Recovery center strikes a chord for those in need

Passenger Recovery recently opened and held an open house. The center, located on Caniff, offers help to people struggling with substance use disorders.


By Alan Madlane
Christopher Tait knows rock’n’roll; he’s been a member of one of the premier Detroit-based combos, The Electric Six, and trust us, they rock.
Often, there are temptations when one is in a band, and playing the bars and clubs and festivals and so forth. That can lead to one feeling like they may need to find a way back out of the madness. When fighting that battle, nothing can help like having a good support system around you.
Cue Passenger Recovery, a program with a link to The Phoenix, a national recovery movement.
We caught up with Tait to ask a few questions about this program.

The Review: Your Facebook page says that you’ve been working toward this in different ways since 2016 – can you briefly describe the journey to getting this center operational?

Christopher Tait: Passenger started as a nonprofit in Hamtramck in 2016, relaying the message to local venues and promoters that we were a support system for musicians and crew in recovery, and would provide transportation to support groups, plus coffee, laundry etc.
From there, we connected with orgs locally and nationally with similar missions. In 2022, we were accredited as a Recovery Community Organization, and were approved by the MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) to open a Community Center for people struggling with substance use disorder in 2023.

The Review: You list a lot of partner organizations — MusiCares, Sims Foundation, The Roadie Clinic, Families Against Narcotics, Recovery4Detroit, Rise Recover Live – how does The Phoenix and its philosophy intersect with these other groups?

Tait: All of these organizations work towards enrichment for people in different ways. Whether it’s funding for treatment, improvement of the individual’s quality of life, or support for the families around them, these orgs work to educate the individual, and help give structure to the journey.
These organizations celebrate the journey, advocate for the change, and provide encouragement. We’re fortunate to be among great company!

The Review: We’re fascinated by some of your offerings, such as “Keyboard Catharsis” (great title) – how does something like that work? Would one need to bring their own keyboard, presumably?

Tait: Keyboard Catharsis was an idea that I cooked up with poet, actor and local legend Jimmy Doom, many years ago. We discussed it first while crossing paths at Steve’s Party Store during the pandemic.
Jimmy offers basic guidance and tools during the writing session, discusses the writing process, and lets people dig in. It’s a very positive atmosphere, and Jimmy is a fantastic teacher. Notebooks are provided, no keyboard necessary!

The Review: How did you end up getting to be in the space that was the old St. Lads convent? Is this space proving to be good for the needs of the group so far?

Tait: I’ve been part of the group Electric Six for over 20 years, sober for 13. Being in bars and venues for decades was a big part of my life, and I’ve always loved Hamtramck because of the crazy musical history here. (My first gig in all of Detroit was at Paychecks in 1997.)
I was working at The Belmont in Hamtramck between tours when I got into recovery. Darren Grow and Mark Hausner ran The Belmont, and have both been very supportive of Passenger’s mission as we’ve grown from assisting musicians in recovery, to using music and the arts as tools to advocate for people in our local community.
When I approached Mark about a space, he put us in contact with Ed and Linda Wolyniec from the convent. The convent is perfect for our purposes, because it provides discretion for people who are looking for support.

The Review: Do you see expanding into any other avenues, such as for example sex addiction, gambling addiction, shopping addiction, etc? As these are also all forms of response to loneliness and modern world isolation?

Tait: Passenger recently began a meditation meeting, and an SLA (Sex &Love Addiction) meeting has been a weekly fixture since we opened in February. We also have a hybrid family meeting (Stronger Together) through our partnership with Families Against Narcotics, which supports friends and family members of those struggling with substance use disorder.
However, we can also direct people to resources for any of the concerns mentioned above. Part of being a Recovery Community Organization is to provide support on the ground level, and to have resources available for people who are curious, or concerned, about life changes.

The Review: There are some photos (on the Phoenix main website) from out West that appear to suggest that part of the ongoing healing process is to do things out in nature together – photos of a canoeing trip, for example. Do you have any plans for events or activities like this here at the Detroit location?

Tait: We don’t have any field trips planned at the moment (look to The Phoenix app for that). However, our program director, Bryan Wolf, is working on music programming that discusses the health benefits of music while celebrating our vast local cultures here in Hamtramck. Please stay tuned!

The Review: Feel free to use this space to summarize; talk about any aspect we didn’t ask on; give shout-outs; or whatever.

Tait: A big, BIG thank you to Tim Price of the Hamtramck Arts & Culture Commission, Lynn Blasey of the Hamtramck Community Initiative, Kurshida Hossain of Detroit Friendship House, State Representative Abraham Aiyash, and Virginia, Lara, Shannon, and ALL of the Piast Institute/Hamtramck Drug Free Community Coalition. We would not have been able to grow to serve the local community with impact if not for the guidance of these fine folks!
(Passenger Recovery Community Center is located at 2697 Caniff.)

Posted May 10, 2024

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