DES MOINES, Iowa — More than 20 million Americans struggle with some form of addiction, according to the U.S. Department of Health. Two men in Iowa know how difficult overcoming addiction is, so they decided to be a part of the solution.
Jessie Goodwin and Mike Madden both struggled with addiction for years and they both sought out help to overcome it.
“Mike and I come from two totally different backgrounds in life. I spent a lot of time in prison and my best friend Mike has never even been to jail for one day. And it shows us that it doesn’t matter what walk of life people come from, if there is alcoholism or drug addiction involved that’s the common problem and there’s a common solution to it as well,” Goodwin said.
They started a program called Kingdom Living, which provides a safe space for sober men to continue recovering, get a job and build friendships.
“Obviously when they are coming out of some situations either homeless, or out of prison or straight out of a treatment center, they’re not very self supporting at that point. But generally, we give them some time and some flexibility to get up and get self supporting, but we are always pushing them to be that, to be self supporting and to be active members in the community,” Madden said.
They currently have four houses where men who have gone through the application process can rent rooms.
Kevin Sharp has been a part of the program for awhile now and said everyone becomes like family.
“It’s like a big fraternity. Everyone helps each other out, calls people out on what they’re doing wrong and praises them when they are doing right,” Sharp said.
Sharp said he wouldn’t be who he is today without Kingdom Living.
“I just cared about living that street life and the highs of it and the criminal activity was just crazy. You get real tired and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror and today I can look at myself in the mirror and I am happy with who I am. I am the happiest I have ever been and it’s all because these guys gave me a chance,” Sharp said.
Goodwin said the main goal at the end of a man’s journey with Kingdom Living is to give them their deposit back and watch them grow on their own.
“There’s nothing better than when I help a guy move into his own apartment and you help them move their couch and stuff like that. Just small things that some of us take for granted. But when you move those guys out of the situations they have been in, into a new environment and I’m active in 12 step recovery so I continue to see those guys doing the same things down the road and that’s the blessing,” Goodwin said.
The founders said they are looking to buy even more houses and expand their program to have houses for women as well.