MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Volunteers, health care professionals and social workers are telling some former inmates that a sober Christmas is the first step to a sober lifestyle in Morristown.
The Recovery House is a part of the McNabb Center's program for reintegrating former inmates into society. There, women who have struggled with addiction have a place to stay while finding work and getting their lives back on track after staying in jail.
"We've all made mistakes, but you know what?" said Deane Greenlee, a volunteer at the Recovery House. "We have to forgive and we have to move forward."
Around a dozen women live at the house, staying for up to a year while volunteers and social workers help them recover from addictions and substance abuse.
"Just showing them the love of God and that you can have fun being clean, you can have being sober, and you can have fun just being who you are," said Greenlee.
She said that some of the women staying at the house may not have ever experienced a traditional Christmas. Many may not have eaten meals with their families while opening presents by the tree and being merry with people who love them.
Instead, Greenlee said they may have been using drugs or they could have been in jail.
"We take those things for granted, that everybody has done that," she said. "But it's not so."
This year, the McNabb Center is working alongside volunteers to fill stockings, decorate trees and prepare holiday meals. They said that by giving residents at the Recovery House a chance to celebrate the holidays, they may find a sense of belonging.
"Just letting them know that we love them and how good it feels to celebrate the holiday season sober, sober-minded, sober-spirited and with a sober soul," said Greenlee. "Just sober, just enjoying it, because it was designed to be enjoyed."