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Six Men Move to Iron House

On August 26th 2022, six men of the Guiding Light Recovery program took the next step in their journey and moved out of what has been their home for the past 5-6 months, our facility located in the Heartside neighborhood of downtown Grand Rapids.

When Jalen, Brett, Mark, Eric, Craig, and Victor were accepted into the Recovery program, most will tell you their plan was not to spend an extended period of time under the Guiding Light umbrella. Many men, when they first come through our doors, believe that there is an “old life” that they have to race back to. They often do not realize the gift they are being given, which is the opportunity to put their lives on hold and put all their time and energy into fixing the seemingly intractable problem of their crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol. As a few months go by, however, clients often report that their heads become clearer, and they begin to realize there isn’t much of a life worth going back to. They come to see that the solution to getting addiction under control is a long-term one, on the timeline of years not months. These men spent four months devoting all of their mind, body, and spirit to their sobriety. They have laid a solid foundation upon which to build a new life, and the opportunity to move to Iron House is another proven step to help them make that happen. Why wouldn’t they take advantage of it?

The Guiding Light Recovery program is broken up into steps for a reason. We believe in taking a man at his rock bottom, giving him the space to get better, and gradually reintroducing him into the real world again. These six men began their journey in what we call the Foundations phase of our program. Foundations is four months of intensive treatment where clients see therapists, spiritual directors, personal trainers, life coaches, and attend support groups and cognitive behavioral therapy. They are also not permitted to be employed at this time and instead dedicate everything to figuring out who they are at the very core, why they have the compulsion to use drugs and alcohol, and how to live a fulfilling spiritually fit life without it. After Foundations they are enrolled into Goodwill’s Achieve program and go through two weeks of intensive career training, resume building, interview techniques, and professional development. After this they can begin the search for potential employers and begin interviewing for jobs. The next step is Iron House, our sober living apartments in Kentwood. At Iron House clients are given their own two-bedroom apartments that they share with a roommate for $480 a month. You will often find that sober-living options offered to men often consist of several clients crammed into a house, with 2-3 per bedroom, and little to no accountability. Iron House offers a dignified, safe, affordable and proven way for our clients to move into the next chapter of their lives. It is reserved exclusively for men that came through Guiding Light programming and is a place for these six newly sober men 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 learn how to live a normal and fulfilling life in sobriety.

When it comes to achieving long-term sobriety, Jalen, Craig, Marc, Victor, Brett, and Eric are doing everything right and following in the footsteps of countless other success stories that have come before him. 81% of men that come through Guiding Light Recovery, find employment, and move to Iron House, will stay sober over a year. These statistics are remarkable when contrasted with 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 accomplish this. [i] Guiding Light Recovery really does work, and the numbers show it. The only cost for men to be a part of this program 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 to make our community a better place, one man at a time. Thank you for helping these men to become the best version of themselves.

[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 review, 31(6), 585–612.


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