"Addicts change their goals to meet their behavior. Non-addicts change their behavior to meet their goals."
This is an inspirational phrase written on one of the dry erase boards inside a room at Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women LLC, which has been in operation in Richmond for 31 days.
Changing behavior is one of the main focuses of the two-phase program, but the immediate enemy is inside the mind, according to peer mentor Lynn Starks, 42, of Elizabethtown.
"That's what gets us into trouble is our thinking," said Starks, who completed a 15-month substance abuse recovery program in Louisville.
"We don't have to be an alcoholic or an addict for our thinking to get us in trouble," she said.
The recovery center, located at 218 Lake St., offers classes focused on teaching the women new ways to think in order to continue on their road to recovery.
"I didn't know any other way of living until I came into the program and was taught," Starks said. "I had to be trained to think all over again. I was criminal-minded."
When women first arrive at the recovery center, they are "scared to death," Starks said. "Some of them have doubt that it will work for them."
She reflected on her own attitude when first entering a recovery program.
"I'm grown and these people ain't going to tell me what to do," she recalled thinking. "They don't know what they're talking about. I thought they were just trying to brainwash me. Until I really got into it, I had doubts."
Part of recovery is understanding the disease, Starks said.
"I've been to treatment before," she said. "I've been to psychiatrists, counseling, and they didn't tell me what was really wrong with me. It wasn't until I went to jail and got Recovery Dynamics."
Recovery Dynamics is a comprehensive program of instructional and self-help materials for counselors and individuals. The program is based on the original 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Recovery Dynamics is used at Liberty Place.
Starks said her disease was "two-fold."
"It centers in my mind and my body," she said.
Addicts can sometimes take a physical issue and make it a moral issue, said Debbie Daniel, recovery services director.
"It makes them feel like there's something wrong with them," Daniel said. "If they don't get the help, that guilt and shame will continue to get worse and leave them in that cycle and it will never go away."
Clients are screened by a telephone interview. Screenings can help identify medical, physical, and mental health issues, said Karen Bailey, program developer for Foothills Community Action Partnership.
"Screenings determine appropriateness, and clients must be medically cleared to enter the program," she said.
Aside from attending classes and learning to accept more responsibilities, clients also are given a comfortable place to live.
Virtually all the rooms in the facility, including classrooms and utility rooms, have been sponsored by individuals or organizations in the community.
All of the women's rooms were decorated by a room sponsor.
"Although a person's surroundings cannot assure recovery from addiction, living in a pleasant home can certainly help instill dignity and pride in the residents," said Vicki Jozefowicz, Foothills Executive Director. "As the residents have seen the beautiful apartments that were decorated for them by community members, businesses, and organizations, they have been overwhelmed with the understanding that total strangers cared enough about people they had never met to go to such effort to provide rooms that are as comfortable and pretty as would be found in any private home."
Moving into a two-bed room is a privilege for those who have moved on in the program, said Jerri Allison, director.
Clients stay in a 12-bed room when they first enter the program, and gradually work their way into a more quaint, apartment-like setting.
"To watch the women's faces when they move into the rooms is a wonderful opportunity," Allison said.
There are now 21 women recovering at Liberty Place.
"Although Liberty Place will eventually house 100 women at a time, we are admitting a few women at a time and don't expect to reach full capacity until around the end of 2008 or the first of 2009," Jozefowicz said. "The reason for this is so that we have residents who are at various stages in their recovery versus them all being at the same point. As the program is based on women helping women, we need some to be further along in their recovery so they can help the newer ones."
The women accept more responsibility as they progress to phase two, and will eventually begin looking for jobs within the community, Allison said.
There is more to recovery than getting rid of an addiction, Daniel said.
"You literally are reborn in there," she said. "Not only do you get clean and sober, but you grow up and you learn to take responsibility and have accountability."
Starks admitted it is a very long, hard road to recovery, but said it is a road that she is privileged to have traveled.
"Everything that I've been through has been bought and paid for and I wouldn't trade it for the world," she said. "I would go right back and do it again to get to where I'm at today."
by Ronica Shannon - Register News Writer
Shannon can be reached at email@example.com or 859-623-1669, Ext. 234.
Published in The Richmond Register on August 04, 2008
Pictures will be hanging on the walls and colorful bedspreads will make the bedrooms cheerful and inviting.
In addition to fine bed linens and wall decor, the bathrooms will be stocked with soaps, shampoos and other toiletries.
"We want this to be a place where women can heal," said Liberty Place Director Jerri Allison. "It can be scary coming to a strange place where you are going to live with people you don't know."
All of the decorations and other accessories in Liberty Place rooms were donated by local churches, civic groups, businesses and individuals. They spent $700 to $1,000 on each room.
After getting the $3.5 million, 100-bed facility constructed and furnished, "We didn't have money for accessories, but the community really came through for us," said Karen Bailey of the Kentucky River Foothills Community Action Partnership, the facility's managing agency.
The donors spent most of Saturday making up beds, setting up decorations and stocking supplies in the rooms they had "adopted."
"Our clients will be encouraged to know that their rooms were sponsored by supportive members of the community," Allison said. "As they travel the often difficult road to recovery, they will know that people in this community cared enough about them to decorate and supply their rooms and want them to succeed."
Karen Steinhauser took a special interest in the room that the Victory World Outreach Center adopted.
"More than 20 years ago, before I became a Christian, I went through a drug addition recovery program," she said.
She led nine other members of her church's Room to Bloom ministry which specializes in preparing rooms.
"Last week we fixed up a 12-year-old girl's bedroom," Steinhauser said. "We'll be fixing up bedrooms in Richmond public housing facilities in the near future."
Liberty Place is much needed, said Dr. Anthony Smith of Gordon and Salter Chartered, as employees of the obstetrics and gynecology practice worked on a room.
"As we care for young, pregnant women, we see a lot of drug addition," he said.
Smith said he will be providing medical attention to Liberty Place clients.
Liberty Placed is modeled after two successful Kentucky rehab centers, The Healing Place in Louisville and The Hope Center in Lexington. It will serve women from the Sixth Congressional District's 15 counties.
Peer counselors, most of whom have recovered or are recovering from drug addiction, will work with the Liberty Place clients, Allison said.
"Women who have experienced the struggle of recovery can best help others who want to make the same journey," she said.
"Liberty Place is clean and safe environment in which women can complete the steps of our proven recovery program."
In addition to addiction recover, Liberty Place will teach life skills, such as personal money management. Its clients will graduate to education and job training programs. Placement services will help clients find work.
The rehab center is combined effort by the city of Richmond's Section 8 housing program, the Kentucky Housing Corporation, the Governor's Office for Local Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and the Kentucky Department of Corrections.
by Bill Robinson - Register News Writer
Shannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-623-1669, Ext. 234.
Published in The Richmond Register on June 14, 2008
Click here for Kentucky Housing story on Liberty Place Recovery Center ribbon cutting
Click here for story on Liberty Place Recovery Center ground breaking
Click here for story on announcement of plans for Liberty Place Recovery Center
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