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Iron House: A Long-Term Solution

One of the primary reasons why the Guiding Light Recovery program is so successful is the emphasis we place on long-term healing and rehabilitation. We work with clients not on the timescale of days or weeks but of months and years.

We recognize that the process of picking up the pieces and learning to live a life free from the bonds of addiction cannot happen overnight. It takes longer than 30, 60, or even 90 days for a man struggling with substance abuse issues to get to the psychological, spiritual, and physical roots of his addiction…let alone figure out anything realistic to do about it. This is why we strongly encourage men that come into our program to think of themselves as taking part in a long-term commitment to their sobriety and an entirely different way of being.

This is how it works: men accepted into the Guiding Light Recovery program stay for four months in what is called the Foundations phase of the program. During this time, men are not allowed to work and are required to spend all of their time and energy devoted to getting to the root of their problem. Every day, literally, is filled with appointments with therapists, life coaches, spiritual directors, support groups, exercise, meetings etc. It is at this stage that we seek to replace the chaos of day-in-day-out addiction for our clients with a proactive, extensive, all-encompassing, and healthy routine.

Most men when they first step through our doors, intend on staying for, as one client put it, “four months and one second.” The idea of staying in a substance abuse treatment program for that amount of time seems incredibly daunting at first. However, as a client has time to heal, he begins to realize that a much longer-term solution is needed if he wants to truly deal with his problem. This is why, after Foundations, we encourage our clients to stay, find a job, save up money, and move to Iron House. Iron House consists of six buildings of two-bedroom apartment units and is capable of housing up to 42 people. It is reserved exclusively for clients that came through Guiding Light programming and is a place for these newly sober men recovering from addiction to find stability, a positive environment, and a supportive community of their peers. Since all the men living at Iron House are in recovery themselves, it is relatively easy, or at least easier, to live a normal, independent, and fulfilling life in sobriety.

78% of men who come through Guiding Light Recovery, find employment, and move to Iron House, will achieve long-term sobriety. This is in stark contrast to a 2007 study conducted by the social-research journal, Evaluation Review, showing that only 33% of men who attempt to get sober on their own are able to maintain it for over a year.[i] Unlike most other rehabilitation programs, Guiding Light Recovery really does work, and the numbers show it. It costs roughly $100 a day, per client, to operate our programs. However, the only cost for men to come to Guiding Light is their willingness to change their lives for the better. We are entirely funded by private donations, and for that we are eternally grateful to our generous donors, volunteers, and supporters for helping us on our mission to make our community a better place, one man at a time.

[i] Dennis, M. L., Foss, M. A., & Scott, C. K. (2007). An eight-year perspective on the relationship between the duration of abstinence and other aspects of recovery. Evaluation review31(6), 585–612.


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