As printed in the Post-Journal on March 3, 2017
Mar 3, 2017
A community shower for the Alex House, a supported recovery house that will open in Jamestown, will be held from 4–6 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Community members are asked to bring donations of basic household items to help resource the house. Celebratory food will be served, and information from other community agencies that deal with addiction and recovery will be available. There will be a special presentation at 4:15 p.m.
The Alex House is an Oxford house — a democratically run, self-supporting drug and alcohol free home. First established in 1975, the Oxford House concept has proven to be a “remarkably effective and low cost method of preventing relapse.” Oxford Houses provide a time-tested, solid foundation for all aspects of recovery.
The Jamestown house is named in memory of Alex Foulk, a young community member who died last year of a heroin overdose. The opening of the first Oxford House in Jamestown is the work of Kim Carlson, Foulk’s mother and recovery advocate, and ‘A Fresh Start,’ a local nonprofit organization designed to promote awareness and encouragement based on personal experiences. Working directly with UPMC Chautauqua, the Mental Health Association, CASAC and other organizations, the group’s goal is to help people get comfortable with conversations about addiction and alcoholism so that they can get the help they need. A Fresh Start is also open to assist family members who have lost loved ones to addiction or who currently suffer with the disease.
“Our goal is to help people open up to and talk about substance abuse disorders, addiction and alcoholism. So many people don’t get the help they need because of stigma and not knowing where to go.” Carlson said. “Alex had a zest for life. He was hard working, well mannered, physically fit, and by all accounts a happy and healthy 26-year-old man. I knew that if this could happen to my son, our family, that it could happen to anyone. I had to take a stand to find a way to bring light to this situation. Losing a child is the most horrific pain a parent will ever feel. I say that I talk about my child so people can talk to their children. Through our experience, communication, knowledge, open minds and open hearts we can bring change so that others might not feel our pain.”
St. Luke’s has collaborated with A Fresh Start to serve as an operational base by offering meeting spaces at its 410 N. Main St. location. The shower and presentations are the first of many expected to be held there. The purpose of the shower is not only to help resource the home to be ready to support the daily needs of the residents, it is also to help educate the community about the Oxford House program and how it can help the area.
“We are thrilled to assist the work of recovery. We are a non-judgmental community that welcomes and supports people in recovery, helping them to grow into their best selves,” said the Rev. Luke Fodor, Rector of St. Luke’s. “Kim’s work is a manifestation of resurrection in action-she has turned death into life We are honored to assist with the establishment of the Alex House; a timely celebration of new birth almost one year after his death.”