BUCKHANNON — To help combat the drug epidemic plaguing our nation, local non-profit the 180 Center, Inc. has opened their second sober living home. The Damascus House opened within eight months of their first home opening, the Lazarus House. These are Christ-centered, sober living homes, Spears explained. The Damascus House has been underway since December. “These houses are designed to find a pattern of living to bring success, not just sobriety. If they need a GED, help getting a job, license, we help them get it…it is about being a responsible adult,” Spears explained.
There are currently five members in the Lazarus House and five at the Damascus House. Each house has a capacity of eight. The men in these homes must be looking for a life change, not just waiting to get high, explained Spears. Because it is faith based, the guys are required to go to church, and they are aware of this prior to signing up.
Monday through Thursday, they try to work on their recovery, Friday and Saturday they have time off, and Sunday is the Lord’s day, Spears stated. Members of the house sign a lease for six months and although there’s no maximum number, the ideal timeframe is 6-14 months. Each member of the house is required to pay a reasonable amount of money for rent to stay in the house, “because that is part of being an adult and being responsible,” he explained.
“I am excited that there is going to be more people in recovery and not in addiction – we are helping people here,” Spears expressed. “We have to do something, we’ve sat around and not done anything and this where we are,” Spears emphasized.
Spears himself has been in recovery for almost 10 years – “Saved and sober,” he expressed. The Lazarus House was started after Spears initiated a Celebrate Recovery group that had grown to approximately 130 people and in January of 2019, and in July, he had a thought that become reality. Spears hopes to have a women’s house open by this time next year. This is all made possible through God, Spears explained. “There is such a need for safe housing, it’s not even funny,” said Spears.
The name “Damascus” was chosen based on Acts 9:1-9, when Saul while on his way to Damascus, was stricken blind by God for a short period of time for persecuting Christians. Saul was eventually made to see again, and his life was changed - this was his turning point.
The ultimate goal for Spears, is to eventually create a Transformation Center. “I could take people right off the street and put in them in a 28-day rehab, and then into the house,” he elaborated. Although that is the main goal that Spears is excited about, “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” he expressed.
Spears would like to thank the community for supporting them and letting them be here. “If you give people a chance, it just might surprise you and this whole thing works under the empowerment of Jesus Christ. Without him, none of this works,” said Spears. Their Board of Directors consists of Kristie Tenney, Adam Burkhammer, Sam Sedowski, Ed McDaniels and leader and Outreach and Recovery Coach, Doug Spears. Spears explained that these homes are privately funded by God and asserted, “He is the best donor you can have.”
The guys come to the house with nothing, so if community members or churches would like to donate to the 180 Center, Inc. ministry, they are always looking for personal hygiene products, paper towels, paper plates, money, etc.