WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. - Donna Weinberger founded Inspired Recovery in West Palm Beach, Fla. in 2015, when she discovered there were few, if any, rehabilitation facilities that specifically served and provided a safe space for transgender folks and other people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex (LGBTQI+) community to recover from addiction. She set out to change that.
“Our demographic was completely underserved or actually not being served,” she said. “But we are here, and you can come be here with your community.”
It was an “ah-ha” moment for Weinberger with her intuitive foresight. She realized there were no rehab facilities where transgender people receive treatment with their peers while feeling safe and affirmed.
“I came up with a solution because I looked around the whole country and couldn’t find anything out there,” she said.
She built Inspire from the ground floor up and today, Inspire Recovery provides a standard of care for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, plus + all other identities included on the gender and sexual orientation spectrum, such as genderqueer, non-binary and pansexual. So the environment for LGBTQIA+ folks is mainstream life at Inspire Recovery. This allows clients to finally fit in and be among peers thus experiencing a healing community.
“We have created this program where we work with people of all genders, trans folk, queer folk, non-binary, gender fluid, gender-non-comfirming” she explained. “We see gender as a spectrum with male on one end and female on the other with many points and ways to identify in between and even way off the linear line.
“I don’t know [any other rehab facility] where it’s like this,” she added. “We are committed to the LGBT community as a whole, not solely those who attend our recovery program. One of the ways we serve the community outside our facility is by providing training for other clinicians, community leaders, treatment centers and hospitals.
We understand and value that many facilities and therapists genuinely want to provide quality care for LGBT individuals. To do this, centers need LGBT Cultural Competency training. Training is one component that helps create a supportive environment for individuals from diverse backgrounds to openly discuss their life experiences—including any forms of discrimination they have faced in their lives—without feeling judged. Through our new initiative “Inspire Pride, InspirePride.com” we hope to be able to help more people sharing our education, consulting and services country-wide.”
Weinberger said when clients come to Inspire they immediately feel comfortable and are finally able to participate in individual and group therapy to work on their core issues that may have lead up to addiction. As a result of this healing place we have created for the LGBTQIA+ community, we have seen individuals who were once alone, full of shame, and vulnerable learn to live successful, productive, and clean & sober lives.
“Here, LGBTQIA+ culture is the norm,” she said. We hope one day, this is mainstream in all living experiences. People are people, and each one of us is unique. Societal pressures of fitting into a pre-described role presents challenges for most individuals. We aspire to break that stigma and create a greater visibility of successful people of all genders. We want young people to see someone in the media or in their community who they can relate to and know that they can just be themselves. “We contribute to this ideal through our life skills program where we help our clients integrate into work, school and volunteering.” And, then we have visible, successful LGBTQIA+ folks who have overcome great struggles.
After the clinical day, there are plenty of activities, including 12-step meetings. transgender support groups, LGBTQIA+ events and groups through the local LGBTQ community center; community gardening; help with volunteerism and activism, including field trips to help clients discover their passions.
We have a Leadership & Activism groups intended to inspire clients to be a part of the change they want to see in the world. Even for those who have not experienced discrimination, the concepts of leadership and activism are universal to 12 step programs and the service work that is valued as integral to personal growth and having a spiritual awakening.
“We have that intertwined [with the program],” Weinberger said. “There’s lots of local community events, art shows, poetry nights, and karaoke.”
Clients at Inspire Recovery start with Day or Night Rehab. After that clients enter our life skills program where they prepare for working, volunteering or school. Once obtaining 25 hours per week of either clients enter the intensive outpatient (IOP) program.
While going through the treatment programs, Inspire also offers an array of unique programs: EMDR, Morning Reflections (focusing on feelings and thoughts triggers by events in clients’ lives); Emotion Regulation; Trauma Therapy; Love & Relationships; Self-Esteem/Know Your Self Worth; Relapse Prevention; and Letting Go of Fear.
As the client progresses, IOP goes from five days a week to three days. Gradually clients make their way to outpatient treatment and finally graduation which allows them to enter into the alumni program.
Weinberger said Inspire works closely with several companies, organizations and universities to help find its clients volunteer and jobs experience prior to graduating such as local coffee shops, thrift stores, hair salons and more boutique businesses in our community.
“Larger corporations are also very supportive such as Target and Starbucks,” she said.
Inspire is located at 909 N. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, Fla. To learn more, call 561-899-6088 or visit www.inspirerecovery.com.