BUCKHANNON – The founder of Celebrate Recovery is starting a new housing program for men who have previously suffered from addiction.
Doug Spears, the executive director of the newly founded 180 Center, said this new program will initially be a housing center for men getting back on their feet while recovering from addiction. Spears is the ministry leader for Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with addiction and other forms of emotional and psychological pain; it meets on Tuesdays in Buckhannon at the Living Word Church of God.
“This is just, the first of many houses for different things,” Spears said of the 180 Center. “I want to create a safe place for men, and eventually, maybe next year, a safe place for women as well, another house to recover mainly from addictions, but I’m not limited to that. At some point, I would really like to have a veterans’ home to help veterans because we lose 20 of them a day to suicide. So, I just think we can do something about that.”
The first house Spears has acquired for the Center is located on North Florida Street, and he said it will be up and running mid-July.
“First of all, it’s a zero-tolerance facility,” he explained. “If you get caught with drugs, or are under the influence of drugs, or even a dirty drug screen, you’ll not be in the house,” Spears said. “It will be a clean, safe environment and violence is zero tolerance, so it will be safe.”
Living in the home will not be free; Spears said it will cost $400 a month to live in the house, and residents will have to pay for their own meals. Each person living in the house will have a shelf in the kitchen for their own food, and they will be expected to do chores.
“It will be a lot like anyplace else except there will be six to eight men here, and we will wake up every morning and the guys who aren’t at work will start out with devotional first thing in the morning at 8:30 a.m.”
Other parts of residents’ schedules will include attending Celebrate Recovery on Tuesday, church on Sunday and bible study on Wednesday. Mondays will be reserved for case management, during which residents will take a drug test and discuss what they are doing in the upcoming week.
“There’s a curfew – 10 p.m. for the weekdays and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night,” Spears said. “This isn’t a prison, this isn’t a jail, they will be free to come and go, as long as they’re doing their chores and they’re doing what they need to do.”
A requirement for living in the house is to get a job within the first 30 days of living there, and Spears said if family members want to help someone subsidize someone’s cost of living in the house, he will tolerate that initially, but not forever.
“At first, I pretty much have to take people that can pay, but once I’m up and running and my [nonprofit status] comes in, and I can then apply for grants and I’ll take people that maybe won’t be able to pay the first month, but within 30 days, we’re going to get them a job,” Spears said. “Even if someone’s family wants to pay for him, we’ll only receive that maybe two months, because to be an adult means you have to work and pay your own way.”
Spears said he will work with businesses throughout the community to help residents find work and that he has already had some express interest.
“I’m going to work with several different businesses that are looking for workers that will show up every day and that can pass a drug test – and that is a huge problem for a lot of labor entry jobs: getting people that are sober, that’s the big thing,” Spears said.
He said they will be working with food banks, several mental health professionals and will also work with residents to enroll them in GED classes if they don’t have a high school diploma.
“This house is a transition from maybe a rehab or a jail or prison, to go from that setting where every minute of your day is accounted for to a step-down house where, we still know where you are, but you’re free to come and go as you please – as long as it’s not interfering with any of the programming,” Spears said. “While they’re here, we want to teach them how to love God and love other people, love themselves and teach them how to live life on life’s terms without a controlled substance.”
He said the house is meant to help men who have gone through addiction, but it is not equipped to help people currently who are still using.
“I can’t take people right off the street and what I mean by that is someone that is actively physically addicted to drugs,” Spears said. “I’m not a detox, this isn’t a medical facility, so they have to at least be detoxed and even more preferably [have completed] a 28-day program.
“See, when you do a 90-day or six-month program, what they do is they say, ‘Well, good job and good luck,’ and then they just turn you right back out on the street. So, we want this to fill the gap.”
He said he will implement a six-month minimum and a 12 to 14 month maximum for residents to stay in the house.
“By then, they should have some money saved, and in a year, you can build a pattern of living that can sustain you for the rest of your life,” Spears said. “We want to teach them how to get up, take a shower everyday and you’re going to make your bed and do the little things and get into a pattern, go to work, come home, do your chores at your house and if you want to go to a meeting, go to a meeting and develop a pattern of living that when they leave here, they’ll still continue with that pattern somewhere else.”
He currently has two men already starting the program in the house and said he would try to start with five men. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the house can call Spears at 304-619-7537.