2 months ago
A customer pumps gas at an Exxon gas station, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami. U.S consumers have s...
Curt Gresseth

UVU commencement speaker tells her story of rising from high school dropout to bank president

Mary Daly shares her story of rising from high school dropout through the nudging encouragement of her mentor to become president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
2 months ago
Toxic relationships...
Curt Gresseth

Expert shares advice on leaving a toxic relationship

A BYU psychologist shared his advice on identifying a toxic relationship and best practices for how to avoid one and how to leave one.
2 months ago
Maria Shilaos ana Taun Beddes learn to grow vegetables with Mat Jentzsch...
Carlos Artiles Fortun

KSL Greenhouse: How to grow vegetables in containers

Maria Shilaos and Taun Beddes visit Mathew Jentzsch to learn how to grow vegetables in containers for easy, convenient growing.
2 months ago
Lack of Russian oil supply greatly effects Utah along with rest of Country...
Curt Gresseth

Will Biden’s plan to tap national reserve lower gas prices?

An industry insider says it's good President Biden wants to encourage oil and natural gas production, but isn't sure what it'll do for gas prices.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Utah non-profit changing the way we look at addiction recovery