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Community needs recovery home

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By The Staff

Editor's Note: Due to its size, this column about a planned recovery home on Girl Scout Road will run in two parts, today and in Thursday's edition.

First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Randy Paris. I am currently the president of Recovery Connection Inc. I am also a resident of Perry County, work in Perry County and have served on boards such as the Perry County Substance Abuse Committee and the Troy Township Water Association.

I am currently a member of the zoning and zoning-appeals boards in Perry County. I still live at the same residence where I have lived for 32 years. I have worked hard for the county and the community that I live in. We now have good roads, safe water and a nice neighborhood.

I am employed by the state of Indiana at Branchville Correctional Facility as a substance-abuse counselor. I have been employed there since 1991 and have been a counselor there since 2001. I have been involved in the recovery field for 18 years and can say that many people fear recovery due to not knowing what it is. I would like to offer some facts about recovery.

One little-known fact is that out of every 36 people who are in active addiction, only 4.6 make it to a treatment facility or into a 12-step program for a chance at recovery. These statistics are from the National Substance Abuse Council.

Most will die from a car or other accident, fire or suicide. Out of the 10 people who enter treatment, three or four are successful. Those who do not fail continue their treatment. The process of recovery is the same as any other disease such as diabetes.

If the diabetic does not take their insulin daily, they will relapse back into the diabetic spin cycle. It's the same with recovery. If the addict or alcoholic does not treat their disease daily, they will relapse back into the addictive cycle. This is why these homes are needed.

Statistics indicate that more than 20 million Americans need drug-rehabilitation treatment. However, only a very small percentage, less than 5 percent, ever actually enter treatment.

This is unfortunate because many people fail to get the treatment they need, exacting a high cost of damage on themselves, their families and society in general. This can take the form of crime, lack of productivity, splintered families, or even violence.

Some of the better drug-treatment programs can offer their patients quality behavior modification training that can increase the odds they will avoid relapse on drug or alcohol. However, even if you seek out help, this does not guarantee long-term success as many people will occasionally relapse.

Most drug-rehab centers have a recovery rate of 15 to 20 percent or lower. Still, there are a few treatment centers that have claimed recovery rates over 70 percent. This is questionable.

Recovery homes have been successful and are in many counties around southern and central Indiana. They are located in rural as well as incorporated areas. Not one has reported any altercations, or late-night police calls. No property values have been lowered, cities and towns have received awards for excellence because the residents volunteer their time to help citizens improve the communities.

Perry County has one of the highest alcohol-consumption rates in the state. The illegal drug consumption is very high at this time. Meth labs are all over the county, in communities and in the trunks of autos. Yet no one talks about recovery. State prisons are currently overcrowed due to drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, yet not one person talks about helping a recovery process.

Recovery Connection Inc. has obtained a home located in rural Perry County, the address is 5150 Girl Scout Road. This was possible through a temporary loan from myself and Sharilyn Franzman. The primary purpose is to provide housing for those with limited funds, and possibly a hotline connection to provide information for the surrounding communities. Our corporation has a nonprofit designation and has a plan for future growth and expansion. Future plans also include a transition home for recovering female addicts and alcoholics as well as foster housing for children removed from the homes of addicts to prevent further promotion of drug use in the community.

The home is under renovation to accommodate six to 10 recovering males. Each resident will be required to obtain and maintain employment, provide community services and maintain the grounds of the home. There will be a house monitor.

House monitors will have to complete a background check before being hired and complete ethics training within the first six months of employment. Each monitor will be on probation during the first six months.

The Recovery Connection is awaiting approval from the county commissioners to rezone one acre of ground from conservation to B-1 business. This is necessary as the county lawyer studied the zoning laws and determined that there are no current regulations concerning such a business. This is  basically a multiple-person housing unit. We are not putting in a treatment center.

When the project began, the corporation received a go from the zoning office as there were no regulations or ordinances relating to this type of house. The corporation continued improvements on the house, investing in remodeling the basement, painting and new floors. The septic system was designed and let for bids, which will cost about $8,000 with the work going to local contractors. The board submitted an application and was awarded a grant for the cost of the project by the Perry County Substance Abuse Committee.

The board also received a grant award of $7,500 from the Schergens Fund to put in a new heating-and-air system that will be purchased locally. Both grants are now pending the outcome of the rezoning decision.

Paris is president of Recovery Connection Inc.