Oriana House, recovering addicts look to their future

Photo by Janelle Patterson Inside the former Woman’s Home, Tina Clark explains her struggles with addiction and how she sustains her recovery by taking life day by day. Clark is approaching 13 years sober and now works as a recovery coach for Oriana House. Oriana House has a pending offer in to purchase the Woman’s Home.

MARIETTA — Treating addiction is more than just removing the substance of abuse.

It’s replacing the behaviors of substance abuse with positive structures while healing from past traumas and relearning how to function sober.

That structure is what Oriana House Inc. says it has put that structure into place not only in its correctional halfway house in Reno, but in its facilities in northern Ohio. Officials say it what they plan to institute in the community residential treatment facility intended for 812 Third St. in Marietta, the location of the former Woman’s Home.

That structure is a major shift for those in recovery.

Washington County Drug Court participant Joshua Martin, 38, said this week that functioning sober is terrifying as he hit 70 days clean from methamphetamine.

Photo by Janelle Patterson One of the bedrooms in the former Woman’s Home on Third Street in Marietta has been converted into a group counseling room as preparations continue for the facility to house addicts seeking voluntary residential treatment.

“I used to start my days getting high and end my day before I went to sleep getting high,” he explained. “Now my days begin with getting up at 7 a.m., cleaning my bunk, having breakfast and having to show up for my classes and meetings.”

Recovery Coach Tina Clark said Thursday that even approaching 13 years sober, she has a structured routine she has to follow each day to reiterate her sobriety after active addiction between the ages of 12 and 39.

“I had to learn how to brush my teeth again, how to clean my room sober and that was overwhelming. I could do it drunk but couldn’t remember a time doing either of those sober,” she explained. “When I was first building that life back I had to give myself notecards to go step-by-step how I get ready in the morning — put on socks first, then underpants, then pants.”

Jerred Bulstrom, 36, of Athens County, still holds onto the structures he learned in intensive treatment while in prison as he approaches a year of sobriety on the 16th of next month — the first time he has maintained sobriety since he was 14 years old.

“Listening and checking in during group (counseling) helps me the most,” he explained. “We do our check-in and we ask everyone how their week went, any stressors they came up against and any risky situations they were in. We ask if they relapsed and check in with each other’s case plans for not only why they relapsed but what they and I can do better next time.”

It’s a debrief of sorts that he still finds useful as he moves into preparing for classes at Hocking College this fall, and his new job in Marietta.

Kenneth Linscott, 28, of Hocking County, said what keeps him motivated day by day is the rebuilding of a relationship with his 15-year-old daughter as he continues the work of recovery he’s fought for the last 18 months.

“She’s pretty much the highlight of my day…When I first started out on this she told me she knew what I was doing when I was using,” recalled Linscott. “She told me it was her or the drugs…She reminds me every day that if I fall back into it I have a choice to make.”

Martin, Bulstrom and Linscott are all residents of the Reno facility.

Clark is a recovery coach and administrator of a sober living facility in Akron.

Both facilities are owned by Oriana House.

They’re similar in structure and services to what Oriana intends for the Third Street location in Marietta, explained Clinical Manager Christa Holman and Clinical Coordinator Candace Jeffers during a walk-through of the facility Thursday — the main difference resting in who would be treated at the Third Street site.

“Clients coming here are choosing to go into treatment, they’ll not be court-ordered to be here,” explained Holman. “And can they leave? Absolutely, we cannot — by fire codes — lock them in. But we do have measures in place for both the neighborhood’s and the client’s protection.”

She said those measures include:

* 24-hour external camera surveillance of the property.

* 24-hour internal camera surveillance of the first floor and all exits.

* 24-hour staffing by state-certified residential treatment assistants assigned to the separated men’s and women’s floors.

* Firm policies for removal with law enforcement if/when a resident brings into the facility drug paraphernalia and/or weaponry.

* Planned privacy fencing and additional parking on the property, pending future Marietta Planning Commission approval.

But the most impactful protection, said Jeffers, is the structure of the days for residents of the facility.

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A DAY IN TREATMENT

“From the moment our clients get up at 7 a.m., to lights out at 11 p.m. their days are structured,” explained Jeffers.

Jeffers’ role would be oversight of the Third Street facility.

She’s building with Oriana House leadership the finalized schedule of treatment and sober activities.

“Men and women will pretty much always be separated unless a community service activity or other group meeting is in place with the supervision of staff,” explained Holman.

The morning routine is outlined after waking up with separate breakfast and shower times, then morning guided meditation.

“Then depending on the day we’ll alternate between exercise from 9:30 to 10:30 and some other staff-led activity whether it’s painting or music therapy or community service,” explained Jeffers.

She said staff-led activities and integration into society with job search services and, later on in treatment, finding housing will follow that morning activity block.

Then between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., separated lunch between the men and women and family call time would occur.

“Then all of our clinical programming occurs on-site in the afternoons,” she said. “That can be group, specified counseling one-on-one, that’s every day Monday through Friday between 1 and 3 p.m.”

Clinical time is followed by opportunities to smoke, then another round of meditation until 4:30 p.m.

Another staff-led activity would then occur, Jeffers described, on the grounds of the facility.

“That could look like gardening, or yoga,” she said.

Then dinner would take place, again separated by gender, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., alternating use of the dining room still in place from the Woman’s Home setup, with evening phone calls for the group not eating.

“Each meal is followed by cleanup time,” explained Jeffers. “Residents will be retaught what they need to know for hygienic and home care skills but they will be required to keep the facility clean.”

The same requirement occurs at other Oriana facilities, as noted by both Martin and Linscott this week.

Then from 7 to 8 p.m. fun activities will be facilitated by staff, Jeffers said.

“That could be board games, or watching a movie together, or painting, but it would be decided by the groups,” she continued.

From 8 to 9 p.m. guided evening reflections over the day would take place, with journaling and discussions, followed in the next hour by cleanup of common areas, a half hour of quiet time and lights out at 11 p.m.

“Weekend routines are a little more lax but still structured,” said Jeffers. “Breakfast to lunch is still in the same block but between that is a more deep facility clean on Saturdays and supervised religious services available on Sundays.”

Then the afternoons on the weekends would include structured and supervised visitation time with family followed by post-visitation guided reflections with staff.

Evenings on both weekend nights would again follow the block scheduling of the week, with opportunities for supervised excursions, game nights and community service before winding down again with reflection time and lights out, she said.

Holman explained that at the onset of treatment at the facility no medications would be administered by staff.

“And we’ll be strict with what can be self-administered, per prescriptions by clients’ doctors,” she explained. “Detox is not initially going to occur here (as it currently does in a separate detox facility in Akron visited last month by Councilman Geoff Schenkel, St. Mary School Parent Bret Frye, Marietta Main Street President Sarah Arnold and Jackson Patterson, a former Marietta felon and addict in recovery). We want to be able to do that but we’re not currently staffed with the medical requirements to make that happen yet.”

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POST-RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT

Jackson Patterson said when he visited a similar Oriana House facility in Akron last month the structure and positive messaging on walls surrounding those in treatment stood out to him.

“Leisure time was where I got into trouble in my active addiction,” Patterson recalled. “But at that facility, they’re never letting up, they’re filling that (schedule) with every tool to create a plan when you’re out and have leisure time.”

That consistency and structure, Patterson and Clark said, are what keeps them sober each day.

“We all have our things we have to do to keep our sobriety,” Clark said.

Patterson said he has to set time aside each day for service, for reflection and for building the next day’s plan.

“In order to beat the addiction that day, for men I have to fill it with things to do,” he explained. “You have to break it down into intervals and part of winding down is creating the plan for the next morning.”

And the starting each anew, Clark said, is key.

“I wake up untreated every day,” she explained. “I have not arrived anywhere –13 years of sobriety and I’m still on my journey.”

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