The house continues to evolve, and its obvious to me, now that it is summer, that the house also evolves with the seasons. People move out, people are more active, and with this activity the struggle continues for some and the progress forward is much more pronounced for others. It is a time of social bonding, however, so much more of it is external rather than within the house among the men. There is no sound more gratifying and welcoming for a house manager than the sound of silence; an empty house in the evening of a summer’s Friday night. Months spent in lockup from the cold of the winter months have given way to the necessity of release and the onslaught of the warm reviving sun.
Confidence has been born from the repetitive rituals and experiences this job and this house can bring. Conversely, there has been no shortage of new experiences that simply shock and bewilder the mind. While I never enjoy removing someone who, has again, succumb to the throws of addiction, it is the fundamental principles by which living a sober lifestyle were found that keeps my obligation to the cause and purpose of this house on the forefront of my responsibilities. I’ve said it before, my aim is to ensure the integrity of this house and safety of the guys within it. And while the twists and turns are many, the normal reasons for removing guys is no longer a challenge, but necessary. However, I have begun and will continue to remove gentlemen whom are malignancies impeding the growth of this house and the guys within it as well.
I have come to find that one of my main functions and struggles mind you, is maintaining a high status of morale in the house, and all it can take is one guy to destroy what has taken months to create. Removing someone for reasons other than using has gained some traction as we continue to develop our street-cred. I doubt I will ever get used to removing a good-hearted person from the house because he is devastating the overall attitude. This isn’t to say myself and the guys within the house haven’t tried to remedy the situation; but in these instances it is to no avail after multiple attempts. On the flip-side of that coin, the house continues to do well and notable rehab facilities across the region are taking notice to what others are saying. While accepting any new guy into the house is a roll of the dice, we do try to vet each potential resident as to judge his commitment to sobriety and his character before admittance is cleared. No one can prevent all things, and anyone under the influence of drugs is unpredictable.
Even with this strategic approach, I have had a hard time getting our program manager on-board with the idea of admitting no one unless we meet them first. Our program manager does not run a program as the title declares; he simply fills beds, and that’s what he is paid to do. His motivation is money, my motivation is morale. I live among these men, thus he bears no first hand knowledge of the adverse effects a single person can create. As a leader it is one of my responsibilities to cultivate an environment where I can get the best from my guys. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but I always play to win.
After some reflection, I have come to realize that every sober house is teetering on the edge of being a great house, and being a terrible house. We are currently a noteworthy house among the sober community because we’ve cultivated an environment that puts the house as a whole before the individual. This is not a care facility, but a fraternity of men that want to change their lives. As a house, we are strong and sturdy; and when welcoming an individual, we welcome them into a home.