Oxford House helps in recovery

Drug addiction or alcoholism can be deceptively easy to fall into. An auto accident or sports injury may require opiate pain pills. After a period of time, the victim cannot live without the pills. When he or she can no longer gain access to the pills, heroin becomes the drug of choice. It is more available and cheaper. Heavy drinking to deal with every-day problems also may lead to alcoholism.

Recovery from addition to drugs or alcohol is a long arduous journey. Although ultimately the addicted person, herself or himself, is the only one that can end this self-destructive habit, it usually takes the support of many others and treatment programs to break the habit.

Ohio acknowledges that proper recovery requires a continuity of treatment from detoxification to a state of self-reliance and stability. Detoxification is not the end of the journey to long-term sobriety, but only the beginning.

In Washington County, the Behavioral Health Board has established, among other programs, a home providing peer support for the recovering addicts or alcoholics to stabilize and regulate themselves after detoxification while continuing outpatient treatment. It is called Oxford House. It is a home that provides social support, self-reliance, and self-respect for recovering individuals who cannot go back to the environment where they were active in their addiction. Perhaps, at their former residence there were other family members or “friends” who are still abusing drugs or alcohol themselves, or they lived in a neighborhood where drug dealers are attempting to cause the individual to relapse.

These recovering individuals need other housing to live in where demands are made on them to take responsibility for themselves. The Oxford House gives these individuals an opportunity for a stable life by providing stability and requiring sobriety. This is how the Behavioral Health Board uses the Oxford House to address this problem for recovering men in Washington County:

Any substance abuse, on or off the premises, means automatic eviction.

Each resident must pay rent, utilities and food costs and other living expenses for the House as a whole.

Each resident must find employment, and they must arrange their own transportation to and from work.

The resident must maintain the premises by doing the housework, meal preparation, and keep the house clean and orderly.

Each resident must participate in maintenance of the House, including doing yard work, mow the grass, pick up litter, etc., and whatever gardening they wish.

The home is run democratically. Each resident has one vote.

They can make any behavioral rules they deem necessary or helpful.

Residents must approve new residents after a written application and an interview. New residents must be approved by 80% of the current residents.

No members of the opposite sex are permitted as residents or houseguests.

Residents may remain as long as they want if they meet their obligations and stay sober.

Oxford House resident meetings are held once a week to, among other matters:

Report on the financial status of the House

Consider new applications

Resolve problems among members of the House

Resolve general complaints about the maintenance and cleaning of the House

Consider proposals or projects to be undertake by the House

One project Oxford Houses frequently undertake is to start another House as demand for such a facility grows. Thus these new Oxford Houses benefit from the knowledge and experience of successful Houses. An Oxford House for women addicts or alcoholics is also needed in Washington County. There are hundreds of Oxford Houses in the United States. They are considered assets to their communities. Our Oxford House will be an asset and a valuable resource to the community and to our neighborhoods.

Anyone who himself may be interested in entering the Washington County Oxford House, or knows someone who might be interested, should contact the Washington County Behavioral Health Board at 740-374-6990.

Anthony Touschner is a member of the Washington County Behavioral Health Board. Behavioral Health Matters appears on the Opinion page on the last Saturday of the month.


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