It's common for people to have legal issues and homelessness looming over them after getting out of detox; a transitional house can help them get those issues sorted out faster because they have resources available.
It’s not impossible for a recovering heroin addict to do it alone. But it’s not easy.
That’s why Connections’ Sober Living transitional homes exist. They allow recovering addicts to live in a house with others in recovery for eight to 12 months as they get prepared for adjusting to life in general society.
One of the keys is how it’s designed for residents to help one another through recovery.
Cory Price, 27, has been a resident at Sober Living’s all-male house in Harrington since June. Sober Living, he said, has been a valuable experience, because he feels his roommates have his back.
“Normally if we’re going through something, a couple people that I’m close with will come to me and ask ‘what’s going on?’ or vice versa,” Price said. “It makes me feel great, because I can honestly say I don’t know the last time when I’ve genuinely felt loved.”
Residents in Sober Living are required to have counseling, which includes Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Residents must attend four one-hour sessions per week.
People living at the house are taught how to take care of themselves and house etiquette, which includes mandatory chores like vacuuming and dusting.
Brian Taylor, who recently left Sober Living, said being responsible for doing chores was a big help for him.
“Those are values I didn’t have when I was in addiction,” said Taylor, who’s been clean for nine months. “I didn’t care about cleaning no damn room [while on heroin]. I didn’t care about eating, so why would I care about a clean dish?”
Though being a Sober Living resident isn’t free, Connections helps residents find employment if they need a job. Connections can provide transportation for residents to obtain special identification or documents like a Social Security card or driver’s license.
Sober Living house manager Andrew Schmidt, who’s been clean six years, said the program “changes lives,” since it allows people time to address the problems they brought into the house.
The house manager said it’s common for people to have legal issues and homelessness looming over them after getting out of detox. But being in a transitional house can help them get those issues sorted out faster because they have resources available.
“I took Brian [Taylor] every week to court for months. He had tons of open cases. And a lot of people do,” Schmidt said.
As a resident in Sober Living, Taylor landed a job at the clam processing company Sea Watch in Milford. From there, through Schmidt, he was able to land a job as a peer specialist at Connections’ Withdrawal Management Center in Harrington.
Taylor has been a peer specialist for about five months. His duties include sharing his story and offering advice to addicts seeking treatment.
Schmidt, a longtime friend of Price, is grooming Price to follow in Taylor’s footsteps.
Price said his plan in the winter semester is to enroll at Delaware Technical Community College to earn an associate’s degree in certified drug and alcohol counseling.
“I want to get this degree and start a normal life and eventually have a family,” said Price, whose first drug of choice was marijuana at age 16, which led to alcohol, Percocet and heroin.
“I’ve never really lived,” he said. “I’ve always been controlled by a substance or something mood-altering, no matter what it was. I’ve never really focused on myself or worried about my future.”
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