After many months of working diligently with community partners Southwestern Community Services and Live Free Structured Sober Living
have worked out a mutual agreement. Live Free Structured Sober Living will lease the building that is previously known as the 2nd Chance building at 881 Marlboro Rd Keene, NH to provide high quality, lower cost sober living for the Keene, NH community and the state of New Hampshire.
Ryan Gagne, founder of Live Free Structured Sober Living said,
“We’re happy to have connected with such a great organization and continue a part of their vision to help out this population of people Substance Misuse Disorder. Southwestern Community Services have bent over backward to help us bring our sober living program to this community”.
The 2 organizations have been discussing this project since August of 2018 and have worked closely on overcoming many issues to arrive at the doors opening.
The program will provide 1 paid live-in staff, 2 live in house managers, drug screenings, in house peer support groups, one on one recovery mentoring, beautifully furnished accommodations, on-site laundry, a computer lounge, high level of structure and accountability, and job placement assistance. All while remaining abstinent from all illicit and non prescribed medications. Live Free Structured Sober Living provides much more than a sober living house, we provide a sober living program that embraces the resident back into their community.
Live Free Structured Sober Living is also a MAT (Medicated Assisted Treatment) accessible program. 95% of the sober living homes in the state don’t allow most medications and present barriers to entry in their housing. The majority of folks exiting a drug and alcohol treatment program are leaving on medication that won’t allow them to access sober living houses. At Live Free Structured Sober Living we are looking to fix that. We will be working in the weeks to come on having an outside provider work with our guests around these medications to gradually step them down over a long period of time. Once off those medications, determined by a medical professional, we will have fully engaged our guests with peer supports, recovery concepts, accountability, life skills, and esteem building activities while they navigate their lives free from medication. The individual must choose this path himself.
Live Free Structured Sober Living has always held an extremely high standard of the community, internally within the program and externally with the surrounding community.
“It takes a village to help people and we’ve always looked at what we can contribute as well as take for ourselves. In Manchester, NH we were able to get out regularly and hand out blessing bags to the homeless population as well as serve food. We look to have the same impact on the community here and welcome partnerships for such activities”.
Recently Live Free Structured Sober Living was featured in an article with The Keene Sentinel. Read about us in the local paper and be sure to come to visit our beautiful facility in Keene, NH.
Merrimack resident, and Live Free Structured Sober Living Director, Ryan Gagne and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte met to go over the Comprehensive Addiction And Recovery Act, the federal government’s efforts to deal with the heroin and opioid crisis.
“Live Free Structured Sober Living is a critically important recovery program, and I appreciated the discussion we had during Thursday’s visit about the framework that CARA provides to help strengthen our response to this epidemic.” – Sen. Kelly Ayotte
For the full article, click HERE.
Live Free Structured Sober Living Staff have worked to create peer ran community founded off of the spiritual principle of Unity. The philosophy of Live Free is that of the men of the house holding each other accountable with love and compassion. Men provide each other feedback on a daily basis on areas that they believe are, or could be troublesome. Men are encouraged by staff and each other to respect one another at all times, even when there are disagreements in the house. When disagreements arise that the men themselves cannot work through staff trained in Crisis Intervention will step in and facilitate a mediation. Being proactive in preventing negativity from spreading within the community is a top priority for staff. It does not take long for a small resentment amongst men to spread throughout the entire house.
Each week in the Community Meeting on Thursday nights the group facilitator encourages men to hold each other accountable, and discuss conflicts amongst one another. The facilitators goal of each week is to reestablish a foundation of unity. When the men have a sense of being united they are easily able to push aside conflicts, and work together to establish long-lasting recovery. This unity is achieved by not only the men holding each other accountable for their actions, but offering their fellows assistance in any manner necessary for them to overcome their difficulties.
Through Positive Community, the challenges of early Recovery begin to look like small tasks instead of large barriers. Where life’s problems use to pile up on individuals, now the Unity that men find in one another can become a vital tool in their recoveries here at Live Free. The power of Unity and togetherness can brighten up anyone’s life.
The Live Free staff have worked diligently to create service projects for the Men to begin to learn the spiritual benefits of altruism. The New Hampshire Foodbank has graciously opened their doors for the men of Live Free to be off service. Many of the men have had very little exposer to being of service to the community in which they live, if any at all. It has not been uncommon for men to be resistant to going to participate in these community projects, after participating in these projects all of the men gain a new perspective. This new perspective is demonstrated by their eagerness to seek other opportunities to serve the community of Manchester.
The most recent project stemmed from the Founder of Live Free watching a video of a little girl facilitating a fund raiser for the less fortunate. This girl collected hygiene items and food and made what she referred to as “Blessing Bags” and handed these out to the homeless population in Manchester. Ryan the Founder of Live Free decided to replicate this project. Once all of the items were collected the Men of Live Free worked together to fill these bags and went out with Staff and volunteers from the community and handed these bags out. They walked through the parks of Manchester and past New Horizons handing these bags out. Many of the men went above and beyond by offering kind words and some even providing individuals with their phone numbers if they found themselves needing help later on. The participants of Live Free have decided that as the weather warms up they would like to make this activity a regular occurrence. After handing out the Blessing Bags one of the men stated “It felt amazing to have a purpose”.
Through years of active drug addiction it is common to lose sight of all things that are tied to the responsibilities of functioning as a productive member of society. At Live Free Structured Sober Living men are provided the opportunity, and outlet to evaluate their current skills for truly participating in life. In the orientation phase of the Program an experienced staff member individually evaluates each man. In this evaluation process men are motivated towards raising their standards and diligently working to become the man that they have always wanted to be. Staff work one-on-one, and in a group setting towards enabling men to identify areas of their lives in which they want to recreate, and establish measurable goals and time frames for their achievement. As this process is underway men are introduced to opportunities and new experiences to open their minds and push them to go further. These opportunities and experiences include community service projects, financial workshops, culinary courses, and college campus tours, or may be as simple as taking the bus to a dentist appointment. At Live Free Structured Sober Living we believe that each man is limited by self-judgment and doubt and it is the main focus of staff to identify these barriers and help men over come them.
The men of Live Free after only a week of being in the house have began to set up medical appointments, take care of bills that have been avoided due to drug addiction, looked into going back to school and a long list of other actions that had been neglected as a result of their substance use. After a month and a half at Live Free two of the men are back to work, and working towards the ultimate goal of the Life Skills programming, which is to not only recover from their Substance Abuse Disorder but become fully self sufficient while entering a recovered state of mind and body. Live Free defines being self sufficient as no longer looking for hand outs financially or emotionally from loved ones and/or friends, but for each man to step up and fulfill their financial commitments and the responsibilities it takes to be a productive member of society.
Learning to Give in order to Receive
The men of Live Free have begun to learn and adapt a major spiritual principle in their personal recoveries, service to others. As part of the transfer from the Orientation phase into the Working/Transition phase the men participate in community service. Many of the men in the house have yet to experience the internal benefits of being of service to others. Live Free staff have organized a community service schedule in collaboration with the NH Food bank and the Manchester Animal Shelter. These opportunities have greatly helped the men experience the benefits of being selfless and identifying the ways in which being of service will enhanced their recovery. The men are also gearing up to participate in a project that we have titled “Restore Hope”. This project is a fundraiser where the men will collect various toiletry items, socks, and non perishable food items and make care packages which they will distribute to the homeless population within the City. Staff are working on other creative service projects throughout the coming months. Live Free Staff are striving to not only teach the men spiritual principle of being of service to others, but to also give back to the City of Manchester, in which they live.
The Live Free Structured Sober Living Open House was a big success for us and for the city of Manchester, NH. A huge thanks goes out to all that came out and supported us! Check out the local media coverage here:
Sometimes the best way to comprehend spiritual principles is to see them in action. Ob spends most of his day walking around the Live Free Structured Sober Living facility teaching the men how to live in the present moment. Ob is a 4 year old Pointer Boarder Collie mix. On more than one occasion participants have had the opportunity to be cheered up by Ob. When not at Live Free Structured Sober Living spreading his Zen like love, he enjoys swimming and chasing squirrels and hikes in the White Mountains.