By Joshua Rosenthal
Jeffrey’s House is a terrific resource in Fitchburg that impacts the lives of those who struggle with substance abuse. This resource works by helping those in need of maintaining sobriety and readjusting to a healthier and more productive lifestyle.
As Jeffrey Summers, founder of Jeffery’s House, explains, “Jeffrey’s House aims to help those who are struggling to maintain sobriety return to their lives, rekindle lost relationships, and get back to who they were before they became ‘slaves to addiction.’” This sober house takes in addicts and successfully completes their goal of helping them maintain sobriety through different forms of support.
However, in order to even be able to receive this support, one must apply for Jeffrey’s House online. As a prerequisite applicants need to have been clean for at least one week. Once accepted, participants are expected to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings and to also complete the 12-step program that is utilized in Jeffrey’s House. On top of those requirements, those living in the house must comply with three drug tests a week, and if any traces of drugs are found those individuals will be asked to leave. The amount of time spent in Jeffrey’s House will differ due to the differences in individuals and the varying amounts of confidence they have in themselves to resist temptations while living outside of the house, and on their own.
Jeffrey Summers is a graduate of Excelsior College in Albany, NY. There, he earned his degree in liberal arts. Summers became inspired to begin this program due to events that had occurred during his childhood.
Growing up in the ’80s, his brother struggled with addiction, and has been incarcerated numerous times. Unfortunately, addiction can make people behave in a matter that they normally would not, and for Summers’s brother this is the cause for his current incarceration. “After growing up and watching my brother battle addiction, and go in and out jail for victimless crimes, I was inspired to help those addicted and end the cycle,” Summers said. His brother has served, and still serves, prison sentences for crimes that are all related to his addiction.
By providing addicts with a place to stay clean, Summers is helping to keep those who struggle with addiction out of jail and to get their lives back. This is all due to the fact that Jeffrey’s House offers an opportunity for prisoners who are out on parole. Summers explained, “Around 80 percent of prisoners in Massachusetts are in there because of drug-related crimes.” To help these people get the help that they need he has developed a positive relationship with local parole officers and the state government. It seems to be that while in prison, it is easier to stay sober because of the strict rules and regulations. However, once addicts are back in their natural environment, it is not as easy, and for many they end up back in jail, slipping back into old habits and temptations.
Once in Jeffrey’s House, parolees are required to wear ankle bracelets that act as GPSs, and still follow the rules that go along with the terms of their probation.
Those who live in Jeffrey’s House are provided with furnished housing, heat, electricity, cable, and everything one needs to live. Of course it costs money to be able to maintain five fully furnished houses. This money comes from both donations, and a weekly payment of $125 from those living in the house. Over the past five years, Jeffrey’s House has received $20,000 in donations from both individuals and small companies. If a person who desires to live in Jeffrey’s House and stays clean cannot afford the price of rent, Jeffrey’s House has connections with two staffing companies that hire these individuals so that they can pay rent and get the help that they need.
Summers explains, “By paying rent each week, these people can start to feel like they are contributing to society, and returning to their old lives.” After starting to get back into their old routines before addiction took over their lives, those struggling with sobriety will begin to feel good about themselves and become more confident, which are both crucial life skills when it comes to maintaining sobriety, Summers said.
Anyone who been clean from drugs or alcohol, but is struggling to maintain their sobriety, is invited to reach out to Jeffrey’s House. They can be reached at 978-770-7288; an online application is available at http://www.jeffreyshouse.com.