MISSOULA – It’s one of those places in Missoula you might drive by every day but not really know what goes on inside.
It’s the “Fourth D Club” in an unassuming building on one of Missoula’s busiest intersections.
The things that happen there are often described as miracles, and now this club is ready to share its story with the community.
The hallways echo with the gritty and personal stories of addiction, hope and healing.
The walls remind everyone who comes here that there is another way, and for more than a decade, the Fourth D Club has provided a handful of 12-step programs a safe place to meet, in order to complete an important step in recovery.
“I was the person that you’d see on the corner talking to themselves, usually with no shoes and no coat in February,” said Tina, a recovering addict.
Tina says she often cannot believe how much better her life is today after 28 years of addiction. She’s now a sponsor to several others in her Narcotics Anonymous group.
“I have a job. Previously, there was a good 10-year period where I couldn’t continue employment at the same place for more than three months at a time. It’s an amazing feeling, like it was an amazing process of recovery.”
There are about 70 meetings here every week including Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and others.
“Most people don’t know there’s another way to live. I mean, I didn’t get here by accident,” said club president and board member John Moree. “I didn’t know there was another way to live and I certainly didn’t think I could be happy, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. The biggest promise in all programs is that the best of life is still ahead and not behind. And at the time, I could not see that. And what happened is, I got rocketed into the Fourth Dimension and I am a blissfully happy man these days.”
The Fourth Dimension refers to a state when the dimensions of one’s physical, mental, and emotional states are in harmony and balance, with complete abandon to a “higher power.”
The club’s location is perfect in Missoula, on the corner of Broadway and Russell streets, convenient to those who need these services. It’s near the Poverello Center, the Pre Release Center and other groups where a 12-step program is vital.
But because it’s a nonprofit, there’s always financial stress. Now the club is ready to reach out to the community.
“I don’t think the community at large really even knew we existed or that we had a purpose. I stand out here in front sometimes and watch people drive by and look at the sign and they don’t have a clue what we do here,” Moree says. “Our aim in the beginning was to be self-supporting through our contributions and we’ve tried really hard to do that for a long time. We’ve always been on the wire of being able to stay open or closed and this last time we got there, it was really kind of at a crisis point.
“I’m not going to say that if this location ends that it will cease to be because it would probably move someplace else. But what I am saying is that this location is an asset to recovery in our community and we’re here and everybody knows about it. Everybody who needs us knows where we’re at.”
Moree says the club’s landlord is supportive, but support from its members and the community is vital. It’s someplace that’s actually making a difference in a community’s fight against drug use and the tragedies that follow.
“You hear about the problem all the time on TV and in the news and it’s such a big thing and it’s as a big thing when I was young when it was on the news. I’m from the DARE generation you know, and everybody had a bumper sticker on the back. This thing has always continued to go forward but something that happens is there’s some sort of disconnect between what happens in Washington and what happens in Helena, with what actually happens with the individual addict, and treatment options are limited and they’re expensive and, ideally, anyone would have access to treatment.”
It’s also looking for volunteers. You do not need to be in recovery to serve as a volunteer.
Story by Jill Valley, MTN News