DOVER - A crooked copy of the Lord’s Prayer hangs on the wall of the gutted Triangle Club, a peer driven recovery support group for addiction at 120 Broadway in Dover since 1984. Words offer solace to those who read it:
"And lead us not into temptation/
But deliver us from evil"
“We call it spirituality, not so much religious,” said Sandra Jalbert, a board member for the Triangle Club. “Believing in a higher power helps people move forward.”
According to their website, the Triangle Club’s mission is to promote the spiritual, physical & mental health of people in recovery from addiction to alcohol, heroin, and other substances. They wish to provide a safe place for those who acknowledge that staying substance-free is of primary importance.
Currently under construction, the Triangle Club holds meetings seven days a week for Alcoholics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, as well as other substance abuse recovery programs. A second floor is being added for Heroin Anonymous meetings. The addition deemed necessary by Jalbert and club treasurer, Mike Kimball, to meet the growing population of opioid addicts in Dover.
According to the New Hampshire Medical Examiner, there have been 273 total drug deaths since Oct. 17,2017. 240 of those were from opioids. Dover, so far, has seen 13 opioid related deaths, according to Captain Terlemezian of the Dover Police Department.
“Regarding non-fatal overdoses, we are down slightly,” said Terlemezian. “We think this is because the overdose reversal drug Nalaxone [Narcan] is widely available which means that the same number of overdoses are happening but less are being reported because Naloxone is being used.”
That is the police department’s theory. For Jalbert, she thinks it’s because of the communities being formed for the addicted population.
“Every Tuesday our Heroin Anonymous meetings draw in between 85 and 125 people,” said Jalbert. “There’s a need and they’re passionate about it and they’re getting help.”
Now six years sober, Jalbert remembers her days at the Triangle Club, participating in meetings and building a family with others who were struggling through their addiction.
Like many, alcoholism runs in her family. Her parents suffered from it, her first husband died from it, her son has it and Jalbert has been struggling with it for a lifetime. She was prescribed Percocet and Vicodin for chronic pain and within three years she became addicted to that as well.
“I was trying to get pills from other doctors and trying to get them online,” said Jalbert. “Then it became pills and more booze.”
She started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to get sober and while she had stopped drinking, she was still taking pills. Jalbert recognized the power of denial, a smart woman who genuinely thought she didn’t have a problem. It took time but she finally got off the pills. Six months later she needed an emergency surgery and was prescribed Percocet, again.
“It’s an obsession,” said Jalbert. “It’s all you can think about. Within a week I was back at it, in a frenzy.”
Jalbert, who was a year and a half into her MFA in Creative non-fiction writing at the University of New Hampshire, hit the wall on a Thanksgiving. She drank too much, and had taken too many pills and collapsed on the floor in front of her husband. She needed to get help and after rehab, found herself at the Triangle Club.
According to Jalbert, the construction is slated to be finished at the end of the month, having started at the beginning of August. Meetings have been scattered throughout Dover. Some at Dover Bowl, some across the street from the Triangle Club, some in the basements of churches. Regardless, people still find their way.