Choices Recovery continues to fight for sober living facility

NOW: Choices Recovery continues to fight for sober living facility


Staff at Choices Recovery is working to continue to pave the way to sober living for those struggling with addiction even after the South Bend Common Council voted against a zoning change for a building they planned to use for a sober living facility.

“My phone has not stopped ringing all day long with people full of encouraging words,” said Alicia Brown, the outreach coordinator for Choices.

Brown says today has brought renewed interest from the community, and a renewed purpose for the staff at Choices, adding that the common council shooting down the zoning change was just a fork in the road.  

“I realize that we still won,” she said. “We still won because we’re bringing awareness of addiction. More people are talking about it and talking about the needs of a facility of this magnitude.”

Brown hoped the new location at 2610 E Jefferson could be that sober living facility, which she says would extend the recovery opportunities for people struggling with addiction.

“It’s a great way for people to be around like minded individuals,” said Brown. “They’re wanting recovery. They’re craving recovery.”

“It’s really vital to have a good support network and people who are going through the same things as you,” said Chris Santiago, a behavior interventionist at Choices.

But before Santiago worked at the treatment center, he was a patient there. He moved to South Bend to seek recovery, and says long-term help is needed.

“This is a good thing. You’ve got people who are there to better their lives,” he said. “As an addict, we’ve learned how to live life one way, that’s while using. Once you return home sober, everything’s new.”

And that’s when relapse can happen, which is what a facility like this would work to change.  

“What the sober living is, is an actual transition facility for the person who maybe isn’t ready to go home yet. They still want to go to some extra classes or work with their therapist. Maybe their home is not a safe environment,” said Brown. “The center, what it brings to our community, is actually more people in recovery. You’re having more jobs in the community at that point you’re having more talent brought back into the community instead of going elsewhere.”

Even though the Jefferson location was voted down, Brown says she’s already looking at various other locations in the city of South Bend.

“What has been great is we’ve had local property owners call us and offer up some of their places for us to look at,” she said. “So that’s been really exciting for us today.”

To those who voted against the zoning change, Brown had this to say, “My message would be thank you. Because in turn you have caused the community to rally around us in ways we never could have imagined.”

Brown says she looks forward to announce a new proposed location for a sober living facility.

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