I-Team Report: Unique recovery home for families - WNEM TV 5

I-Team Report: Unique recovery home for families

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Mashon and Tameka Jones are busy dreaming up summer plans for their family.

“I love it. None of my family ever, like on my mom’s side, none of them have ever been camping. Mashon hasn’t, the kids haven’t, so that’s something I want to introduce them to. And I want to take them fishing,” Tameka said.

But not long ago, those dreams would never have been a reality.

“We was on the verge of losing everything. Our children, our family as a whole, the house. We had to let that go, a lot of our possessions and everything,” Tameka said.

An addiction fueled by alcohol and crack-cocaine had brought them to rock bottom.

They knew they had to choose either to seek help or allow their addiction to take the last thing they had, their four children.

Almost one year ago, Tameka and Mashon made the decision to fight for their family.

“We knew it was the right time. If we wouldn’t have done it then, it just wouldn’t have been. I probably would still be out there in addiction and the kids would be in foster care,” Tameka said.

The Jones signed up for treatment at Flint Odyssey House.

Unlike most programs, their children didn’t have to be split up.

“The whole family gets to recover and not just the adults,” explained Kim Shewmaker, Flint Odyssey House Program Operations Director.

The program touts itself as the only treatment center in the state of Michigan that offers recovery housing for the entire family. Something Shewmaker said is hugely beneficial.

“I mean, it’s not just the individuals that use that are impacted, but the entire family gets impacted. So, by bringing the whole family together, we’re able to provide services for all of them," Shewmaker said.

All families like Tameka and Mashon’s get their start at Flint Odyssey House and then transition to a home where they can continue their treatment as a family.

The home has all the comforts you’d expect in a home - colorful kids’ bedrooms, dozens of board games and family accomplishments proudly on display.

“I love it. It’s truly a blessing,” Tameka said.

The home serves as a classroom of sorts, with each lesson in recovery teaching them how to be a stronger unit every day.

“I can be more involved in their schools and their homework and you know, it’s just great. You know, bond, like take them to the park all the time now,” Tameka explained.

Shewmaker said keeping clients engaged and motivated is essential to helping people find recovery, especially as the opiate epidemic grows.

“I mean, almost every week we’re hearing about OD’ing and dying," Shewmaker said.

The latest data shows drug poisoning deaths steadily increased between 2012 and 2015.

And so did the number of deaths from heroin and opioids, which officials said are steadily flowing through Mid-Michigan cities.

“The neighborhoods and communities are being flooded with prescription opiates and heroin and the numbers are exponentially increasing,” said Calvin Higgins, Flint DEA Resident Agent in Charge.

That’s why Shewmaker said it’s important for Odyssey House to continue to evolve its programs.

“We’re going in a lot of different directions based on really the need of the population," Shewmaker said.

Mashon and Tameka couldn’t be more grateful Flint Odyssey House started the family recover program.

“It allowed me to be with them every single day since then. That in itself is a lot right there. That’s amazing. To be able to be the mom I’m supposed to be is a really good feeling," Tameka said.

With each phase in recovery, the Jones are learning new skills and cherishing even the little things.

And the couple said this program is laying the foundation for the big plans they have this summer, and beyond.

“I’ll be going to Ross in September, he’s signed up for Mott. So it’s like everything we wanted to do, but got put on the back-burner because of addiction. We’re able to go for it now which will make it better for our children, provide them a better future, an upbringing," Tameka said.

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