Couple brings ‘Hope’ to many at sober living house

Suzette Lowe
Employees, volunteers and those being helped by Hope House continue the facility’s mission. Seated are Jessica Haynes and Candice Simmons; standing are Beth Windland, Misty Adkins and Brittany Myers.

Hope is such a small word, but its meaning is powerful. It implies a trust, an expectation that something good is going to happen.

When Misty Adkins, in partnership with her husband Jason, felt led to establish a sober living facility in Ravenswood, the name Hope House was the obvious choice.

“This place is all about hope,” Adkins said. “It is a place where lives can change, where the future can look brighter.”

Changing lives is something Adkins and her husband know all about.

“We have been in recovery for nine and a half years now,” Adkins stated. “Prior to that, we both had been hardcore drug addicts, wreaking havoc all over the place.”

Adkins said that both had been searching for a way out, that they were ‘just tired of being the way we were’.

What brought Adkins to her lowest depths was the loss of her children to child protective services. She said she would often leave her children with others, but this time they were taken from her.

“I knew this was the end,” she said. “I’d never get my children back if I didn’t get straightened up.”

The biggest obstacle for the couple was knowing where to begin. They knew that going to detox was the start. But when that was finished, they had to come back to Ravenswood. Adkins said at that time they had no money, no jobs, no support, no services that they could find.

“We did go through detox,” Adkins said. “Finding a way to continue on after that was the most difficult part. We came back to Ravenswood, but we couldn’t find any help locally.”

Determined to get their children back, they did everything that was required of them. This included getting away from old friends, hitchhiking to Day Report for drug screens and hitchhiking to court for hearings. After nearly eight months, the children were returned to the home.

Adkins said they both knew that God was their answer, so they ‘hopped the first church bus’ to come to Wilding Circle which took them to Second Baptist Church in Ravenswood. They felt welcome but their struggle had not ended.

As with many addicted to drugs, the road to recovery is a winding one, filled with obstacles.

Eleven years ago, Jason Adkins was going to Flatwoods Road to steal a tire rim. He came home without the tire rim but with a miraculous story.

“He told me that the Holy Spirit told him to take his family to the next church he saw on Flatwoods Road,” Adkins recalled. “That is what brought us to Ravenswood Freewill Baptist Church. That is what brought about Hope House which completely changed our lives.”

Adkins said the whole family looked rough to go into a church. They found themselves being welcomed unconditionally and in Adkins’ word, 'They loved us to death.”

Even with the support of church members and Pastor Chris Skeens, the couple fell back into hard-core addiction.

“Pastor Skeens didn’t give up on us,” Adkins said. “I came home one day to a note he had left saying he loved us. That led my husband to say, ‘We need to go back to that church that God spoke to me about.’ I’ve carried that note in my wallet for years.”

Growing stronger in their recovery, Misty and Jason Adkins felt led to start a recovery group. They knew the hurdles those striving to overcome addiction would face, especially without help. They approached their pastor and their church with the idea and Hope House was born.

The facility, located on Washington Street in Ravenswood, has room for meetings and provides a sober living house for mainly females.

“They have to be clean to come here,” said Adkins. “This is a safe house, but any resident has to work the recovery.”

Adkins describes the sober house as being structured with freedom. Each person is encouraged to get a job, get a driver license and help at the facility.

“We have four pages of rules they must agree to in order to stay here,” she said. “These include random drug screens, approved visitors, a 10 p.m. curfew, attend meetings with the 12-step program and also to attend one church service a week.”

A current resident said she knows she would not still be alive without the center.

“My boyfriend recently overdosed and died,” she shared. “He had tried to get clean, but he just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to end up the same way, so I detoxed and reached out to a friend who connected me with Hope House. I passed the drug test coming in and Misty and the staff have already made a difference in my life.”

Adkins said when she received the call, she asked the woman when she wanted to come in.

“She said today, and I said OK, we’ll figure it out,” Adkins said. “That’s how it happens sometimes. That’s how we got our first client. One of the deputies called about a couple in a bar fight and asked us to come get them. We did because the shelter was empty, and we could take a couple in this emergency. Long story short, they did relapse but came back to us. Now, they are part of our group, helping others.”

House manager Jessica Haynes said her journey caused her to ‘stumble in through the doors’ of Hope House.

“What I mean by ‘stumble’ is that I really didn’t know about it,” she said. “I had lost my kids; one was born with drugs in its system. It took nine months for me to get through everything and get my kids back. I’ll be honest, there were times I did not think I’d make it. I didn’t believe in God, but church changed all that. Jason got my husband a job and I now work here.”

Faith is the foundation of Hope House.

Board member Stan Shaver said that foundation has never wavered.

“This place and these programs give great opportunity for change,” he said. “Misty and Jason have hearts bigger than anything but it’s all through the help of Jesus that there is success.”

Pastor Skeens echoes that sentiment.

“Hope House continues to flourish under directors Jason and Misty,” he said. “Their story is an inspiration and hope-giving evidence that recovery and freedom from deep addiction can be achieved.”

Adkins says nothing can be accomplished without cooperation and support from others.

“We work closely with Jackson County Drug Court,” she said. “The new Quick Response Team will be something that will make an impact as well. We also hope that the group Broken Chains can fulfill their goal of a sober living house for men. Many of those they work with come to our meetings which are open to anyone who wants to come.”

The drug court brought an invaluable volunteer to the center.

Candice Simmons, who serves as coordinator of care and transportation for both outreach and sober living participants, was the first graduate of Jackson County Drug Court. She began working with Hope House as part of her program.

“She also co-facilitates, along with Jessica, our 12-step program,” Adkins said. “She’s another example of giving back after receiving the help she needed.”

Financial support has been given by Ravenswood Freewill Baptist Church and several other area churches. Grants from The Sisters Health Fund, Walmart and Jackson County Community Foundation also have been obtained. Fundraisers occur upon occasion as well.

The National Health Emergency Grant made it possible to hire a day shift house monitor, Brittany Myles. Adkins said Myers is in long-term recovery, being sober for almost two years.

“We provide food and clothing when needed, along with transportation,” stated Adkins. “When the local hotel burned down, we worked to find shelter for several people. We are there for needs.

Sometimes for an addict, that’s just sharing a pizza at Riverfront Park and talking. My husband and I, and all of those who work here, have been where these people are right now. We know what they’re going through so it’s easier for us to build trust.’

For Adkins, the mission of Hope House is quite simple.

“We meet you wherever you are, to help you get whatever you need to make the next best decision,” she said. “Our dream is to build a much larger facility to be able to reach more people.”

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of Hope House, there will be a celebration on the courthouse lawn on Friday, May 14, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be a hot dog lunch sale with delivery in the Ripley area, raffles and bake sales, along with activities for children.

For information about Hope House, call 304-532-3712 or 304-514-1917 or visit Hope House Ministries on Facebook.