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Speranza House Director Janell Coomer and newly-hired Day Manger Chrissy Ruble take a moment to discuss the daily house schedule. Speranza House recently moved to W. Central location near the city’s old Carnegie Library building.

GREENSBURG – Speranza House, Decatur County’s only women’s recovery shelter at 132 W. Central (behind the old Carnegie Library) has finished the move from its original location. The house is at full capacity with six current residents and has just welcomed to the staff Chrissy Ruble as the very first Day Manager.

For a run-of-the-mill recovery facility in a larger city, that might count as enough change to keep any group of women busy, but as time has shown, this is no ordinary recovery facility, nor is it a run-of-the-mill group of women.

As local ministries in the area grow (and it would appear that nearly all the ministries at Lifeline Wesleyan are growing by leaps and bounds), different personnel are moved into high levels of responsibility. By hosting Celebrate Recovery, Lifeline’s congregation has grown exponentially, and their missions have expanded to include care for teens, food for the community and a giving, loving congregation that is engaged and appears to be bursting at the seams.

Chrissy Ruble has been named Speranza’s first Day Manager, as well as the new director of of the nationally organized Celebrate Recovery at Lifeline.

Janell Coomer, who began her journey as an addict, has said in the past, “You start praying for these people as you get to know them, and then you just stand back and watch how God works. It’s really cool.”

It’s always interesting, and maybe a little more than amazing, to sit at the Speranza House’s giant kitchen table and chat with the ladies currently staying there. It’s not appropriate to say they are just “living there” because when you look at their daily schedules, there isn’t a lot of time for play, and part of any life worth living includes just a bit of play.

“We get a little pushback from the community because every now and then, we have to take time and play,” Coomer said. “But for many of these girls, because they’ve never really learned to have fun without the use of drugs and alcohol, learning to play is as important to their recovery as are all their classes and house responsibilities.”

It’s like a family with many sisters. Their lives have become intertwined while they each work their separate recovery goals, so it really isn’t much different than a large family. And the ‘play’ issue is something Coomer is currently at odds with.

“I’ve even given some of my own money so these girls can have some time, see a movie, or go out to eat like other folks,” Coomer said.

And the “sisters” all have their own stories, but their last names have been omitted for their own privacy.

Mandy, 42, originally from Shelbyville has been 90 days sober on Valentine’s Day. Unlike the other girls, she is there without grant monies, so she needs to stay very mindful of her every step.

Kendra, 28, is at six months sobriety. This is her second try.

Sarah is here because she wanted a faith-based recovery. She liked the interview and believes that God cleared her path to Speranza House by letting her out of jail early.

Crystal, who have never been in a sober living home said, “It’s very humbling being here. It’s a great program.”

She’s at five months sobriety.

Chelsea, who is at phase 4 (out of 5) in her recovery is the only resident currently working outside in the community. She is the House’s night manager.

Mandy and Kendra will be starting jobs in the community soon as they prepare for their re-entry into the sober world.

Kendra talked about a typical day at Speranza House.

“We are all early birds, so we’re up before devotions, where we dive into Psalms and Proverbs. Then we do our chores, and then to classes here or at Lifeline,” she said.

She explained that most of their classes center around the expected topic at hand substance abuse, but homemaking courses, dealing with trauma, many topics really all geared to life without substance abuse are typical. And then they do service work. In the evenings, its to another meeting.

Monday evenings mean Living in Balance and Smart Recovery classes at Lifeline. Tuesday evenings are Substance Abuse Classes in Shelbyville. Thusdays, the girls are at Lifeline all day for Trauma Therapy, Substance Abuse and Criminal Addictive Thinking classes.

Coomer and the girls compared the old house to the new location. Coomer said she likes having an office she can lock, but the general consensus is that the old location had more private nooks and crannies, places for quiet conversations and privacy. The new house is much more “open.”

An onsite location for a classroom in the adjoining 3-car garage is planned, as are a gym for the girls to work out, and another full bath.

“We pay a lot less for this house, but the biggest issue is the privacy,” Coomer added. “But we’re very grateful for the house.”

Ruble said she brings “balance to the mix.”

“When I first came along, Janell had way too much on her plate. She sometimes got stressed out with too much to worry about, and that can ‘knock you off your square’. I try to let the girls know that they can come to me before they go to Janell. That was too much weight on her shoulders.”

Ruble doesn’t consider herself to be as hard as Coomer, but both women have a system that fits together perfectly.

What do the residents like the most about Speranza House? “I get closer to God,” is one response. “Getting centered in God and the new relationships we build with healthier communities,” is another.

Speranza, Inc., EIN # 82-5116267, is an Indiana non-profit corporation and is a tax-exempt 501©(3) Public Charity under IRC sec. 170(b)(1)(A)(vi). Donations may be sent to PO Box 213, Greensburg, Indiana 47240.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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