SHAWANO, Wis. (WFRV) – Community leaders in Shawano County are stepping up to make a recovery for people battling addictions a bit easier. 

Sober housing for those recovering from addictions is extremely limited in the county. There’s some transitional housing for men through county probation programs but no sober living housing in the county for women.

“If they don’t have a safe, sober place to live, they’re not going to be able to focus on their recovery journey,” said Becky Edgren, the Shawano County Drug Treatment Court coordinator.

Community leaders have teamed up with the county to fund new sober housing for women and men. They have raised $180,000 and are house hunting for a women’s recovery home. They are continuing fundraising efforts to eventually get a men’s recovery home in the county as well.

On May 6, community leaders will host a walk to raise funds for the recovery homes. It’s at Franklin Park in Shawano and begins at 10:30 a.m. For more information about the event, click here.

“We have seen nothing but success from people who have gone out of county to reside in a sober living home and have that structure and support from their peers,” said Edgren.

She told Local Five News that drug treatment court in Shawano County began in 2018, and one requirement is to find safe, sober housing. This wasn’t easy for people battling addictions, given Shawano County’s lack of options.

“When I first entered recovery, there weren’t very many resources around here which put a barrier on not only getting the help that I need, but the support that I needed,” said Maggie Boyd.

Boyd is in long-term recovery and is also a recovery specialist at Northwoods Recovery, where she helps mentor others battling addiction. The Northwoods Recovery center is a new resource in Shawano County that provides peer support and access to many programs for those battling addiction.

“Well over half the people who walk through these doors are people who I used to use with, people who I can relate to, and they can empathize with me, and I can empathize with them,” said Justin Krysheski, who is another recovery specialist at Northwoods Recovery who battled addiction himself.

“I’m passionate about people in recovery, and knowing what the struggles are here in Shawano; I wanted to help other people who are struggling,” said Krysheski.

Krysheski said overdoses and jail time motivated him to get his life back in the right direction after over a decade of drug use.

The programs at Northwoods Recovery center have changed lives, but the center can’t provide long-term housing for those battling addictions, so the need is still there.

“It (bringing sober living houses to Shawano County) would be tremendous, the biggest thing that ever happened,” Krysheski said.

“Individuals need to make changes in regards to who they’re spending time with, where they’re hanging out, people places, and things are huge barriers to long-term success in recovery,” said Edgren.

“Sending a person into treatment and then bringing them back into the same environment is just playing with fire,” said Boyd.