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A place to start over – a new sober living home opening in Green Bay

By Heather Graves

GREEN BAY – To help individuals suffering from alcohol and drug addiction achieve a life they never imagined possible – that’s the mission of Serenity House of Green Bay, the area’s newest sober living home.

Both recovering addicts themselves, owners and operators Adam Brouchoud and Eric Ebbole said their inspiration behind opening Serenity House of Green Bay, located at 1254 Cherry St. in downtown Green Bay, is personal.

“We are really trying to help give people a new way of life with that transition,” Brouchoud said, “and be able to help the community out by getting more people off the streets, off of the drugs, off the drink and everything like that and show people that they don’t have to suffer anymore. That there is peace, there is serenity, and that there is a way out.”

Coming up on 10 years clean, Brouchoud said he and Ebbole, who is also nearing 10 years of sobriety, are very active with the recovery community.

The pair recently realized they both had the same vision of opening a sober living house for those transitioning out of jail or prison.

“Eric is a tattoo artist, and he was actually finishing up my sleeve when we started talking about a guy we knew that was getting out of prison, but there was a window of time before he was able to get into a treatment center, and we were trying to figure out what we could do for him,” he said.

Brouchoud said he and his wife, Brittany, who is the third Serenity House owner/operator, had been talking about opening a sober living house for quite some time, and after hearing Ebbole was having the same idea – “one thing led to another,” and the three decided to work together to make Serenity House of Green Bay a reality.

“Everything kind of fell into place from there,” he said.

Sober living environment
Brouchoud said Serenity House is a sober, alcohol- and drug-free living environment that provides structured, transitional housing for men in recovery, mainly after being released from jail or prison.

When looking for a building to house Serenity in, he said the trio focused on downtown Green Bay, because of its close proximity to services.

Brouchoud said while Serenity House doesn’t offer services on-site, its downtown location provides guests with easy access to jobs, buses, probation offices, the Micah Center and other resources.

“We’re able to point them in the right direction, like ‘Hey, here’s a place to go to for jobs,’” he said. “Here’s the place you can go for counseling, that’s right down the road.’”

Brouchoud said they structured Serenity House’s rules and expectations off W.A.S.H. (Wisconsin Association of Sober Housing) – a statewide organization of recovery/sober home and halfway house providers – standards.

“Wisconsin does not have any type of licensing or anything like that, that’s required, but W.A.S.H. is kind of like good practices,” he said.

Though not working directly with W.A.S.H. yet, Brouchoud said Serenity’s standards are based on their recommendations.

“One of the things is, there’s got to be 15 square feet, per person, per bedroom,” he said. “So, we’re gonna make sure we have that. There’s one full bathroom for six people (we have two bathrooms). So our maximum is going to be 12 residents.”

Brouchoud said of course, Serenity House will have house rules that not only keep everyone safe, but also keeps residents accountable for their own recovery and behavior.

He said some policies include a 30-day probationary period, absolute sobriety, a mandatory weekly house meeting, a nightly curfew, no overnight guests and pitching in with chores.

“They’re going to be the ones cleaning the house, they’re going to be the ones shoveling in the middle of winter and they’re going to be the ones cutting the grass – just taking care of the house to give them that accountability,” he said.

All utilities, including internet and a landline, are included in residents’ lodging fee, however, they will be required to provide their own food.

“If someone is struggling with food, we can guide them in the right direction to get them help with that,” he said.

Brouchoud said the house won’t have a 24/7 staffer onsite, but between him, his wife and Ebbole, daily check-ins will take place.

“There’s (a plan to eventually have) a host manager – which will be someone who’s lived there for a while, is really good with his recovery and understands there are rules and procedures, which will kind of oversee everything.”

Application process partnership
Brouchoud said Serenity House has already begun working with the Brown County Treatment Courts to help streamline the application process even before potential residents are released from jail/prison.

“When (the treatment courts) have a participant that’s still incarcerated, they’re meeting with them, they’re helping them fill out an application and really taking care of the interview process,” he said. “That way we can eliminate that downtime from them getting released from jail or prison to go straight to the house, as long as we have a bed. So that was really kind of an awesome thing. That was really our original goal, to hone in on jail and prison release and eliminate that down time and help out with their recovery.”

Others interested in being a Serenity House resident can also fill out an application online, at serenityhouseofgreenbay.com.

Brouchoud said for safety reasons, no one will be accepted into the Serenity House that has an extremely violent or sexual-assault-related record.

Down the road, he said there are hopes to open a second location geared toward female residents.

Open house planned
Serenity House is hosting an open house event Sunday, Aug. 7, to welcome its neighbors and community members to come check things out.

The event will have food and beverages available, with proceeds benefiting the house.

“During the open house, we will allow the community to come in and see what we’re doing – walk through the house,” he said.

Brouchoud said the house will be equipped with spotlights and cameras to monitor the property at all times to ensure minimal issues.

He said an official opening planned for Monday, Aug. 8.

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