Getting sober is hard work for the person recovering and the people who love them.
Fourth Dimension Sobriety in Milwaukee just moved into a big building in the heart of Riverwest and leaders there say community can pave a path to sobriety.
The path that lead Jason Gonzalez to the old Cream City Hostel is an interesting one. It starts with his own journey toward recovery.
“[I] thoroughly ruined my life in Riverwest, and then I got sober in Riverwest,” Jason says.
When he did that successfully, he was driven to help others.
“I was trying to do little things here and there, and then the idea came that why don’t I just invite people in and they can see how you live out sobriety in all of your affairs,” Jason says.
Jason tried to model success for his two new housemates, and it was tough at first.
“But eventually things started going well and people started recovering and more and more people started calling,” Jason recalls.
That was 2012.
Over the last nine years, Jason and Fourth Dimension Sobriety have expanded and moved into a few new houses. Then, the opportunity to take over the Cream City Hostel popped up in early 2021.
“We are a bridge between Harambee and Riverwest,” Jason says.
Jason says staying part of the community, close to friends and family, is crucial to recovery.
“They’re not only recovering themselves, but they’re repairing the relationships that were once broken,” Jason says.
The new space can house 28 people, so a community develops inside as well.
“When I first started my voyage in recovery, I was very much against the idea of community,” says Rodrigo Sanchez. “I thought, you know, this is my problem.”
Rodrigo was a Fourth Dimension client, but now he’s one of the program’s managers.
“We heal each other,” he says. “And we set an example for each other, and we know where each other are coming from and we have, like, an inner sixth sense about where other addicts are coming from.”
Jason says being embedded in the community has another benefit – making sobriety more visible.
“Recovery homes in general have a bad stigma because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what that is,” he says. “So this allows us to showcase, ‘this is what recovery is, this is what we do, this is how we live our lives.’”
And those lives are full of success stories.
Rodrigo is a lawyer and passed the Wisconsin Bar Exam in February.
“All of this happened because I’ve had a firm foundation in recovery and a community that values me, and that I value.”
Rodrigo hopes others can see that they can do it, too.
“We can get better!” He says. “This addict passed the bar. Things get better.”
If you’re trying to get sober yourself and aren’t sure where to turn, Jason encourages you to reach out to Fourth Dimension. He says his program might not be the one for you, but he’s confident he can help you find the right place.
Learn more by following this link.