BUCKHANNON — The man largely responsible for building up the local Celebrate Recovery community to what it is today, has decided to take a leap of faith and expand his offer of support to a new level for Buckhannon. Doug Spears is also now the founder of the 180 Center, Inc., which is a non-profit Christ-centered ministry.
Spears said with Celebrate Recovery thriving, he found himself wondering ‘What next?’ and didn’t want to just sit on his heels. “I was praying about it and God gave me a vision of the 180 Center; much more than just this house. There’s no limit with God,” Spears stated.
As 180 Center’s first project, Spears just obtained the keys to a North Florida Street home that he will be renting to own on a land contract and opening July 1 as a faith-based sober living home for men.
The transitional living home can comfortably accommodate eight men when it opens and still has room to expand in the future. The first floor will have an office for the house director and features two giant living rooms and a half bathroom that will be common areas for the residents. Fully equipped kitchen, dining and laundry areas will also be shared space.
The large house has three spacious bedrooms and two full bathrooms upstairs. A combination of twin and bunk beds will allow up to three men per bedroom. There is also a full attic that may be finished and utilized for more living quarters once the house is owned free and clear, according to Spears.
Spears envisions this transitional living home as just the start of something that will be far bigger down the road. He hopes to expand 180 Center, Inc. to eventually include a similar place for women, as well as other ministries to help those in need. By end of summer, Spears hopes to open another similar home in Salem. He stated, “This is a ministry that I’ve left in the bylaws that it can go far beyond just housing to include things like daycare and recovery centers. This is just the beginning.”
There will be a screening process and nobody with a history of violent or sexual crimes will be accepted. “This is a house with rules,” Spears said. Only house residents will be permitted upstairs. The house will have zero tolerance for drugs or violence. “They are going to be required to work, that’s adulting.” He added, “We want to teach guys to survive on their own and work is a part of that.”
“The people living here will be sober and working. A lot of local employers don’t have people because no one can pass a drug test, they won’t show up,” Spears stated. “This will benefit the people of Buckhannon and beyond.” The house will be drug tested weekly and a second random testing will be added to ensure compliance with their sobriety contract.
Spears explained that while the 180 Center, Inc. has applied for 501c3 status and been approved, it’s a six to eight month process, so they cannot seek any federal grant funding until finalized. Until then, the transitional living home will be solely funded through generous donations and the rent that residents will be required to pay. Rent will be $400 per month with a $200 security deposit, which Spears said is cheaper than other similar area programs.
There will be food in the home and Spears plans to work closely with the Mountaineer Food Bank and Salvation Army food pantry. He would even like to have each man take turns preparing a meal for the house once it is in operation.
“There’s enough concerned people in the community that want to help,” Spears noted.
He said several local churches are on board, along with many businesses and individuals throughout the county. He also plans to form ongoing partnerships with a few local companies that should guarantee job availability for the house members.
Spears is even thinking forward towards eventually opening a business like a mechanic shop or some- thing of that nature, to give the residents a safe and supported opportunity for employment.
Nobody will be taken straight off the street or without having already received detox or inpatient treatment. “They come from a very structured environment where every minute of the day is accounted for, but then they are cut loose and this offers a good transition to complete freedom,” Spears explained.
“My goal is to get these men to where they can live on their own and be productive members of society within 14 months,” he said. They will be required to get a sponsor, attend church, Celebrate Recovery and any other outpatient treatment they may need. Spears stated, “We want to program them so that when they leave here, they will still have an accountability team and will hopefully build a pattern of living that is healthy.”
Spears said, “I’m trying to meet the demand. It is there. I believe there is such a need for this that within three months I will be turning people away. We’re gonna follow the law here. I want to make the community better. My goal is that by this time next year, the community wants me to open a women’s home.”
“We want to teach people how to live. How to live life on life’s terms without a controlled substance. They don’t have to believe like I do when they come in here, but I sure hope do by the time they leave. I want to see people saved, sober and successful. We want people to have success at whatever they do and be able to take care of themselves and their family,” Spears emphasized.
He really doesn’t seem concerned with how the project will be financed. Spears said, “God told me if it’s his will, it’s his bill.” Donations are needed to help get the 180 Center open as soon as possible. Dorm style minimalist living will be key, but all the basics are needed before the house can open. If you have furniture, household items or a monetary donation that you would like to contribute, please contact Doug Spears at 304-619-7537.