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Chaz and Jerry | Welcome to Iron House

The Bumpy Road to Recovery

Chaz and Jerry came through the doors of Guiding Light over five months ago asking for help. Burning bridges with family and friends and allowing addiction to drugs and alcohol to run roughshod over their lives for years, they decided to try something different. Coming to Guiding Light was a culture shock for sure. “They don’t lock us in here. We have to be willing to give up our way of living,” Chaz recalls. “We are dedicated to living our lives differently. I can walk out that door whenever I want. So, to stay here is a very difficult thing to do. And it is really just letting go of my will and the thinking that I can do this on my own. That has to go.” Letting go of the concept of “going it alone” is one of the biggest mental hurdles a Recovery client has to jump over. Giving in to, and embracing, the love and interconnectedness of a community of like-minded peers is one of the most important aspects of the Guiding Light Recovery program. It is why we highly, highly encourage men to stay here, graduate the four-month program, find work, and move to Iron House.

Moving to Iron House

This January Chaz and Jerry did just that; moving in to their own two-bedroom apartment together at Iron House. Guiding Light staff, clients, and supporters were there to meet them. “Moving to Iron House is a big decision,” Brian Elve said, addressing the crowd. “It’s tangible, it’s real, it’s a deliberate action signifying that you are choosing to live life in a different way. Chaz and Jerry…this is your home.” Chaz and Jerry were handed the keys to their apartment, but not before a few words from their life coaches Mike Ryan and Jacob Passerman. A tradition of the Guiding Light Recovery program is for life coaches to give their clients a word that embodies their essence, and a bracelet for them to remember it by. “The word I chose for Chaz is spark, because if you know him you know he embodies excitement and liveliness,” Mike said. “You’ve changed physically and mentally, I know how important being a father to those kids of yours is to you. I think back to those early days when you came in and I gotta say I think I got more out of those sessions working with you than you did. I’m beside myself happy for you.” There is a saying in the recovery community that the value of one addict helping another is without parallel. Guiding Light has four life coaches on staff that work with the men through their four-month stay in the Recovery program. Not only are all our coaches in recovery themselves, they are also all former Guiding Light clients. “The word I chose for you is courage,” Jacob said to Jerry. “When I think of you I think of bravery, passion, vulnerability, and courage. Jerry coined a term around Guiding light you may have heard, he is a fan of receiving and giving “no sugar-coated bullsh*t,” and I think that sums up a lot of what you have given me through our time together. Like Mike said, I don’t know who got more out of our sessions you or me. I’m so happy to see you’ve made it here and I am so grateful our paths crossed.”

The Final Step

Iron House is the final step in the Guiding Light Recovery program, and a step that many clients consider to be the most important. At Iron House, men are given a dignified, accountable, supportive environment and community within which they can start their new life in sobriety. More than just a roof over their heads, men like Chaz and Jerry afforded a brotherhood within which they can grow and continue on their path, striving to be the best, God-given versions of themselves. It is because of YOU that these men are given the opportunity to start a new life, and have a realistic opportunity and chance to achieve long-lasting and meaningful sobriety.


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