POSITIVITY AND ENERGY
As you step inside Potter’s House Services, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland, a palpable current of positivity and energy fills the air. It’s truly remarkable to think that this enthusiasm was envisioned by a Vincentian brother, despite his physical limitations, who ignited a flame of hope for the hopeless.
Potter’s House is the fulfillment of this Vincentian brother’s vision to relieve the anguish of broken souls grappling with addiction and yearning for a chance to recover. Bro. William Stover, CM, and his dedicated team of “mentors” form the foundation of the support services for those suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse, who need recovery counseling and a place to stay while working on their healing process.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The idea of a recovery program began six years into Bro. Stover’s Vincentian ministry. He encountered countless lost souls, who combed the streets looking for their next fix. Day after day, he approached them, seeking their trust and offering help wherever possible. Sadly, the initial response was disheartening.
“I saw a need to deal with the growing number of addicts in the [Baltimore proper] community,” explains Bro. Stover. “Getting [addicts] to participate was no easy sell. They deny their addiction claiming they can stop whenever they want. Regrettably, that is never the case.” However, he was tenacious and continually walked the streets hoping to garner their confidence.
NEVER GIVE UP
His perseverance eventually paid off. All it took was one individual to come on board and soon enough, Potter’s House was connecting with those the program sought to support.
Twenty-six years later, Bro. Stover and his team have successfully created a safe, substance-free housing and peer-supported, holistic recovery facility focused on providing those struggling with substance abuse with a place they need to transition from chemical dependency to independent, healthy living.
“God transformed my destructive thought process and freed me to pursue His plans for my life [through Potter’s House],” one anonymous patient believes.
What Bro. Stover created is unique for those who suffer from addiction or substance abuse.
“There are still no competitive programs in this area that provide the type of services and housing men receive through Potter’s House,” Bro. Stover notes. “It is the capstone of men’s rehabilitation programs and has helped transform hundreds of lives.”
Through a holistic approach, men learn how to integrate back into society by instilling a new perspective on themselves, which has God at the heart of the message. This spirituality is unique to rehab programs and one that Bro. Stover believes is the only true means to a full rehabilitation.
With its offices at St. Cecilia Parish in Baltimore, Potter’s House is a haven for men to receive support and counseling along with housing and amenities. Currently, there are two living facilities near the offices, where the program participants can stay for an indefinite period if they abide by the house rules.
“I focus on the Word of God. He along with our faith must be major parts of the men’s recovery,” claims Bro. Stover, who also stresses that the men “must commit to God and practice their faith by going to Church. This is how they witness His glory.”
Success can be measured in many ways but for Bro. Stover the best indicator is the return of recovering citizens, people who have successfully completed the program and re-integrated back into society.
Bro. Stover boasts of his “alums” who have achieved and excelled post-program. As he points out, “They’ve dealt with the situation and in 99 percent of the cases, they’ve had a good outcome and now want to give back; I truly admire that.”
He shares stories of the program’s success like a proud parent: One alum is married, raising a family, and working as an electrician in the mayor’s office, while also teaching future electricians the trade. Several other program alums are employed at Potter’s House where they counsel patients, prepare meals, help with housekeeping, and perform other jobs as needed.
Bro. Stover’s ministry aligns with St. Vincent de Paul’s commitment to working with the marginalized by walking in the footsteps of Christ. Previously reliant on federal funding, the program is now 100 percent supported by the Vincentians of the Eastern Province.
“There is no recovery without Jesus,” he asserts to those participating through the program. “Put your eyes on Jesus, and you will find a way.”