As well as facilitating recovery and reducing healthcare costs, peer supports and mutual self-help groups are considered by SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative to be one of six essential components in effective trauma-informed care. (Source: SAMHSA, 2014)
Winners’ Circle is a peer-led support group created to address the unique needs of people who are in recovery from alcohol or other drug addiction and who also have been incarcerated.
Winners’ Circles offer safe, positive, non-judgmental, relaxed places for participants to develop healthy lifestyles, learn and practice life and community skills, and share support, encouragement, and success with others at similar places in their lives.
Through Winners’ Circles, participants gain the rewards of genuine self‐care and mutual respect, while also learning skills and behaviors that help them assume responsibility for self‐direction and have positive interactions in their families, at work, and in their communities.
There are only a few requirements for joining a Winners’ Circle. Participants need to:
have a desire to work toward their own healing and recovery
want to help others by providing encouragement and support
be at least 18 years old
agree to come to meetings clean/sober and with no weapons
Family members, friends, and allies are also welcome to participate in Winners’ Circle.
TASC helps guide the development of Winners’ Circles and Inner Circles, provides training for Circle leaders, and works with community partners to establish locations for Winners’ Circle meetings.
Winners’ Circles strive to be self-sustaining. The Illinois Department of Corrections provides funding to TASC to facilitate the development of Winners’ Circles and Inner Circles.
Current listing of Winners’ Circle locations and leaders: Please call ahead to confirm meeting time and location. If you are interested in creating a Winner's Circle in your Illinois community, contact Tommie Johnson.