Founded in 2014, we believe 4th Dimension is America’s first 35 and under young people’s 12-step sober club. 4D began with a few founding members hanging out in a little warehouse who just needed a “sober place to kick-it.” Winston Murray, Co-Founder, 4D first President and current real estate agent at PDX Works, said the biggest struggle in the beginning was “just keeping the doors open.”
4D kept the doors open by hosting recovery event after recovery event; renting out the space to 12-Step meetings and hosting small fundraisers. The first board members did all the work and eventually their grit paid off as hundreds of young people inundated that dusty old warehouse. It wasn’t long before the larger recovery community and the general public took notice of this amazing phenomenon.
4th Dimension & The Mission
The name 4th Dimension was adopted from Alcoholics Anonymous. In summary: In the AA Big Book, Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, describes the power of one alcoholic helping another: “We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a 4th dimension of existence of which we have not even dreamed.” Our mascot, the monkey, seemed cool because monkey’s go into space sometimes.
Our mission to provide young people an opportunity to recover is also guided by the national standard codified by AA in the late 1940’s. In 1946 & 1947, “35 and under” groups began sprouting up in Philadelphia and New York and in 1958, ICYPAA the International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous began its annual conference for those 35 and under. 4D has adopted AA’s definition of young people and we serve the 35 and under recovery community.
Gaining Support from the Community
As 4D’s popularity in the young recovery grew, it sparked interest from some “Old Timers” in the recovery community. Eric Martin, an addictions treatment expert in Oregon, heard about 4D and came to see what the hype was about. After witnessing what he has described as: “one of the most amazing community driven responses to the addiction epidemic he has ever saw,” Eric said he “had no choice but the help these kids!” He pulled in other professionals like James O’Rourke, 4D’s longest standing personal donor and Nick Smit from Gresham Subaru who have helped sustain and grow 4D’s mission.
A Maturing Model
Today, 4D has moved out of the warehouse and into a home on 3801 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. We are still organizing recovery events and hosting 12-step meetings, but we now have matured in providing effective youth peer-recovery services, “recovery mentoring.” We no longer are volunteer run and we have 8 employees who ensure over 600 young people a month in Portland, Oregon have a place to recover.
led by Executive Director, Tony Vezina, 4D’s model has turned into the leading innovation in youth recovery support services and was used in the creation of a Substance Use Disorder Youth Peer Service Best Practice Manual. 4D now has three contracts to provide mentoring services in Multnomah County and is looking to expand its service to the tri-county area. Tony states the effectiveness of the program is based on experience: “We know what were are doing and of course this works. We are young people in recovery, who else better knows how to help other young people recover?”