August 20, 2018, was a special day for the Forest County Potawatomi (FCP) AODA department as it marked the day when they could finally open the doors of the Women’s Transitional Treatment House, BaKaKwsen i Shkwadém (The Door is Open). This is a long-awaited event and marks a major achievement in their goal of continually improving treatment outcomes for addicted tribal members.
This facility is a community-based housing option meant to help women transition from a full, facilitated treatment center back into the real world by offering an environment that lets them resume living in their community while still having the support they need at a very vulnerable time in their recovery. They cannot change the world around them, but they need to learn how to handle the challenges they will face. Having a supportive living situation to return to each day as they embark on a different road in their lives is essential to a successful and lasting recovery.
This facility is for FCP female tribal members age 18 and older. Individuals may volunteer themselves to participate in the program, or they can be referred from the treatment center where they were initially treated.
Eight newly-hired employees will be on-site 24/7 to assist in the needs and care of the women living there. They are all qualified and licensed and have worked in the area of recovery for quite some time; these women will be getting the best of care.
AODA Director Micah Nickey said, “Many thanks to all here today and who helped in the process of getting this house to where it needed to be. As of today, this house is open for women to come in and to utilize. We wanted to see this become a reality and here it is. We can only HOPE that people can one day walk a good road, the Red Road, and find happiness from seeking our services and, in return, having their state of health improve and their quality of life as well. I just really want to thank everyone on my staff and all who have made this dream happen for this community!”
The newly-renovated house is located where the AODA department once was: 5519 Wej mo gek Court. It is equipped with rooms with half baths in them and can accommodate up to six residents. There are also two full baths located on the same floor as the main rooms. Within the building there is a fully-functional kitchen, living room space, healing room and group session room. There will be the regular routines, group activities and responsibilities for the women as they begin their journey into a normal life again.
During the open house, there were people taking tours of the household and offering praise about how nice it was to have here in the community. Many people had questions which the AODA department staff answered promptly and efficiently. As clearly demonstrated by their learned responses, they have their ducks in a row and are ready for all of the needs and challenges involved in operating such a facility.
Before the meal, Nickey said a prayer in his native language and offered some good words for the people who will be using this facility. Jordan Keeble then did an impressive job of singing an honor song a cappella as other singers were busy attending to obligations elsewhere in the community. Following the initial presentations, everyone in attendance then thoroughly enjoyed the food that was prepared by the AODA staff – especially those dessert bars!
Having a facility of this kind and caliber in the area is a step in a very positive direction for the women and families who are on that road of recovery and healing. It offers a place of both physical and emotional safety at a most vulnerable time. Treatment teaches them the tools they need to live a sober life. A transitional facility will allow them to earn how to use those tools. It’s also a place to meet people who have or have had the same struggles. That mutual understanding and support is invaluable in helping them move on to a life where they will eventually be happy, healthy and sober.
If you would like more information, call FCP AODA at (715) 478-4370.