Facility makes impact in first year

A willingness to change is the first requirement to receive help from Todd’s Place.

If a man is ready to overcome an addiction to alcohol or drugs, the staff of the transitional housing facility in Seymour and local volunteers are willing to guide them through the process.

Since opening May 23, 2016, 25 men have graduated from the program, and 22 of them have remained clean or sober.

Meanwhile, around 175 either have been asked to leave or left on their own because they weren’t ready to receive help, said Kristopher Hunley, director of operations.

“I tell a lot of these guys, I give them enough rope that they are either going to hang themselves and show what they are about or they are going to use that rope to pull themselves up out of the hole and live,” he said.

Of those who left the program, Hunley said nearly 40 of them have wound up in jail. He said he has seen national statistics that show only one out of 100 people seeking help make it through a recovery program.

“They had an opportunity to change their life and do what they are supposed to do,” he said. “It comes to the point you either do what you have to do to live or do what you want to do. If you do what you want to do, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten.”

Putting in the work

Once a man suffering from an addiction proves he is willing to change and hold a job, Hunley said he allows them to participate in meetings and church services at the facility.Those with a job are required to attend four meetings and church every week. Newcomers without a job must go to nine meetings and church each week, and they have two weeks to find a job.

The staff developed a core curriculum, including career building, relapse prevention, group therapy, Bible study, Celebrate Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Take the Steps (12 steps of recovery), Fixing My Finances, one-on-one counseling and anger management and trauma classes.

The men sign in before every meeting and church, and the staff tracks attendance.

On average, Hunley said it takes six months to go through the program. For some, it takes a little longer.

“We really want to give them the things they need to go out there and live,” Hunley said. “If you buy tools out there now, everything is cordless, and if you don’t charge the batteries and hook it up to power, it’s not worth a dime. That’s the way recovery is. If you’ve got all of the tools and you don’t put power to them, it’s worthless. You’ve got to put God in it.”

Through evaluations along the way, Hunley said he and his staff can tell when a man takes the program seriously.

“You can see their progress, you can see the change in them, but at the same time, you can see the stubbornness and not wanting to do it,” he said. “I’ve got a guy who has been here 10 months and wants to do things his way and not go to meetings. I keep working with him and finally say, ‘If you want to graduate, this is what you’ve got to do.’”

Men who aren’t serious about it are “wasting a bed for somebody who really wants to change,” Hunley said.

“A lot of it shows in their walk,” he said. “If you’re doing the right thing and are about the right thing, it will show in your actions. That speaks more than words will ever speak because you can blow smoke all you want, but your actions are going to show otherwise, and I watch their actions big time.”

Getting started

Hunley was involved with drugs off and on for about 25 years, winding up with 19 felony charges against him and shuffling in and out of jails more than 30 times.He finally buckled down and received help, and he’s now nearly five years sober and clean.

He said he understands what the men who come to Todd’s Place are going through.

“It took me 45 years to get to the way I was,” he said. “Six months isn’t going to fix you. That’s just a start.”

Hunley has fellow staff members, graduates of the program and community volunteers help with the classes and church.

“This isn’t just for us,” he said. “We encourage (the public) to come in and volunteer to do meetings and stuff so they can really understand what we’re all about.”

Making progress

After men graduate from Todd’s Place, Hunley said he wants them to be able to continue making progress in their lives.“Our big thing is we want to plug them into the community,” he said. “We want them to go be leaders because people have counted them out for so long. Now, they are not that same person. They are a new creation, and they can step up and really be a leader and show some people some things.”

Hunley said about half of the graduates either still live at the facility or come back to help because they believe in its mission.

“They are staying around and wanting to be a part of what we’re doing here. They said they call this home,” he said. “That shows me that they’ve picked something up and they’re really wanting to continue in what they are doing. That shows that first requirement that we have — willingness.”

Hunley said it’s rewarding to see men change their lives, whether it’s staying away from drugs or alcohol, working full-time jobs or reconnecting with family members.

“They are living and being a productive citizen,” he said. “They’ve been overhauled. Just like you find an old car that has been sitting in a field for a long time, it’s got a lot of rust and stuff and needs to be restored, totally overhauled. That’s what happens to a lot of these guys if they have the willingness to want to let that happen. Everything you need for recovery and change is here, but it’s up to them to pick it up and use it.”

Of the number of graduates who have stayed clean or sober, Hunley said it’s better than what he anticipated. After they leave, he said he calls and checks on them every so often because “accountability is everything.”

Currently, 50 men are going through the recovery process at Todd’s Place.

Hunley said that’s more than he initially expected to have at once, but they make it work because they are dedicated to impacting men’s lives.

“We started with brand-new guys at one time, and it was like diving into the deep end of the pool not knowing how to swim and just treading the water until you learn how to swim,” he said. “We’ve done that with the Lord’s help, and we’ve showed that we’re still here.”

At a glance

Todd’s Transitional Housing Inc., also known as Todd’s Place, is at 4990 N. U.S. 31, Seymour.

It’s a place for healing and new beginnings for men suffering from various types of addictions.

The motto is “When we help a man, we help a family. When we help a family, we help a neighborhood. When we help a neighborhood, we have been effective in our community.”

For information, call 812-271-1199.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.