But the problem it creates for our organization is that most of our staff comes from our population. We use very few outside professionals for anything. If we can do it ourselves we do it. Our peer counselors are drawn from our population. Those who staff our houses are clients who have been sober for a while and want to work in a safe environment. For them, it's not about the money. It's about staying clean and sober, something that many of them haven't had a lot of success at.
But some of our clients have the idea that if they can just get a job everything will be okay. And of course, work is an honorable endeavor in our society. When a client tells his family member or loved ones that he just needs to get back to work they usually will agree with him or her. In fact, they usually offer encouragement.
However, the truth is that 95% of those who come to us only have one problem: their drug or alcohol addiction. Drugs and alcohol made them homeless, put them in jail, got them fired from jobs, kicked out of their homes, and into all kinds of other messes. Yet, when they're with us for a while and start making a little money and return to health their problems with drugs and alcohol become a dim memory. They know that no one will fault them for getting a job and making some money. But unless they have a solid foundation of recovery behind them it's easy to backslide. And once again they find themselves at our doors asking for help.
The other part of the equation is that it becomes difficult for us to recruit staff members who will stay around for a while. Most of those working in key positions at the moment are here for their recovery because they realize that money is not their issue – in fact, that it can sometimes fuel their problems. If it wasn't for this core of people who are dedicated to their recovery our management problems would be even more difficult.