PDT Staff Writer
Sojourner House, located at 1702 Highland Ave., held its 2nd annual graduation ceremony on Monday. Established in September 2010 by Carmen Josey of Portsmouth, Sojourner House is a transitional living home for women who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Five residents of Sojourner House received certificates for their completion of the six month treatment program, which entails drug and alcohol counseling, programs for relapse prevention, individualized counseling, and abstinence from drugs and alcohol. In regard to the success of most of her residence, and their ability to overcome the strong grip that accompanies addiction, Josey stated that the residents deserve the credit.
“We just provide them with a safe environment, and the tools that they need, and the women take it from there. It is God, and the women that do the most work,” Josey said. “We focus on women, women who are getting out of prison, jail, addiction, and those that are homeless. When they come to us they are broken, with tons of medical issues, the disease is just out of control.”
Darlene Blythe, a Sojourner House resident, and graduate of the treatment program, said she would probably be dead if not for the help of Josey and the Sojourner House.
“My drug addiction was just that bad, but it wasn’t until God lead me to Portsmouth, and to this program, that I have been able to get the help that I needed for my addiction. Carmen got me into counseling, and other programs that have transformed my life. I am just so grateful. And now I can reach out and help others,” Blythe said.
Blythe now serves as the house manager of the Sojourner House, which at this time is a voluntary position according to Carmen Josey. Josey said that her plans are to add Blythe to the payroll soon. The position entails case management for the residents of the home, monitoring the house, overseeing distribution of medication, and assisting in conflict resolution.
“There are a lot of programs out there for men. My dream and my hope is that there will be more facilities out there where women can get the help that they need, get into residential facilities where they can start the process of recovery, and become a productive part of society,” Josey said.
The Sojourner House is anticipating expansion in the near future, with the purchase of property located at 1706 Highland Ave., right next door to the house.
“We have eight beds in this home, and the home next door will have six, which will give us a total of 14 beds,” Josey said, with a smile on her face.
A date has not been set as of yet for the opening of the next transitional living home for women, but Josey stated that she hopes to have the next home in operative status within the next three months.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, or firstname.lastname@example.org.