HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Only weeks after his daughter died of a heroin overdose in April of 2015, a father and former cop turned his pain into plans by creating a concept for Washington County's first women's sober living house, Brooke's House.
The ground is expected to be broken in a few weeks, but Brooke's House founders are paying their due diligence by learning from the country's top rehab consulting firm.
Before Kevin Simmers can build the sober living house of his daughter, Brooke’s, dreams, he wants to learn from the best in the business.
"What I wanna do is really help them clarify what their core values are and make all of their decisions about staffing, hiring and program development all around those core values,” said Mark McGuiness, founding consultant, Thrive Treatment Consulting.
"In recovery, if we can learn service, purpose, reaching out to community -- that's the antidote to addiction,” said David Lidz, Ladders to Leaders founder.
On Thursday, Simmers partnered with one of the country's top consulting agencies and Ladders to Leaders, an already established men's sober living facility.
Lidz created the program in response to his own bad experience in rehab.
"I was appalled by what I saw there, and it kind of made it a personal goal to one day open a recovery house for men,” Lidz said.
Lidz said opening a women's chapter was in the facility's 2018 goals, and it just so happens that Brooke’s House lines up exactly with their core values.
"We recognize this as a need and then Brooke’s House is already doing it. So, it's a pretty good opportunity to collaborate,” Lidz said.
Simmers’ only experience with treating addiction was with his daughter, Brooke, so he said McGuiness opened his eyes to a lot of different scenarios that could happen with the girls, like a history of mental illness and pregnancy.
"The trauma that's involved -- a lot of times it comes from physical abuse or sex abuse as a kid or other issues we may encounter,” Simmers said.
Although there is a long way to go, McGuiness said he has no doubt that they will reach their goals.
"Clearly, this group has momentum, and they have a real passion for creating something that would have helped Brooke,” McGuiness said.
Simmers said he plans for Brooke's House to become operational by the end of 2018.