When one walks into the Broadway House one of the first things they see is a group of guys chatting and smiling together around the TV.
This is what recovery looks like on the surface for someone going through the rehabilitation process for substance abuse. But behind the scenes these people are being held accountable through a structured program consisting of drug tests, meetings and counseling, said Broadway House executive director David Lowden.
Many people dealing with substance abuse find themselves in trouble with the law, but drug court offers an alternative to incarceration. One of the facilities participants are referred to during this process is Broadway House, Lowden said.
“It kind of works hand in hand,” Lowden said. “We drug test them, breathalyze them, keep them accountable.”
A drug court graduate himself, Lowden said he used to call and report to the Ardmore drug court every morning for two years. As a part of the drug court program, participants are required to be randomly drug tested once or twice a week, to go to mental health counseling and to complete 10 to 15 hours of community service each month.
“It’s good because when you’re fresh in recovery what you need is some structure,” Lowden said. “When left to ourselves we just go back to doing what we know, which isn’t good.”
For many people, substance abuse relates back to past trauma, Lowden said. Therefore, counseling can be essential for helping individuals cope with trauma in the long-term and preventing relapses.
“The reason we’re using is to cope with something,” Lowden said. “Whether it’s a relationship or we’ve been abused, you know, we still have to deal with it.”
While meth remains the most common substance individuals are struggling with in the area, Lowden said the initial detox period is the hardest for those dealing with opioids and alcohol — and opiate use is rising.
In most cases, Lowden said Broadway House sends those detoxing from opiates and alcohol to the crisis center, but one of the most important parts of recovery, he said, is keeping busy.
“Idle time is no good for addicts,” Lowden said.
One of the ways individuals at the Broadway House keep busy is by volunteering. Lowden, who began serving on the Ardmore drug court board three months ago, said the implementation of more community work is a part of recent positive changes and helps combat negative stigma for those in recovery.  
“It just does something for us, feeling like we’re giving back because most of the time during our addiction we’ve just been taking,” Lowden said. “We like to get out and let people know we’re good people, we just have problems, but we’re working on them.”
As a part of the board, Lowden said he has also been involved in trying to find a solution for those who cannot afford the monthly fee of $120 to participate in the program.
“I have a different perspective than some of the others, maybe because I’ve been through it,” Lowden said. “I have a heart for the participants because I know drug court works and I would like for it to work for everybody.”
It can take anywhere from 30 days to two years for an individual to complete the program, Lowden said. But the person has to be ready to make a change, he said.
Although the Broadway House has no formal way to keep track of those who exit the program, Lowden said he estimates about 50 percent of the participants remain sober, which he says is a “pretty good” success rate.
“They come in here — they’re broken, they need help and they just come in,” Lowden said. “Some people just aren’t ready to make a change and that’s really what it’s about - changing your way of life.”