A Phoenix-based drug and alcohol recovery service is looking at Kingman as a possible location for one of its Transitional Living Communities.
TLC Recovery Services staff member David Sanchez is spearheading an effort on behalf of the nonprofit organization established in Mesa in 1992 to provide a safe, sober environment for alcoholics, addicts and the homeless. It provides an opportunity to begin a new life of recovery regardless of social, economic, ethnic or sexual identity with exceptions to convicted arsonists and violent sex offenders.
“At TLC, our spiritual core is a tough love philosophy that permeates all aspects of our program,” Sanchez said.
There are 12 TLC facilities in Phoenix and Tucson that through men’s, women’s and LGBT Pride programs, house more the 850 clients. The facilities provide room, board, education, peer counseling and employment opportunities that include air conditioning and refrigeration, towing and roofing and repair – all the essentials needed for reconstruction. Clients are provided three meals a day (more than 1 million a year) with no government assistance.
Sanchez had an addiction to methamphetamine and alcohol and got involved with TLC in December of 2016.
“I was discharged from a behavioral health facility. I had no money. Just a bus pass and the clothes on my back,” Sanchez said. “TLC took me in.”
He graduated from a program in March 2017 and is now looking for property – possibly similar to the Arnold Plaza project undertaken by the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council – to build a facility here. Kingman popped onto his radar after a friend and former addict from the area got out of prison recently and went to TLC for recovery.
“He was telling me how Kingman gets overlooked a lot,” Sanchez said. “He wanted to go back, but as a different person. He acknowledged the problem was with him, not the drugs. I started researching Kingman and got in touch with the Daily Miner.”
Stays at TLC recovery houses require a 90-day commitment with 90 12-step meetings in 90 days, 12-week (Alcoholics Anonymous) Big Book Study, an eight-week Relapse Prevention Class and Peer Counseling sessions. Residents volunteer to random alcohol and drug screenings to maintain an environment of sobriety. Three-, six- and nine-month and one-year graduations are held to celebrate those periods of sobriety.
TLC has a licensed mental health and substance abuse facility known as Total Life Change Treatment Center with four levels of care from the hospital to aftercare. All offer proven methods, therapies, sober living and a phase structured programs to allow clients the ability to transition through treatment while building and using tools to promote a total life change.
It recently celebrated 25 years of being of service to the communities in which it contributed to building and sharing experiences, strength and hope for a brighter future, Sanchez said. TLC has had to branch out to provide clients with valuable work experience, such as opening numerous small businesses as well as a chain of stores that are entirely run by their clients.
“Our goal is to have people transition out of transitional communities,” Sanchez said. “We’ve had people leave TLC and start businesses. We partner with those businesses as part of our labor services.”
Sanchez plans on reaching out to local government officials and treatment centers and is still searching the internet for the right contacts. He’s aware some people will become apprehensive about opening a sober living home in their neighborhood.
“There is a negative association with halfway houses and as a company, we understand where that comes from,” he said. “At the same time, TLC wants to do for addicts what they did for me. Give them the tools to rebuild their lives.”
Sanchez feels the NIMBY effect will only prolong the addiction problem.
“You need a foundation to help these people,” he said. “If you don’t have a foundation, these people are left with nothing and it just poisons the community.”
He knows first-hand the difficulties of getting back on track. He hasn’t been to jail, but has worked with numerous other addicts who have and who share their tales of the cycle of incarceration. Part of his and the TLC mission is to stop that cycle.
“They get out and they don’t have anywhere to go,” Sanchez said. “The next thing you know, their world starts falling apart because they’re using again.”
TLC is open to suggestions from the community on how to help its addicts.
“If someone has a better idea, we’d love to hear it,” he said. “We’re always looking for help. There’s no reason we can’t have a dialog between us.”
For more information on TLC, check out their website at www.transitionalliving.org/.