|Posted on July 2, 2014 at 10:55 AM|
On June 10, 2014, my dream of opening a sober-living facility became a reality. At this point in my life, I had worked my own recovery program for over 13 years and maintained sobriety with the help of my Higher Power and participation in a 12-Step Fellowship. During this time, I was fortunate to have worked as an alcohol and drug counselor for many years in both intensive outpatient programs and a residential facility. I believed my work to be challenging yet rewarding.
After several years serving in this capacity, I noticed that I was spending an increasing amount of time completing paperwork and complying with policies rather than working directly with clients. I became increasingly frustrated. This fueled a desire in me to retreat from an institutional environment and return to working directly with the people.
I began researching the services halfway houses currently provided the recovery community. Having been a former client of several halfway houses myself on the road to recovery, I was familiar with the pros and cons of living in a halfway house. I recognized a need in my own community for a drug-free, supportive living environment. I believed I could more effectively serve clients struggling with A&D issues in this environment, so I began searching for a suitable property. Fortunately, I didn’t have to search too long.
The Byrne Avenue property, where Priority House is currently, was formerly known as Dismiss House. It served as a halfway house for ex-offenders re-entering society. Because it had already been utilized as a halfway house, it offered the perfect location.
After purchasing Priority House, I began the process of cleaning up, organizing and establishing the business. I selected a resident house manager and began the process of TDOC approval. I successfully obtained TDOC approval.
I selected the name Priority House, because I believe, in recovery, there are tasks you have to do before you earn the privilege of doing what you want to do. These tasks must be priorities. It is easier for a newcomer to become distracted by the wrong goals early in recovery. The biggest struggle many people face in the early stages of recovery is learning to establish the proper priorities. Without them, one can rarely obtain or maintain anything of significance. You must take care of the “have-to” tasks first.
Upon opening Priority House, I realized I had to continue the process of maintaining priorities myself. Personally, it has been essential to continue to work my own recovery program and continue to practice the principals that I identified as necessary to growth when I established my business. It amazes me how I can teach and learn a process at the same time. I am grateful to walk beside the residents as they establish their own priorities and create a better reality for themselves one day at a time.