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Check Out Molly Gallagher’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Gallagher. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Growing up AA – my relationship with Stella Maris began when I was just 14. Christmas morning, wearing a baseball cap and my navy hoody I trekked out into the snow with my dad. At that point, he had been sober for about 5 years, and I knew very little about AA. He was taking me down to Stella’s and said that the holidays are about “presence, not presents.” 

I remember walking into the kitchen area, men gathered around, hot coffee in Styrofoam cups, not fully understanding the impact that this day would have on my life. These men were gathered together in gratitude. Breaking bread and sharing fellowship. I quietly handed out hats, gloves, coats, and things that we had collected for them. I took a pause and leaned up against the wall as one of the men began singing Silent Night. I cried and in that moment was instantly aware that these men were not at home with their families. I was present.

Fast-forward 20+ years. Stella Maris had grown and evolved to meet the needs of the community. A brand-new detox facility was opening, named in memory of my late friend, and former Stella Maris CEO Margaret Berry Roche, and I had the opportunity to bring my dad to the opening ceremony. We sat there for speeches and testimonies, ribbon cutting and all. I flashed back to what he had said all those years before – “presence, not presents,” and in that moment, I took a deep breath and said to myself, I’m home. 

Stella Maris is truly so much more than a treatment facility. To me it’s a family. It’s community. A campus where people can learn how to get well and do the next right thing. I’m so grateful to be here as the Director of Community Relations. Much of my days are spent dispelling stigma around addiction, engaging the community, and doing the next right thing. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
As far as challenges along the way, I’d frankly say that the opiate epidemic during a pandemic has taught us how to navigate in unchartered waters. The numbers are staggering and continue to grow, but Stella Maris remains a campus of hope for our community, where all are welcome. Educating the community about resources that are available. Putting the needs of our clients in the forefront, always.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
While I’ve been a part of Stella Maris for 28 years, I’m proud to be the Director of Community Relations for the past 3. I’m certainly a high-energy extrovert and coffee drinker, so I’d say my enthusiasm carries over into everything I do. I believe that my strengths are in relationship building, not only among the clients but community and employment partners as well. I get to host on-campus events and educate others about Stella Maris off-campus. I recently had an opportunity to host a Misfits Brunch, gathering a bunch of our community partners in an effort to strengthen our network. We had a blast, and will be hosting another brunch in September.

We’d love to hear about what you think about risk-taking?
Publicly addressing behavioral health and addiction topics, which were formerly “off limits, shameful, just not talked about…” is something I’ve grown more comfortable with. Addiction is often difficult for folks to talk about, so the risk I take is addressing any backlash and strong opinions about treatment and recovery. I will continue to work hard and speak out about the stigma, and take care of those in need of help, and hope. Being silent costs lives, and I will continue to use my voice and do my part to save lives.

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1 Comment

  1. Karen Maizel

    August 4, 2022 at 11:05 pm

    I knew Molly in her early days, right through childhood and beyond. She has always been a brilliant light among us. I’m proud of her and so tickled that she’s shining that light in this particular way. I know she’s changing lives.

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