MISSOULA — Starting your life over from scratch after issues with addiction isn’t easy but one organization in Missoula is working hard to help guide men and women back into society with support and guidance and a safe place to land.
It’s especially important in a pandemic that has shown the number of people needing help has skyrocketed. Now, Crosswinds Recovery is now hoping to expand its recovery residences — also known as sober homes.
Whitney Bergan is living in one right now. She’s a mom who is going to school and wakes up each day with a sense of purpose but it wasn’t always that way.
“Four years ago, I started getting into trouble in Great Falls, selling drugs, running with the wrong crowd,” Bergen recalled. “Got caught selling drugs and got sentenced to 120 months.”
After jail, treatment, and pre-release, she found a home in Missoula through Crosswinds Recovery in one of three recovery residences providing a community of safety and support.
"A lot of those individuals are coming out of incarceration or inpatient treatment and really just need a place to settle and find support and have,” explained Crosswinds Recovery executive director Stephen Ferguson. “Accountability before they can make that full transition into the community.”
“Honestly, I do not know where I’d be without it. The transition coming from prerelease to Crosswinds is just what I needed. Keeps me accountable,” Bergen said. “I feel like coming out of prerelease you’re really wishy-washy on what do to with your life and this place gives me the avenue to travel down to be successful." - Whitney Bergan
The Crosswinds Recovery addiction treatment has been in Missoula for the past three years. It’s a nonprofit providing structured, supportive recovery-based housing and outpatient addiction therapy.
They can’t keep up with the requests for space in their recovery residences so now it’s hoping to raise $50,000 to open two more houses in Missoula.
"We’re hoping that each one can serve an additional 10 individuals in the community for a total of 20. We get roughly 40 to 45 applications a month and with that our program stays [are] six to eight months for a total of 25 people. So, we're only covering 10% of the population that we could be." - Crosswinds Recovery executive director Stephen Ferguson
How bad is the problem? Ferguson says it’s getting worse – partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Addiction is a huge piece of our community right now, especially with covid where we have seen increases of 150 to 200% -- just in the mountain regions -- of addiction and overdose. We're doing everything we can to curb those numbers.”
Residents are required to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or a church community.
“While they can create a community here, eventually they’ll be back in the community full time,” Ferguson said. “What would Missoula look like without this? These people are coming back one way or another and so to give them a safe place to grow and stabilize and grow and create a community in a positive way. I say we support them.”
The sober living homes are just that — homes with private bedrooms and kitchens and support around every corner. There’s enough structure for guidance but also enough freedom to make choices.
“A lot of people don’t know that sober living in an option or even exists in Missoula but it’s such a necessary piece of someone’s recovery after inpatient treatment or incarceration. Just giving that person or group a soft place to land in our community is vital for someone’s recovery especially in the early stages of their recovery. “What would Missoula be like without these facilities and the reality is -- in comparison to the amount of need that there is -- you are looking at it. “I think what these do is they offer a space for people to maintain a quality of life that a lot of us take for granted.” - Crosswinds Recovery director of operations Peter Maney
From the Crosswinds Recovery webpage:
Your donation will help our campaign reach its $50,000 goal and allow us to provide 20 more individuals with:
1. HOUSING: Safe, supportive housing in a recovery-focused environment.
2. TREATMENT: Through our state-licensed outpatient counseling program.
3. RESOURCES: Access to employment, family services & other community programs.
A SOUND INVESTMENT IN SOMEONE'S FUTURE
Our program has provided an opportunity for a better life - free of substance abuse - for hundreds of individuals over the last three years. Crosswinds Recovery is proud to be a part of countless recovery stories of men and women in and around the Missoula community.