More Client Stories
Matt Layton has managed the Hope Center’s Recovery Program for Men since its inception in 1996. Layton, a 16-year veteran, who has worked for this agency since even before it was known as the Hope Center, credits employee dedication as the reason that the Hope Center has been able to help so many for so long.
“We really love each other and our clients,” said Layton. “I have a lot of gratitude for my position, because when I leave here after work, I feel happy and motivated. I feel like I’ve made a difference.”
According to Layton, the Hope Center’s Recovery model works because it is a long-term, four-to-sixth-month process that advocates peer accountability, and instills a sense of community among participants.
“Instead of an ‘us against them’ dynamic, we are all in it together,” said Layton. “And the Hope Center’s Recovery Program takes you through all 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, whereas typical 30-day programs end at step three.”
Layton, like many recovery program employees, is a recovering addict himself. He frequently draws from past experiences in order to help other men fight their addictions.
“I am living proof that addiction affects people from all walks of life,” said Layton. “I began using drugs and alcohol at fourteen, even though I had a supportive, educated family.”
Despite his continued use of drugs and alcohol throughout his college years at Transylvania University, Layton maintained good grades and participated in athletics as a member of the Transylvania Pioneer’s soccer team. He graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in education.
“I finally got clean in 1987, said Layton. “I was lucky, because back then, there was nothing available for men as far as long-term treatment.”
My name is A.J. and I am a drug addict. Over the past two decades I have sacrificed every relationship that mattered to me, even the one with my children, for the sake of drugs and alcohol.
Unlike most clients, I didn’t come to the Hope Center by choice. I was sentenced to complete the Hope Center’s Recovery Program by a judge, who recognized that without treatment, I would continue to commit crimes to support my addiction.
I resented being court-ordered into recovery—in fact, I actually longed to return to the jail that I had been in and out of since I was a teenager. I knew deep down that jail would be easier than taking responsibility for my addiction.
From the moment I arrived at the Hope Center, assistant staff members made it clear that my recovery was my responsibility. They also made it clear that I would not have to go it alone. And for me, that is what made the difference.
For the first time in my life, my way of thinking was challenged—not by the criminal justice system or society at large, but by people who have been where I’ve been, struggled with the same addictions, and were able to overcome. I was no longer afraid to change. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t change.
Recent graduates of the Recovery Program came back to teach many of my recovery classes. These men opened my eyes and gave me hope for my future. They gave me the tools that I needed to manage my recovery, and held me accountable for my behavior and choices.
Since completing the Hope Center’s Recovery Program, I have untangled many of the relationships that have been knotted up by my addiction. And for the first time in 20 years, I believe that the door to my future is wide open. My name is A.J., and today, I am a recovering drug addict.