Life at the Reprieve
The Reprieve program strives to offer young adult men the tools they need to achieve a daily reprieve from the torment of substance abuse. The Reprieve is not a traditional treatment program, but a highly structured 12 Step and life skills immersion recovery program with a community living component. “Seeing young men, not only improving physically, but also spiritually with their behavior and attitude towards the world, is what really inspired me and gave me a passion to work for The Reprieve, “says Jared Murray, Community Representative of The Reprieve.
As a young man in recovery himself, Jared has devoted his life and career to assisting other men in their journey to freedom from active addiction. From an early age, the disease of addiction was present in Jared’s life. Jared recalls a situation from his childhood in which some of these internal characteristics—obsession, compulsion, and spiritual emptiness—were very apparent: “My mom told me I couldn’t have this pack of gum; I wanted it so bad—mental obsession; I stole the pack of gum—physical compulsion; later I took the pack of gum out of my pocket to show my older brother’s friends and seek their acceptance—spiritual void.” The use of drugs and alcohol are only a symptom of the addiction; once these substances are removed, the disease continues to negatively manifest itself in various forms throughout the addict. The Reprieve assists its residents in identifying these areas in their lives by showing them the reality of their disease through an intensive step presentation process called “Steel on Steel.”
“At The Reprieve, we believe in the saying ‘iron sharpens iron’, but we take it one step further believing “men sharpen men,” Jared explains. During “Steel on Steel,” men at The Reprieve are split into two groups, each group facilitated by either Seth Sherwin or Patrick Owens. When a resident is scheduled to begin his step presentation, he is instructed to sit in what is referred to as the “hot seat.” During this process each facilitator uses a question guide as well as the experience of the group to help the residents identify the truths about the participant’s addiction. The goal of each group is to bring about true honesty and true humility in each of its members by breaking down the walls of denial, self-centeredness, entitlement, and ego. Seth, Program Specialist, explains, “Most people think drug addicts have no ego because they have seen such low points in their life; however, in recovery we find out that ego is a pendulum that can swing from feelings of superiority to feelings of inferiority, which can cause them to over exaggerate or minimize their using, but self-obsession is always at the center of it.” Their ability to break down denial and ego is why The Reprieve prides itself on being a recovery program for the guy who has been to treatment several times and has had multiple relapses, but they also believe in their ability to raise the bottom of the guy who is highly motivated and starting this journey for the first time. Long- term structure offers the best chance at sustaining long- term recovery. The Reprieve believes that it is not necessary to go to treatment multiple times if a young man is given the right opportunity in the beginning. Jared explains, “We don’t want our guys to have a few sets of spiritual experiences; our desire is that they have a spiritual awakening from truly discovering themselves that changes their lives forever.”