When a client is accepted into Guiding Light Recovery, they are first required to go through the “Foundations” phase of the program. During this time clients are not allowed to work, and must go through an intensive series of therapy sessions, spiritual direction, life coaching, and cognitive behavioral classes. We do this because we believe men recovering from addiction need time to reset and learn who they truly are deep down. When a man is troubled by the day to day troubles and stresses of work, bills, and finding their next meal, there is little time to work on their recovery. After all, those are not the reasons clients come through our doors; they come here to get sober.
However, after four months has passed, we gradually begin to reintegrate men back into real life, and require them to start searching for work. Men are given time to find good jobs through Goodwill’s Achieve program, and upon employment are allowed to stay at our facility rent-free until they save up enough money to move to Iron House, our sober living apartments in Kentwood. Men who choose to go to Iron House typically will have spent 7-9 months in the Recovery program by the time they move out there. At Iron House, 78% of men that move there will achieve a year of sobriety or longer, and will come to realize that life in recovery can be dignified, fulfilling, and worth it.
At Guiding Light, we invest in individuals over the long-term. We believe in giving men the tools to build their self-confidence and the means to build a life for themselves that is worth staying sober for. We believe this is what sets us apart from other substance abuse treatment programs. We do not allow our clients to remain stagnant, even after they have moved out of our downtown facility, and it shows. Men typically stay at Iron House for 1-2 years, and, on average, will be making $4-$5 more per hour by the time they leave. We believe in, as Jesus once said, teaching a man to fish, rather than giving him a handout. At Guiding Light we teach men to have the confidence in themselves to know their worth, to step out of their comfort zone, to put themselves out there and prove their value as member of society.
Our philosophy of gradually re-integrating men back into “life on the outside” over a period of months and years-not 30 days-is a core principle behind our success. Simply put, the Guiding Light Recovery program is a solution that works. The fact that it is offered to men at no financial cost to them is a remarkable net-positive for our community. Although it costs roughly $300 a day to house, feed, and teach Recovery clients, the only cost to them is their honesty, open-mindedness, and sincere willingness to better themselves. This is only possible because of the generous community of support that surrounds us. It is from donors, advocates, and volunteers…people like you, that make this all possible.