Residential program provides help with long-term recoveries

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — People who choose to stay at Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) for long term help in recovery from drug abuse and getting back into society must complete a multi-track program tailored to meet the needs of each.

One resident, Kevin Long, is almost ready to graduate into the working world. He took 6 News on a tour of the men’s residential wing at KARM.

There’s a definite pecking order. The most spartan area is where men come in fresh off the street.

“They don’t have much stuff yet but it accumulates over time,” Kevin says. “We’re able to get clothing vouchers from the thrift store…whatever clothing we need. So KARM provides everything we need, all the necessities and stuff.”

The program consists of four different stages: assessment stage, foundation, life academy and transition.

The transition stage is when you’re getting ready to go back out into the community. “Where are you right now?” 6 News asks. “I’m on the transition stage,” Kevin says. “You’re almost there,” 6 News says. “Yeah, last stage of the program,” he says.

Foundation, the second stage of the program, looks a little more settled, with more items in lockers.

You move to the transition life academy stage in the latter part of the program. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment, I think, when you move to this aisle,” Kevin says. “It makes it all seem worthwhile.”

“You’ve got the top place right here,” 6 News asks. “I was just next in line, after the last guy,” Kevin says. “You see a cubicle you want, it goes by seniority.”

“This is my sleeping area here, got me a little workout device there, try to stay physically fit, my ab worker, and I like to read a little bit. I have some spiritual some Gospel reading there,” Kevin says.

Above his bed are pictures of the children in his life. “This is Amarree. This is Kennedy and this is Kulah. They’re my great great nieces.”

“And this is my daughter Jalisa. She’s beautiful. She’s 16. She’s seen me go in and out of rehab centers most of her life. I went to my first rehab center in 1989, That’s when she was born.”

“Most addicts throughout active addiction, we sever a lot of ties with family, burn a lot of bridges and I did that also. I was guilty of that.”

Now, Kevin is well on his way to a new life and a fresh start with his daughter. “I’ve already been accepted to go back to school. I want to further my education. I have my associates degree in sociology and social work and I want to further my education.”

“I’ve been accepted at UT. I start this summer, summer semester, and I want to continue in the behavioral science field, maybe work as a substance abuse counselor in that field.”

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