By Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living
In late October, 60 Minutes took a close look at the notorious Pelican Bay penitentiary system to see how it’s evolving from “Lock ‘em up” to “Fix ‘em up.” When interviewer Oprah Winfrey asked the head of the California Prison system why we invest so much money in rehabilitating prisoners, his answer was illuminating: “Ninety percent of them will be returning to the communities. Would you want a guy who comes out who has an AA degree, has addressed his substance abuse problem, has done domestic violence classes.... What would you want as a taxpayer and a citizen of the state?”
The same question could be asked about people who are recovering from their drug or alcohol abuse. Don’t we want them to be healthy, contributing members of our world? Don’t we want them to return to work or school, to learn how to manage their anger, to hold onto their jobs, marriages and families? That’s why recovery housing is so important. And you can hear from our very own residents how recovery housing works in this KCRA-3 interview.
When people live in a community of recovery, they have role models who show them how to navigate life’s ups and downs without drugs or alcohol. They forge sober connections with friends who help them find employment. In short, recovery housing offers a strong support system so people become healthy and contribute to the community rather than consume costly county services for survival – or incarceration. And by the way, Clean & Sober Transitional Living has never cost taxpayers one single dime while getting over 6500 people back on their feet. So recovery housing that supports sustained sobriety makes sense economically from every angle.
Yet in 2015, only 11 percent of people who needed addiction treatment received it. And even fewer of them made their way into recovery housing, even though that can be the key to sustained recovery. Why is that?
- We know stigma keeps people from seeking the care they need. We know that even the language we use when we talk about substance abuse may open the door to bias, punitive attitudes and reduced quality of care.
- We know that recovery housing is an unknown to many people. Clean & Sober Transitional Living has been in the Fair Oaks community since 1989; still, I often hear, “Oh, the big house at the corner of Hazel and Madison?? So that’s what sober living looks like!”
- We know that housing costs can be an obstacle to a high-caliber sober living. So we work hard to keep CSTL affordable.
Healthy people are an asset in our community, so please share the word about how we work – and how we get people back to work and back to healthy, productive lives.