Events & News

Steps in a new direction

8/22/2016

The first residents moved into Fleming House in 2002, and the tradition established back then continues today. Last Wednesday, Amy and Courtney completed their initial recovery goals. They graduated from the program at Fleming House in Lisbon, the big yellow house that love built. They are moving on with the lives they have chosen, clean and sober.

Courtney said the memory of what she did in the past keeps her sober. “I don’t want to go back.” Faced with the very real threat of losing her 2-year-old daughter helped to turn her around. “An open case with Children’s Services was involved.” The strong relationship with her grandmother is a staying force for her. And there is her faith in her Higher Power. “I was in Hell. Amazing Grace is my song,” she said. Back then, her outlook was different. She said if you weren’t her drug she didn’t have time for you. Today she is all about her 2-year-old child. “She’s the love of my life.”

Courtney introduced her best friend, Amy, mother of five children, who arrived at Fleming House several months before her, October 2014. Amy spoke of hardships in her life as she was growing up, burying her brother on his fifteenth birthday and trying to understand why God would do so much to one so young. She spoke of the breakup with her children’s father. She said of her addiction, “I was broken. I didn’t care even about my kids.” But she knew the abusive relationships and using needed to stop. “You have to learn to forgive yourself.”

Both women had open cases with Children’s Services. Three of Amy’s children live with a relative. Courtney and Amy desired something better than “just settling” for things. When they heard about Fleming House, they thought they might be on to something, the something that they needed. Both women have earned their GEDs. Both women are bound for college this month, something neither of them had ever dreamed of doing.

There are rules that each woman must accept to live there. Courtney and Amy said Fleming House isn’t for everyone. One of the rules of Fleming House is that you can’t date for the first year you are there.

“You need time for yourself,” Courtney said. “You need to take time to love you.”

“We need to get to know who we are,” Amy said. “We don’t have to just settle for something.”

Both women admit that their Higher Power is the reason they are here to talk about what they have lived through and how they are making better choices, planning for a better life for themselves and their children. Both women have stronger sense of confidence now, knowing they will be in recovery for the rest of their lives and determined never to go back.

“If you don’t want to be clean and sober, if you don’t want to work on yourself ,” Amy said, Fleming House probably isn’t for you. “Everything is different but it becomes easier. You have to be willing to change.” Amy and Courtney have welcomed the positive changes in their lives.

Courtney’s grandmother, attending the graduation, said that several stays in 90-day rehab had failed her granddaughter. Fleming House’s long term program gave her time to work her way through things so her life skills are much improved and will give her a better chance in independent living. She hopes that Fleming House’s two-year residency program continues to provide others with the same support and encouragement. There are 10 furnished apartments, a large community room, a multipurpose room with kitchenette, laundry facilities and access to children’s daycare at the Big Yellow House.

Despite a recent loss of federal funding, Family Recovery Center remains committed to providing the safe, affordable, drug-free transitional housing and specialized services for women and children at the Fleming House. For more than a decade, FRC has received grant funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Fleming House operations. However, as HUD continues its trend of moving away from transitional housing in support of more permanent housing options, several organizations, including Family Recovery Center, learned in May that their grants would not be renewed.

“HUD supports a ‘Housing First’ principle, which seeks to eliminate barriers to housing,” said Eloise Traina, executive director of FRC. “In order to meet these standards, we would have to make big changes to the way we do things at Fleming House, and that really isn’t in the best interest of our residents.”

Currently, participation in treatment services, continued abstinence and drug screens to monitor compliance are requirements for staying at Fleming House, but under the Housing First model, violations of these requirements would not be grounds for eviction. FRC has been able to offset the loss by redistributing existing funding, including money received from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for women’s treatment, and is exploring other funding options.

“Don’t give up!” Courtney urges with passion. When the opportunity comes, take hold of it and keep going, she said. The two friends will begin working on bachelor degrees in human development and family studies in a couple of weeks. They are excited and nervous at the same time. But they have worked hard to get here. They have faced challenges, met goals, and become more confident in themselves. They are ready for this.

For more information about transitional housing for women in recovery and their children at Fleming House, contact Fleming House, 7300 Rose Drive, Lisbon; phone 330-420-3760. Fleming House is a program of Family Recovery Center and is funded by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addictions Services, Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, Columbiana County Department of Jobs and Family Services, fundraisers and donations.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues. For more information contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org.


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