About Anchor Recovery

The Anchor Recovery Community Center Story.

Our Philosophy

At Anchor Recovery Community Center, we know that there are many different paths to recovery. We want to encourage yours. By becoming a member, you’ll have access to a variety of programming, from AA meetings to holistic wellness activities. You’ll be able to take advantage of employment services like job interviewing and computer literacy skills to help you build your career. Most importantly, you’ll be part of a network of supportive people that encourage your journey to a healthier life. 

The Anchor family of programs includes our main location in Downtown Pawtucket, a center on the campus of the Kent County YMCA in Warwick, and two outreach programs: Anchor ED and AnchorMORE. Anchor also provides recovery support services in collaboration with the Health Equity Zone led by Thundermist Health Center in West Warwick and in all units of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

We’re entirely run by people with lived experience with addiction recovery and our allies who have experience with the recovery journey. Become a member today (link to “Membership” page).

History

Anchor’s first Director James Gillen (right)

Anchor’s main location in Downtown Pawtucket was opened by The Providence Center (TPC) in December of 2010. At that time, national statistics ranked Rhode Island as the state with the highest rate of substance use related problems in the country, and research pointed to a significant gap in treatment. Many Rhode Islanders went from receiving intensive residential or daily substance use support to the opposite extreme, a monthly clinical appointment with little community support. Under the leadership of TPC’s Director of Recovery Support Services, James Gillen, and Associate Vice President of Addiction and Recovery Services, Holly Fitting, Anchor was able to fill that void, providing people with a network of peers and recovery-oriented programming.

In January of 2013, Anchor opened its second location in Warwick, and outreach programs Anchor ED (Emergency Department) and Anchor MORE (Mobile Outreach Recovery Efforts) began in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Since its inception, Anchor has become a national leader in the peer recovery movement, and the destination for thousands of Rhode Islanders looking for recovery support.

Leadership

Deb Dettor, MS – Director

Deb began in her role as recovery advocate in 2004, and has been a leader in developing peer recovery support services since that time. She opened the Portland Recovery Community Center in 2012, after years of community organizing and grant writing in Maine. Deb then relocated to serve as Managing Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, overseeing an array of peer recovery support programs. Prior to this, Deb worked as a clinician and trainer after completing her MS at the State University of New York at Albany in 1982. Deb believes in the healing power of recovery and was excited to join the Anchor Community and staff team in 2017.

George O’Toole – Anchor ED Manager

George started at Anchor as a Peer Recovery Specialist in 2013, and was promoted to manager of the Anchor ED program in 2016. He’s very active in the Rhode Island recovery community, having served as the Vice President of the Rally4Recovery and been appointed to both the Governor’s Opioid Overdose Task Force and the Governor’s Council for Mental Health. His passion is to engage those who are lost and feel hopeless to restore their strength and hope for future success.

Michael O’Neill ACDP, CCSP, CPRS – Manager of Anchor Community Centers

Michael serves as the manager of Recovery Services, providing Anchor Recovery Coaches with clinical supervision and providing quality education and training for their continued professional development. Michael has trained hundreds of peers in pursuit of state licensure as Certified Peer Recovery Specialists. He has been a key trainer of Anchor's Recovery Coach Academy. His work in the recovery field began with The Providence Center in 2011 working as an outreach coordinator with the RESPECT program. Michael is a US Army veteran.

Roka Francis – Operations Manager

Roka oversees all the day-to-day operations at both Anchor locations, including scheduling, budgeting, and anything else that comes along. Previous to Anchor, she served as Special Projects Coordinator and Senior Administrative Assistant at The Providence Center. She has also worked at Tufts Medical Center and several law firms. Roka holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies from Roger Williams University.

Jonathan Goyer - Anchor MORE Manager

Jonathan has been the manager of the Anchor MORE, Anchor’s community outreach program, since its inception in 2015. He is a well-known advocate and spokesperson for the peer recovery movement, having appeared in over 50 local and national publications, including the Rhode Island Department of Health’s “Addiction is a disease, recovery is possible” campaign. He is a certified HIV/HCV testing counselor, certified as a Train the Trainer in naloxone administration, and has extensive experience with data analysis. He is also a member of the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. Jonathan formerly served as Executive Director of Project Weber, a street outreach program, and volunteer for Miriam Hospital’s Preventing Overdose and Naloxone Intervention (PONI).