EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) 4/15/21 — More women are getting a chance to recover from addiction and abuse.
Renovations are now complete at the newest sober living recovery home in El Dorado.
Three women have begun to occupy the home though there is space for at least one more person.
“It’s a dream come true,” Nicole Smith said.
The Next Step Sober Living Recovery Home is a faith-based program that hopes to change the lives of participants in the free program.
According to the CDC, last year was the country’s deadliest year for substance abuse with more than 80,000 thousands deaths attributed to it.
Elizabeth Wiggins, 24, is one the of women who will be living in new home. She says she didn’t want to hide behind her past any longer and spoke with KTVE/KARD during an interview this afternoon.
“People do go through this. People do care but you can’t go through this on your own,” Wiggins said.
She is currently the youngest in the program. As a young girl and teen she says she learned all about how to live a drug and alcohol free life through the D.A.R.E program but when reality hit she couldn’t help but fall into the temptation.
At 17, she was in a car accident that sent her to the emergency room.
To ease the pain from the accident, doctors prescribed her with pain medications but after awhile she began to misuse the pills and that’s when her struggle with opioids began.
“When I told them about the amount of money that I spent in my usage it was $7 million. When I broke it down and did it I was like oh my gosh,” she said.
The pandemic only made things harder for her. She moved in with her uncle at the beginning of the pandemic.
With him, she says she began to get her life back on track but after awhile all of the city-wide shutdowns affected her and she began to spiral back into her old habits.
“There was nothing to do and I said I might as well entertain myself,” she said.
But it wasn’t until she fully surrendered when her life began to change.
“Overdose after overdose. Suicide attempt after suicide attempt and I’m still here. God just shook me one day and he was like you need to wake up before you can’t, I dropped down to my knees and said God take it away,” she said.
That’s what led her to Next Step. She’s grateful for the opportunity to finally turn her life around. Eventually, hoping to help other women and young girls like herself but she believes there aren’t enough resources.
Congress approved billions of dollars for substance abuse prevention and treatment in the Covid relief bills with more action forthcoming but it’s not enough.
“I feel two is nowhere near enough,” Wiggins said of the recovery homes in El Dorado. “There’s not enough resources for people when they are ready. It’s too hard to get a hold of. My last sober living that I was in if there would have been more houses there would have been way more people off the street.”
Wiggins says everything about her lifestyle prior to coming to Next Step was chaotic and a life. For those who may be in the same situation and want to escape, she says there is hope.
“It is dark. It’s a long dark hallway with a lot of doors and a lot of windows a lot of dogs but you can get through it. Screw what everyone else thinks of you,” she said.
The women will be expected to secure a job and will be required to go to recovery meeting and a church each week. There will be very structured set of boundaries in order for a resident to live at the house.
There isn’t a specific length of how long the program will last. It will depend on the needs of the participants.
The house is furnished but Smith says they could use more items and help in general for the women. If you would like to assist or if you would like to become a part of the program, you can reach out to Nicole Smith at 870-315-5137.
If you’re not ready for recovery home, Smith can also get you in for detox treatment.