“Moving Forward and Being Successful” – Riverside Regional Jail Graduation

The program has “opened [Morman’s] eyes” to the aspects of his life that he needs to change so he can “move forward and be successful,” as was shared during Riverside Regional Jail’s 5th graduation this month.

The REAL LIFE Opioid program had fourteen graduates this go round. The 12-week opioid focused program prepares inmates for a successful release back into the community. The opioid recovery-based classes also include trauma therapy and behavior modification. After release, participants have access to the services provided by the REAL LIFE Community Center.

The program not only focuses on recognizing addiction but changing the associated lifestyles and behaviors necessary for recovery. Through the program Brydie recognized that his decisions and actions “not only affect [him], but also the people around [him].”

The REAL LIFE’s program facilitator, Ervin Hart, guides the participants three times a week through the Narcotics Anonymous 12-step program. Many participants mentioned Ervin during their graduation reflection speech and credited him for being very helpful in their recovery. As stated by McDonald, he thanked Ervin for teaching the program from a “real life prospective.”

Through the knowledge learned in the twelve-step program, Burgess is able to apply the steps “every day to become a productive member of society.” Although the participants successfully sustained sobriety and completed the program, the tools they learned can help guide them through challenges in life once released.

Many of the participants expressed appreciation for the Riverside Regional Jail for providing an opportunity, as Broom stated, to be “productive” and focus on their recovery. At the beginning of the program, many participants were in denial about their addiction. They all now recognize they do have an addiction. Clark noted in his speech that “there’s nothing wrong” in being open and admitting to an addiction.

Spriggs most enjoyed the opportunity to “[build] with others and [hear] different people’s stories that were similar to [his] own.” The program gave him a chance to evaluate himself and his decisions to better understand the steps needed to move forward in his recovery.

Mapp was reluctant at first when he interviewed for the program, however “deep down” he knew he needed to a program to face his addiction. He also believes the program is a blessing and “work of [a] higher power” because he has been able to find the underlying issue of his addiction.

Congratulations to the fifth graduating class for this huge accomplishment! Addiction, and the associated behaviors, are a difficult obstacle to overcome. There will be daily challenges in sustaining sobriety, however, the REAL LIFE program has created a foundation and provided tools to overcome those challenges and we are all rooting for the continued successful for each of the graduates.