Burgers and New Friends

The Friend’s House has been welcoming some new faces recently, and the new crew of guys are all excited about gaining some deeper culinary prowess. So this morning, a few of us headed to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for homemade burgers. We learned how to safely dice onions and then practiced the delicate and ancient art of seasoning burgers. We talked about how a little nutmeg adds warmth and depth, but too much overwhelms the other flavors, and we wondered what else in our lives was like that. Then we made fun of ourselves a little, mixed everything together, and made some beautiful patties, full of onions and love.

Next we brought everything out to the grill, and with awareness that an owl would envy, we watched our grilling dinner; checking to get each burger done to it’s recipient’s exact preference.

While they cooked, the guys shared stories of other glorious burgers they’ve had. Some voiced the opinion that no burgers could ever compare to the masterpieces at Cappys. We laughed and enjoyed the cool shade the house provides in the heat of the evening. Eventually, they were done. We slapped some cheese on the top to melt, toasted the buns, and then we dressed them and along with side salads and bubbly grapefruit water, we shared a truly marvelous meal. The guys who had cooked were excited to share their creation with the rest of the residents. After deliberation, it was concluded that these burgers were even better than Cappys.

This kind of relaxed, fun evening is central to recovery. These guys work extremely hard; at the manual jobs they show up to every day, at rebuilding relationships that were strained over the course of their addiction, at staying away from unhealthy lives that are often actively reaching out to them, and at simply figuring out how to be healthy community members. While simple activities like making burgers may seem small when we read about them, they deserve a deeper look. Some of these guys have literally never had a home-cooked meal. They’ve never diced an onion before, and don’t know how to turn a grill on. Learning how to cook burgers means more to them than can be said; it means that they can save hard-earned money by putting a few burgers in bags for lunch this week. It means they’re not tied to the frozen sandwiches that they’ve been eating for dinner since they got out, which they can feel don’t give them the energy and wellness that they want from their food. It means they can offer to make a meal for a nice, sober single mother and her kids who they’re getting to know. These burgers, along with a thousand other little pieces, are what weave together the community that fosters healing and growth here at the Friends house. 

It’s an honor to be part of the incredible work that the men here are doing, and all of us head to bed tonight feeling grateful to Midcoast Recovery and the Friend’s House for this space of delicious healing.

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