By Donna Thornton/News Editor
The role the Cherokee-Etowah-DeKalb Fellowship House plays in the communities it serves may not be well known to the general public.
The C.E.D. Fellowship House Inc. is a Level III.1 Clinically Managed Low Intensity Residential Treatment Program for substance abuse, and is certified by the State of Alabama/Department of Mental Health Substance Abuse Service Division as a Co-Occuring Capable program providing services for 20 beds, Director Sam Long said.
Clients – adult males, only — come to the fellowship house through individual referrals or through the court system, he said, and they receive individual and group substance abuse counseling during their time at the house.
“We work closely with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Darden Rehabilitation,” Long said, for vocational counseling and job development.
“The fellowship has been able to supply 100 percent employment to clients during the last five years,” Long said.
Long said clients at the fellowship house are employed throughout the time they are in residence there.
“Our clients become taxpayers. They give back to the state,” Long said. The fellowship house treats an average of 85 clients a year.
“Our waiting list has about 100 names on it,” Long said. “We are here to serve. We get calls from people who don’t know where to turn.
“If we can’t help them here we refer people so they can receive the level of care they need.”
The population served by the fellowship house is made up of men who have indicated their desire for a lifestyle that is free of alcohol or drug dependency; who need a supervised peer group to help them achieve sobriety; who do not have satisfactory supportive living accommodations anywhere else; and who need professional substance abuse counseling.
Clients come to the fellowship house for a minimum 90-day period.
The goal of the program is for each client to maintain an alcohol-drug free lifestyle; to maintain involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or other appropriate 12-step groups; to live and function in society independently; to enter or re-enter the workforce; to learn and develop new living and socialization skills; and to need no further treatment or rehabilitation for alcohol or drug abuse.
Long said the fellowship has been blessed with a dedicated board of directors: Larry Brackett, Sam Elkins, Wayne Hornbuckle, Joe McEachern, Opie Reed, Keith Dowdy, Jack Minshew, Melvin Ramsey, Jimmy Bailey, Lynne Chappell and Jimmy Bridges.
“Our board does a great job of managing the house,” Long said.
The board and staff goal is to open a new transitional facility within the next two or three years that would allow the fellowship house to provide extended serves to its clients and to follow them longer – something Long said will help to give them a better chance at long-term success.