This article is part of Scroll’s Second Chances series. Second Chances highlights the unique experiences and potential of individuals who have overcome substance abuse and/or incarceration, as well as the programs and people that supported their journey.

Center for Hope, an Idaho Falls-based organization that facilitates addiction recovery and helps those struggling with mental health, is opening a satellite office in Rexburg.

The office, located at 859 W Yellowstone Highway #2701, opens in early April. It will be available to anyone who needs its resources and anyone who would like to know more about it.

The Center will be available free of charge, as it receives financial support from grants and donations.

Center for Hope is opening a location in Rexburg in early April.

Center for Hope is opening a location in Rexburg in early April. Photo credit: Brogan Houston

Why is an addiction recovery center necessary in Rexburg?

Many people have estimated that Rexburg is comprised of somewhere between 95 and 98% members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church fully opposes the use of drugs and alcohol outside of medical necessity, leading many to believe that drug abuse and alcoholism do not exist in Rexburg.

While there are certainly fewer problems with drugs and alcohol abuse in Rexburg than there are in a lot of other places in the world, they do still exist here. Center for Hope seeks out the individuals who need that help.

Until now, most of the addiction recovery resources available in Rexburg were through the Church. The Church runs a 12-step addiction recovery program and has clergy members assigned to take care of anyone in need. While those resources help many people, some do not feel comfortable going to religious gatherings.

That’s where Center for Hope comes in.

Community input

On March 19, Center for Hope hosted a community conversation to educate the general public on the need for the Center in Rexburg and to get the community’s input. About 80 people attended, shattering the Center’s expectation of 30-40.

Among those in attendance were Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill, Madison County Magistrate Judge David Hunt, several law enforcement officers and several BYU-Idaho students.

Mayor Jerry Merrill was one of about 80 people at Center for Hope’s community conversation in Rexburg earlier this month.

Mayor Jerry Merrill was one of about 80 people at Center for Hope’s community conversation in Rexburg earlier this month. Photo credit: Chester Chan

The meeting mainly focused on reducing the stigma surrounding substance abuse and recidivism. Although Rexburg’s drug and crime rates are much lower than most places, they do occur here. Some people voiced concern at the community conversation that they feel looked down upon, despite people’s best intentions. The community conversation sought to find ways to eliminate shame from the healing process.

The ideas proposed at the community conversation included normalizing conversations about addiction and working with local Church leaders to educate members on the problems that exist in the community.

“It was good for the community to hear exactly where we want to be, where we are, and how we can get there,” said Jimmy Bicking, the director of the Rexburg office.

What will Center for Hope offer?

Center for Hope is open from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.

Center for Hope is open from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. Photo credit: Brogan Houston

Center for Hope facilitates various programs designed to help people in addiction recovery. The Rexburg office will hold Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings several times a week. It will also regularly host activities such as movie nights, game nights, barbecues, sports and more.

The Center’s staff are all certified recovery coaches with lived experience, meaning they are also on their own recovery journeys. The staff serve as guides, helping others to get clean and stay clean.

The staff will facilitate wellness plans and relapse prevention plans. Additionally, the staff will help connect people to additional resources such as Medicaid, ride-sharing programs, food banks, rent assistance, utility assistance and more.

Meet the director

Jimmy Bicking will run the Center for Hope satellite office in Rexburg. In fact, Bicking is a major reason why the Center is coming to Rexburg in the first place. It was his idea.

Jimmy Bicking is the director of the Center for Hope office in Rexburg.

Jimmy Bicking is the director of the Center for Hope office in Rexburg. Photo credit: Brogan Houston

Upon graduating from court-mandated drug court, Bicking, a Rexburg resident, saw some of his peers fall right back into their previous addictions. At that point in time, Bicking did not know what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, but he did know one thing: He was not going back to drugs or alcohol.

Bicking brought this up with one of his drug court supervisors, trying to figure out how he could stay out of trouble. The supervisor, who was recovering from a substance use disorder himself, said that the thing that helped him stay clean was helping others to do the same.

It was at that point that Bicking realized what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: help others overcome addiction.

“I feel like the job kind of picked me, instead of me picking the job,” Bicking said. “It was just kind of a natural thing.”

Multiple dominos fell perfectly as Bicking developed and executed a plan to open an addiction recovery center. He started his recovery coach training, got funding from the county and found a building to use. However, one problem remained: If Bicking was going to do this full-time, he’d need a salary — and the county couldn’t provide one.

That’s where Center for Hope came in.

One of Bicking’s advisors from the drug court suggested that he reach out to Center for Hope. If he already had a building and his certification, the advisor mused, the Center might be willing to pay his salary.

A couple of meetings later, the plan for Center for Hope to come to Rexburg was finalized.

How to get help

Those who struggle with alcoholism, drug addiction or mental health issues can stop by Center for Hope between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Other available resources include the Church’s addiction recovery program, rehabilitation facilities in Idaho Falls and surrounding areas and the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which can be reached by dialing 988.

“We envision a community and world where there is no shame or stigma related to behavioral health and where people are able to live their lives to their fullest potential,” according to Center for Hope’s website.