My VOA Oregon Journey with Rodney Rice

Rodney Rice Portrait

When I first began my journey with VOA Oregon, it was as a client. I had been in treatment elsewhere for nearly 60-days and realized I needed more time. I was introduced to Charlie Hanset, a Housing and Recovery Manager at the VOA Oregon Home Base Recovery (HBR) program, through a referral, that allowed me to extend my time in treatment. 

Once at HBR I wondered what I got myself into. I had to learn to do things as a group, I couldn’t just do what I wanted to do. The first couple of weeks were difficult. The rules and routines took time to get used to. There were a couple of times where I felt like bolting. But I gave myself a chance for it to get better, and it did. Then I started to realize the structure of the program was really what I needed. It was very ridged; you get up at the same time every morning, have counseling sessions, go to bed at the same time every night. Rinse and repeat.

At HBR, we had our Counselors and we had Recovery Mentors. I could talk to the mentors about anything, like figuring out how I could get an ID card. They helped me to learn basic life skills again. I didn’t really take care of myself when I was active in my addiction. Here I was learning how to be a normal human being again.

In the last phase of my treatment, the team at HBR helped me transition out. I was able to stay until I got a job and had some money saved. That’s the unique thing about this program; you aren’t just leaving the program and going back to the streets where you came from. They make sure you transition into a sober living house. They set you up for success rather than saying ‘hey you’re done with treatment, good luck!’ The program is proven. I see people who do recover. That is not always my experience in the recovery community.

After 7 months at HBR, I moved into sober living and began working at a local retail grocer’s headquarters, in their benefits department. I was watching the job board for VOA Oregon to see if there was anything open for which I thought my skills and experience would be a good fit. That is how I found my position in Human Resources. I felt like VOA Oregon had given me so much; the least I could do is give back some of my time.

The last three years working here has been one of the best experiences of my life. All my coworkers and every employee I have encountered are exceptional and passionate about the VOA Oregon mission. I have grown to appreciate the work that everybody at VOA Oregon does, and the dignity they show to coworkers and clients.

I recently decided to step away to pursue a great opportunity for myself and my family. This new adventure will enable me to pursue some of the goals I have set for myself and my family. I am excited that I am getting a step closer to those goals. To VOA Oregon’s credit, they were integral in helping me to get there.

This past January I celebrated 5 years of sobriety. Some people have asked me, ‘If you could go back and not be an alcoholic, would you?’ I would say no. It was a rough 15 years, and recovery isn’t easy, but it made me the person I am today. My experience gave me the opportunities I have today. I have learned that life in recovery isn’t the end of the journey; it’s the new beginning that I desperately needed, and I owe that to VOA Oregon.

Rodney Rice, Home Base Recovery Alumni