Jun 23, 2011 7:28 AM by Carina Corral

Program that helps men sober up is on the rocks

Studies have shown during hard economic times, people often turn to drugs and alcohol to cope, but one of the places addicts can turn to for help in San Luis Obispo is, too, falling victim to the economy.

"I was totally humiliated when I first had to move in here, I came here straight from jail," said Lou Bonham, who was an alcoholic when he arrived at Middlehouse.

He thought by coming to a recovery home he had hit his all time low, but it turned out to be the best move he made. Almost a decade later, he is now on the board of directors. "From resident to president," he said.

Ben Jacobson is another success story. After going through the program, he is now the house manager, helping recovering addicts, like himself, get clean.

For $140 a month, residents are given meals, a room to share and a YMCA membership. They must have a job or be looking for work. They are also in charge of upkeep around the house. All part of the fundamental bricks to rebuilding their lives.

"When I came in here I had the clothes on my back and most people come in with just that or even less," said Jacobson.

Now, Middlehouse is in the middle of its own crisis, a financial one.

Private donations have dried up and the doors are in danger of closing. Community members are being asked to open their hearts and wallets.

KSBY News posed the question to Middlehouse Board Member Gary Kastning that many be asking, why should folks give their hard earned money to recovering addicts?

"I've lived in SLO my whole life and I have a real sense of community. It's very important that people who have drug and alcohol problems are given a chance a start to come back and be useful members of society. 13,000 men have gone through Middlehouse. They've returned to their families, they're tax paying citizens and I think its well worth anyone's time and money to do just that to support Middlehouse and keep this program going," said Kastning.

Middlehouse can accommodate 14 men at a time, but as Kastning mentioned the place that helps men sober up is on the rocks, especially since it receives no county, state or federeal aid.

Click here if you would like to help support Middle House.


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