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Good morning, South Florida,
Today seemed an appropriate time to begin working on my new blog, offering information that I hope will provoke thought and debate on the issues of addiction and recovery, with emphasis on the gay community. But first, a quick introduction. My name is Jared Cecil Cashner, CCR; and I am the Executive Director of Sanctuary House of S. Florida, Inc., a non-profit sober living facility for men in recovery. This week, we closed on the property, gardens, and buildings that have housed Sanctuary House for more than 3.5 years. With all of the support from both private and public entities, we made it. The staff of the Sanctuary humbly thank you and we look forward to continue to grow from our 34 bed facility to more space, as the demand for help ever increases.
Sanctuary House began in December of 2008. As a retiring court reporter in the 17th Judicial Circuit of my state, I found that many members of my own community were reoccurring defendants within the various courtrooms that I would sit for. Even though, as was in many cases, the defendants were first-time, non-violent offenders that now must learn, quickly, the dangers of being swallowed up in the vast expanse of the legal system. With respect to gay defendants, being placed in housing conditions that place preemptive strikes that reduce success, is a contributing factor for “revisiting” The Court. Within a short period of time, a single offense can develop into a turnstile of newly developing problems.
Violence was often the case and both parties are punished equally, even though being gay was often the defendant’s only crime. I would know, for a brief moment in my life, I was that defendant.
Placing gay and straight men, in close quarters, as is the case in many areas of the country, produces a level of discomfort for both men, in my opinion, that places the first obstacle to move beyond the criminal justice system, not to mention beginning a life absent of drugs and alcohol. One of our Circuit Court judges once made the comment, “Your place is an idea born out of necessity”. We couldn’t agree more.
For that reason, the Sanctuary House was born. This is our story and how we’ve evolved into a unique place of peace for people that have come and gone and the constant lessons learned. I hope you find this new blog both entertaining and informative. Stay tuned and stay clean, life is just damn better that way.
Jared C. Cashner, CCR
Sanctuary House of S. Florida, Inc.
A place of peace for gay men in recovery