Supportive Living Program provides safe space for those in recovery to rebuild their lives

When George Schultz first moved to Indianapolis, he enjoyed the anonymity of living in a large community. But after working as a coordinator in Fairbanks’ Supportive Living Program (SLP), he started getting recognized more often in public by alumni of the program.

“I’ve seen a lot of people get sober through SLP,” Schultz said. “It’s amazing how many have gone through the program and succeeded in getting their lives back.”

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Some of the SLP staff.

SLP offers a structured living environment for Fairbanks patients ages 18 and older who are undergoing partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment. A separate Transitional Residential Services (TRS) program is available for corporate employees. There are 24 residential apartments available, including eight for females. Residents pay a weekly rental fee of $175. Rental costs for those in TRS are covered by the client’s insurance.

Aside from being in recovery from a substance use disorder, SLP residents must be enrolled in programming at Fairbanks.

“Residents are able to live independently, but there is structure and support from staff members and other residents to guide them in early recovery,” said Melanie Short, manager of adult outpatient services at Fairbanks.

SLP residents share an apartment with up to three roommates. They’re responsible for their own cooking and cleaning. Program participants are also expected to find employment or perform volunteer work.

Residents who are in partial hospitalization treatment spend most of each day in meetings and counseling sessions at Fairbanks. Those in SLP have 10 p.m. curfews, which are enforced by resident managers who live onsite. Once residents are in intensive outpatient treatment, they can start looking for work and developing the life skills needed to live independently.

A living room of one of the SLP apartments.

A living room of one of the SLP apartments.

Most residents remain at SLP while they are in outpatient treatment, which is an average of nine weeks. Some continue to stay while attending recovery management for a year or more after treatment.

“There isn’t a time limit on that,” said Ann Robison, an SLP coordinator. “We’ve had folks stay three weeks and others who’ve been here two years. In general, six to nine months ensures a foundation for maintaining recovery.”

Each resident is assigned to a coordinator who can help them with whatever they need, like writing a resume or preparing for a job interview. Weekly community meetings also allow residents to get help from and support their peers. The overarching goal of SLP is to provide a safe and sober environment for participants as they rebuild their lives.

SLP residents can fish in the pond at their apartment complex, which also includes a clubhouse with a pool and gym.

SLP residents can fish in the pond at their apartment complex, which also includes a clubhouse with a pool and gym.

“After they’re here for a while, they learn they don’t have to move back to where they were. They can find a place that’s much healthier,” Schultz said. “I like to say that we’ve planted a seed with many of our residents. As long as they stay here for a little while, they find out that being in recovery isn’t bad.”

Added Robison, “We also get a lot of people who’ve left the program but want to come back and mentor others going through it now. It’s examples like that which are the reason why we do what we do.”

In fact, some of the 13 SLP staff members have gone through the program themselves.

“That’s a true testament to the program,” Robison said. “That’s been great for us to have these people who really know what it’s like and can be mentors to our residents.”