By Summer Shine
Most people are affected by alcoholism or addiction in one way or another, whether it’s their own struggle, or a family member or a friend. The disease of addiction and alcoholism has infiltrated our everyday lives. It’s become so prevalent that the CDC proclaimed the opioid crisis in northern states is becoming a national crisis. According to a recent study by the Surgeon General’s office, 1 in 7 Americans suffer from drug or alcohol addiction. Many are touched, but few know what help there is for people who have this disease.
When I decided to get sober in 2013 I, fortunately, had previous experience with recovery and family and friends who were still willing to help. Not all who are afflicted are as lucky as I was. Many find themselves without resources or on long waitlist to get into any sort of treatment facility. Another challenge is that after a short term stay, typically 30-60 days, clients in recovery are expected to figure out a new lifestyle, housing and a recovery plan, with very little assistance. This becomes a major turning point for many people who are seeking long term recovery. What are they to do? Where are they to go? Who is their new support system? These can be stressful and confusing times.
Sober living communities are popping up all over the country as solution to this problem. These homes offer safe, affordable housing in an environment where a recovery lifestyle is commonplace, and mistakes are used as learning tools. Most Sober Living Houses (SLH) require participation in 12-step recovery programs, have straight forward house rules and adhere to probation requirements.
Another study by National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that people in recovery who live in short-term housing for 6-9 months after treatment have a 70% better chance of staying sober for 2 or more years than people who go straight back into old environments.
In 2015 when Sunshine Recovery House opened its doors, there were 5 sober living houses for men in the Waco area and none for women. Historically women are underserved both in addiction recovery and in mental health services. Being a woman in recovery and having many close female friends who are both in recovery and have mental illness, I found the lack of resources disturbing and appalling.
Not being one to take the sidelines when there is a problem to be solved, I addressed the issue and opened a sober living house here in Waco for women! We currently rent 2 small houses close to the old Hillcrest. We have nine beds and are usually full with a waitlist. We recently formed as a nonprofit organization and are raising money to purchase one large house close to downtown that will house 12-14 women and host a live-in house manager.
Waco has been an amazing advocate for Sunshine Recovery House! We’ve seen people come out of the woodworks (figuratively and literally) to show us support and help us expedite the process. It’s been both heartwarming and awe inspiring to see the amount of love people have shown us. More importantly we have been privy to seeing the lives of women in this community radically changed. We’ve seen miracles happen and that is the real game-changer. Women get their kids back, pay off debt, find wonderful careers, go to school, finish probation or clear CPS cases. THESE ladies are the reason we fight through the hard times, and trust me, there are hard times.
I am lucky. I’m lucky to have women in my life who are fighting the same fight I am, who show up to support me and who make the simple, yet hard decision to allow God to change them completely. I’ve learned along the way that I can only keep what I’ve been given, freedom from active addiction, by giving it away.
If you, or someone you love is suffering from addiction or alcoholism, know that there is help. There are 2 treatment facilities in the Central Texas area and a whole host of them in DFW and Austin. More sober living houses are being opened and often I am seeing young people get sober before they have had to suffer some of the same consequences that many have. It’s hopeful and magical and God induced. Some may say it’s a lofty goal to want to eradicate addiction and alcoholism all together, but why not try?
Join us March 23rd for a night of laughter, music, food, fun and friends. Comedian Shayne Smith is unapologetically goofy and recants his experiences through hilarious rants about life as a real gangsta….er, geek! Hear some sick beats laid down by Waco’s own Ryan Thomas as he takes us on a lyrical journey through interpretive spoken word, also known as rap. Enjoy a delicious meal provided by Waco’s #1 food truck Club Sandwich and signature mocktail beverages provided by Luna Juice Bar. Not to mention the savage live auction items up for grabs. Trust us, you won’t want to miss this night! If you’d like to mail a check for sponsorship or tables please mail to: Sunshine Recovery House 1516 Austin Ave Suite 3 Waco, TX 76701 Rollin’ 4 Recovery
- March 23 – 7 PM
- Brazos Event Center, 520 Elm Ave.
- General admission $50 – $70. VIP and Table Sponsor opportunities available. Click here for Tickets: Rollin 4 Recovery.
Summer Shine is Owner / Operator / General Juice Slinger at Luna Juice Bar and a Hip Hop Dancer at God’s Great Kingdom.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.