Our A&D recovery support program provides a 24/7 housing environment of services and support for men who suffer from chronic substance abuse, who, painfully, often relapse multiple times during the lifetime process of recovery and sustainable sobriety. While clinical protocols are successful in detoxification and stabilization, the recovery process is a long and arduous road. It should be understood that relapse is a part of recovery. Our population is primarily homeless, and jobless when they enter our program; many of our participants are co-occurring (chemical dependency with mental health conditions).
Recovery and sustainable sobriety demand a lifetime of vigilance, accountability and often mental health treatment for co-occurring illnesses. Detoxification and/or treatment for substance abuse are prerequisite before men are accepted into our intense, yet compassionate recovery support program, which includes 6 levels of progression before graduation from the program is considered.
Transitional housing participants are required to attend five meetings per week, have a sponsor, and work through a series of enrichment videotapes. Also, residents must participate in group mentoring sessions, and personal counseling as needed. Our program includes outside AA and NA meetings. We ask our participants to make a minimum commitment of six months (and encourage 12 months) to our recovery support program. We provide a structured living environment that fosters healing, reconciliation, and recovery from alcohol and drugs. Additionally, all participants must volunteer one hour of community service for each week they participate in our recovery support program. In 2011, we expanded our transitional housing and permanent supportive housing capacity from 24 to 39 beds. Our growth has allow us to increase our services for participants by 62.5%.
Our target population is comprised of men 18 years of age and older, typically ranging in age from 35 to 58 years old. Approximately 69% of our clients are Caucasian; 30% are African American and 1% other. Most of our participants are “chronic relapsers,” which means they have struggled with addiction most of their life, beginning in adolescence. Often times, it is not until the “enabler” dies, or refuses to continue to enable, that our participants become serious about recovery. As with many times before enabling ceases, their attempts to achieve sobriety are to satisfy loved ones, or the courts.
The majority of our men are homeless and unemployed before entering our program. As many as one-third to one-half of the participants are “dual diagnosed” (chemical dependency and mental illness). Many of the remainder of our participants may also have an undiagnosed mental illness, which is why we rely on mental healthcare providers like Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and Centerstone Mental Health to screen our residents for mental illnesses on an as needed basis.
Additionally, there are often other secondary addictions that become apparent once substance use is halted — work-aholisim, sexual addiction, relationship codependency, gambling, etc. Through our screening process, we try to determine if the individual is “serious” about recovery. We want them to have some “skin in the game.” This may mean that they are in treatment, medical detoxification, or some other program immediately prior to coming to our program. Also, one demographic of the populace which is in need of outreach are Veterans of War. We have dedicated one of our transitional homes to Veterans.
Our residents are particularly vulnerable because they typically lack resources to acquire the medical treatment they need; or they may have used up their insurable eligibility. Additionally, affordable housing is difficult for the majority of the target population we serve, because our participants have no income, or very low income. Also, many of our participants have weak social support networks; often times, the relationships in which they are involved are toxic to their recovery. Our target population deals with all the social ills of poverty; and it is common that our clients may have a poor work history, no transportation and no valid driver’s license, or other identification documents.
Some of our participants are lacking in education and/or work skills. These circumstances are barriers to employment. As a result, it can be extremely difficult for our program participants to compete in today’s highly competitive job market. Not having a job obviously affects income, as well as self-worth and self-sustainability, which causes safety and security concerns. All of these circumstances are “triggers” that must be overcome for program participants to maintain sobriety, as well as good physical and mental health.
Enter your e-mail address below for the latest news & info