In an effort to continue the message of hope and help, this month’s column features Stepshouse, a sober living environment set in a home-like atmosphere. Spiro is the manager of the Globe facility which has 17 beds in two houses. Payson also has a Stepshouse where there are 25 to 30 beds in two houses. The Valley has several facilities that have a total of 75 beds. There is also a women’s facility in the Valley.
The following information is the result of an interview with Spiro, manager of the Stepshouse in Globe.
He explains nearly everyone who lives there is physically, emotionally or mentally beat up. All have suffered abuse of some sort, which makes them naturally defensive. Also there is some confidentiality involved as not everyone who resides at the house wants “the world” to know.
Spiro emphasized what Stepshouse is and what it is not. He said the first thing that has to happen involves the potential client recognizing he has a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. Each client processes through an in-take interview to see if they fit the necessary criteria to become a part of the program. If accepted, the person is required to sign a 15-week minimum contract, though once residents are approved, they may stay as long as they want.
All residents (with the exception of those who have a night-time job) have a nightly curfew and must attend the 12 step program meeting every evening. On Sunday nights there is a required meeting for all residents from both houses. In addition they must seek counseling and treatment for their addiction, which Stepshouse does not provide. There are four treatment centers in Globe including: Community Bridges, Horizon Community Services, Sunrise Welbriety and Integrated Services. Payson has several centers as well including Community Bridges and Rim Guidance.
Those living at Stepshouse share dormitory-style rooms. They purchase their own food, cook their own meals and do their own laundry. In addition, they are responsible for their own space and their own housekeeping.
There is 0 (zero) tolerance for drug or alcohol use while living there. That means there is no mouthwash, rubbing alcohol or aerosol canisters allowed on the premises. TV is allowed, but only in the common room and no one is allowed to watch sexually offensive material or any programming with racial language.
Random drug tests are required and conducted on a regular basis. After all, the idea is for a sober and clean environment.
Residents are allowed to have visitors up until 10 p.m. each night.
Other requirements for living at Stepshouse: Each resident must have a current Arizona driver’s license or ID as well as a Social Security card. There is a fee of $105 per week, so those who are able to work are required to do so. All residents have to be active enough to volunteer at least 20 hours a week for some manner of community service project. Spiro coordinates with each individual on their work and volunteer schedules so the need for flexibility is understood. Though he tries not to turn anyone away, he is aware that not everyone is suited or ready for this type of structured living. Spiro says everything is about the choices we make in life.
Stepshouse has been in Globe since July of 2007 and in Payson for 10 years. They receive no funding except for client fees.
Now that we know what Stepshouse is, here is what it is NOT:
Stepshouse is not a halfway house or a lock-down facility; staff is non-credentialed and they don’t dispense medications of any kind, they don’t buy the clients food or prepare it for them and they don’t do clients’ laundry.
They are not a part of the jail or any other governmental system. Stepshouse does not allow sex offenders or anyone with an active warrant to reside at the facility. Residents have to find their own way to and from work, to and from treatment and to and from their probation officer, if that is needed. Stepshouse is not a treatment provider, although treatment is required. It is the resident’s responsibility to arrange for it. In some cases treatment providers such as Community Bridges will transport and even feed clients taking treatment at their facility.
Because sobriety is required, most local businesses are very cooperative about helping with employment issues, which is also a plus for residents. Stepshouse provides a necessary and needed service in our community. Gila County is fortunate to have them located in the two largest metropolitan areas of the county.
For more information on Stepshouse, contact Spiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t use, abuse or be confused!
For questions or more information on the Gila County Meth Coalition contact chair Claudia DalMolin at the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, (928) 425-4440; co-chair Bianca DalMolin, (928) 701-1790; facilitator Misty Cisneros, (928) 425-1879; or media liaison Lu DuBois, (928) 425-4440.
Presented by the Gila County Meth Coalition