For many alumni, a turning point can be multifaceted. For Mark Lefebvre ’80 (EE), his was a transition from 22 years of executive-level marketing and business roles at IBM to co-founder of Safe Harbor Recovery Center (Portsmouth, N.H.) and recovery coordinator for the Triangle Club (Dover, N.H.). Plus his own personal journey of recovery.
Looking back, Lefebvre attributes his WPI education as instrumental to his roles at IBM—it was also at WPI he learned to accomplish just about anything. “Although I may not have been the smartest person in the room, I am, and continue to be, very resourceful. To this day I still utilize the problem solving and collaboration skills I learned while at WPI.”
His transition into recovery support and rehabilitation services may have begun through his own long-term recovery, but Lefebvre points to the growing opioid epidemic in New Hampshire, where he resides with his wife, Vivian, as the tipping point. “I’ve come to know, personally, individuals who have lost their lives, and families who have lost loved ones,” he explains.
After he and Vivian watched “The Anonymous People,” a documentary about the U.S. recovery movement, they decided it was time to put their combined knowledge and energy toward helping others through the founding of Safe Harbor Recovery Center.
This past summer, Lefebvre increased his impact in the world of recovery when he was hired as the first official employee of the Triangle Club, an opportunity he says will be life changing—not just for him, but for those he hopes to touch through his work.
The Triangle Club currently hosts more than 45 weekly meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, and other 12-step programs. “Over 200 individuals come through our doors every day. We provide a safe place for patrons to come in off the streets, attend meetings, and establish peer relationships with others in recovery,” Lefebvre shares. In addition to meetings, the club provides literature, computers, and peer support for its patrons.
He says that New Hampshire loses nearly 500 sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers to heroin, fentanyI, and prescription opiates each year, and that he’s grateful for the opportunity to be of service to those in need. Lefebvre’s message for those affected with the disease of addiction is simple: “This is an illness, and there is no shame in admitting it. There are millions of us across the country dealing with substance use disorders, many of us in long-term recovery,” he says. “There are resources to help, but you need to take that important first step. Recovery is possible, if you ask for it.”
For the loved ones of an addict, he has these three words: Don’t give up.
“No one wakes up one day and declares, ‘Today I want to be an addict,’ he says. “It is a progressive illness and needs to be treated as an illness—without judgment, without shame, and with compassion.”
If you or someone you know is ready to make that turning point away from addiction, Mark Lefebvre welcomes you to reach out with a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published in WPI Journal, Winter 2017 edition