BUCKHANNON – Addiction and recovery are two words that as a society we hear on almost a daily basis. A new center that will be taking a new approach has finally opened its doors in Buckhannon. The 180 Center opened the first recovery house, the Lazarus House, on July 1.
Outreach and Recovery (OR) Pastor, Doug Spears chose the name for the house. He stated, “When a person is living in addiction they are dead but they are given life through Christ, and that is where the name came from.” In the Bible, Lazarus was raised from the dead by the healing touch of Jesus Christ and the Lazarus house promotes the principles of Christ through the faith based program.
Spears explained the screening process. The house is not a detox or a rehabilitation facility. He is looking for men who have already been detoxed and hopefully through a minimum of 28 day program but that is not mandatory. Spears is also working with the Upshur County Drug Court to take applications. Spears stated, “Realistically by August I will be 75% full.” Spears will have cameras installed in the common areas of the house to ensure accountability.
Spears can drug test at any time but everyone will get tested one time per week and every Thursday, half of the house will be chosen for drug screening. As progress is made and no incidents occur he will step back drug testing to suspicion only.
There is also a curfew at the house. Sunday night through Thursday night is 10 p.m. unless there is a work situation that inhibits that curfew with Spears will verify with the employer. Friday and Saturday, the curfew is 11 p.m.
The men are allowed visitors at the home but there will be no women permitted at the home unless it is a mother, child, sister, wife or even a live-in girlfriend that the man had a child with. Everyone must be sober when they have a visit. Spears stated, “There are no new relationships formed while here at the house, it typically takes a year to give up those hurts, habits and hang-ups that were formed in active addiction.”
Application screening is not just looking at a piece of paper, he will interview family members, the potential client or anyone else involved in the case. The person has to really want to live a new life and make a change, as well as follow the rules, pay the rent. During the interview, Spears commented, “There are guidelines, I will work with anybody if they can follow the rules, pay the rent, go to church, Celebrate Recovery and additional meetings through the week.”
Spears believes that joy in life and recovery comes from Jesus, he stated, “Who wants to be sober and miserable, as an addict you’re already coming out of a miserable existence.” Spears reported that he typically tells people that what you have been doing has not worked and if they will give it a chance they can experience the change that is visible in so many other people. Spears said, “If they give God a chance, He always shows up.”
Church, five meetings a week, and work is not an option at the Lazarus House. Even if a client comes to the house and is on disability, they must work, meaning volunteer work, work around the house, anything productive. The stay at the house is a minimum of six months when they sign the lease. Men are transitioning in to the house and during their stay they are working on transitioning out back in to life as a productive member of society.
Men may transition from jail, prison, detox, or rehab facility. They work on GED, opening bank accounts, paying child support, increasing credit scores, saving money and many more initiatives. Spears said, “They are going to learn to do things the right way and hopefully develop a pattern of living that they can continue once they get their own place.” Honesty is the core of the house rules. Drugs and violence are the no tolerance regulations of the Lazarus house. Spears stated, “I have grace for about everything else but drugs and violence I will have no tolerance for.”
There is a Board of Directors for the 180 Center. There are several people from the community in different professional areas. Spears is the Executive Director of the board. Spears has a very big vision for the 180 Center and is hopeful to have a women’s home opened some time next year.