We've worked hard to help share the message of the Fresh Coast Alliance in the Muskegon area. You may recognize the name 70x7 first, that was the name of the organization at it's inception years back and the mission of their work is to break the cycle of those incarcerated and end recidivism which is the cycle of endlessly returning to jail or prison because once time is served, adjusting to being out is often a bigger struggle than life in, so behavioral patterns repeat. No one wins when it comes to this repeating over and over.
We were asked to come in and help clarify a headline published elsewhere that the people at Fresh Coast felt was a little off target and that they were not even given the chance to speak to before it was published. We're not here to critique what anyone else considers news or a headline, however, there are some pretty strong advocates for residential treatment at the Muskegon Channel....me, because had I not had one at one point, I don't believe I'd be here writing this. Breaking the cycle of addiction is a huge endeavor. They say only one thing in life has to change in order to end an addiction, and that one thing, is everything.
While the headline was not necessarily on point, the article itself, which I have not read due to not being a "subscriber" wasn't being panned by the organization, however they are facing somewhat of a normal uphill battle with the people who are against this kind of thing in "their back yard". They have had to work to secure locations to be discussed with different municipalities in the area and had not quite been ready to say anything in the process when the article came out. The truth is, in a residential treatment facility, by the time someone gets there, they are at the surrender point. Where life and addiction has gotten them has them waving a white flag and begging for help. Being a residential place where people can stay for 30-90 days if needed gives them the support needed to know a couple of things. First, they are not alone. Isolation is a key factor in addiction. As the walls close in, you feel completely and utterly that no one understands what your life has become. Among others that suffer the same, you see quickly that you are not. Second, it's a buffer. Going right back to a situation that you left in the face of an addiction will result in a repeat more often than not. Building a new life requires changing one thing....everything. Finally, in a residential center, professionals can be on hand to monitor the condition of the people staying and make sure that during detox and beyond, no medical issues pop up.
In their quest to find a spot, seeing a headline pop up that reads about a rejection of a proposed site, and then a picture of another site under consideration sends a ripple effect through the community and makes a heavy lift even heavier. So, we sat down with Nate Johnson and Joe Whalen of Fresh Coast Alliance to let them have their say. There's no animosity here, there's only the ask for their side of things and to give people the update as to where things are with the newly proposed site in Norton Shores, which is very much still a work in progress with a ways to go. Take a listen.
A residential treatment center is long overdue for Muskegon and the entire area. While the discussions are happening with Norton Shores about a potential new spot for this kind of help, know that everything is being addressed. There are plenty of discussions going on and the work going in on both ends is transparent and in due time questions can be answered and issues resolved. The care that is put in to rebuilding the lives of those who have come to the end of the road in their addiction is truly one of the greatest ways we can show our human side. Empathy, understanding and forgiveness are all within our grasp and having an agency like Fresh Coast Alliance here working to help those seeking relief is a great asset. We're always proud to help share their story.