MOSSWORDS: Happiness, sobriety coexist at Serenity House

Full Article

News and Tribune on 05/08/2017 by Dale Moss

JEFFERSONVILLE — Kevin Polly said he needed to get out of his hometown and stay out.

Serenity House is not in Polly’s hometown.

For John Barrientes, Serenity House is still farther away from old habits, from influences worse than bad. Yet he found it, hangs on to it for dear life. “I’ll be here for awhile,” Barrientes told me.

The afternoon I visited, Polly and Barrientes were among almost four dozen men for whom Serenity House in Jeffersonville was home. These guys are alcoholics fed up with getting smacked around by their addiction. Instead, they hold jobs, share chores, pay rent, make amends with their pasts and prop up one another.

And if they are smart they also listen to director Richard “Mick” McFarland. Otherwise a 75-year-old, blue-collar retiree, McFarland lends an education from the proverbial school of hard knocks. He brings a half-century of staying sober to the nightly conversations on which Polly and Barrientes have learned dearly to rely. “He is it,” Polly said. “He is what makes this place.”

Or as Barrientes said, “I want to be just like him.”

We confront the heroin epidemic. We ran off a pain-pill clinic. We set up needle exchanges to thwart the spread of HIV/AIDs. We pitch in, as well, to boost much else that is good and to fight what is bad. We step up again and again, thank God.