RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Two hundred addicts under one roof sounds like a formula for chaos, but here in Richmond, it's a model of success. "The Healing Place" has helped 450 drug addicts through rehab, with a 70 percent success rate. This month the agency is marking it fifth anniversary of saving lives on a daily basis.
One year into recovery and Jacob is proud he can now mentor others. The former talented and gifted student was always a smart kid, but by his late teens, he was making dumb choices.
"It started with prescription painkillers, it escalated to heroin and cocaine using it intravenously," said Jacob.
Jacob went from star student to street person.
"Being homeless, being in and out of skid row hotels and motels."
Last April, he was at a crossroads, live on the streets or get help.
"I came into detox on April 22, 2009. I was in Bed 4 in detox," Jacob said.
At The Healing Place Jacob found shelter, and support, from a diverse community of men all seeking sobriety, through an intense year long free residential recovery program.
"From investment bankers and lawyers, to people who've never had a job in their life," said Karen Stanley, Executive Director of The Healing Place.
They work through the 12 steps, confront their issues, change behavior and hold each other accountable.
"You've got a community full of men that are just like us and we know and recognize bull," said Program Director Al Jackson.
Jackson is a certified drug abuse counselor who helped set up The Healing Place program here in Richmond and in Raleigh, North Carolina. He went through recovery at The Healing Place in Louisville, Kentucky 15 years ago.
"The greatest thing is to see a man come in all broke down and beat up just like I was and then at the end have a smile, family coming back, he's being responsible," Jackson said.
Every man here is responsible for maintaining the agency, from cooking and cleaning to laundry and security; partial payment for the lessons in basic life skills, job training, housing and employment assistance.
"I've got guys that are amazing computer folks," said Stanley. "I have every tradesman you can imagine and all forms of construction, plumbers, electricians, HVAC workers, masonry folk, and painters."
All eager to earn a living and continue a life of sobriety.