ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Homelessness has reached staggering numbers in New Mexico and with a drug epidemic in the mix, it’s only added more fuel to the fire. With all of these problems, there are some trying to come up with solutions, like the Endorphin Power Company, a transitional living facility.
This facility has a few different initiatives that have helped them see success. It sits in the International District and has been around since 2007. After hearing from one of the residents and the executive director, there’s a true push in this facility to help get people back on their feet in a safe and comfortable living community.
“I started using any substances like what people would call soft drugs like weed and alcohol at 12, started using hard drugs at 16,” Matthew Pettit, a resident at the EPC, said.
Addiction can sometimes become your whole life starting at an early age, like it was Pettit, but he turned things around by realizing the same mindset he had for addiction could be used towards recovery.
“When I was in addiction, that was my everything, you know, I didn’t have anything besides my drug use. So I did the same thing with recovery and I just made it my everything,” Pettit said.
Another major change in life that helped Pettit was surrounding himself in a transitional, structured, and sober living facility. Pettit’s now 16 months sober and has even found a new passion during his recovery.
“I’ve just had the opportunity to really flourish and since I’ve been here, I mean, I’m in college to get my human services degree so that I can become a substance abuse counselor,” Pettit said.
The EPC houses 19 people and six people at their stepdown community across the street. They house those who could be facing homelessness, working on recovery, or both.
One way the executive director relates to the residents is by sharing his own personal experiences from a time when he walked a similar path.
“I was an actively using heroin addict but I would intravenously, you know, use anything I could. Heroin was my drug of choice; heroin and cocaine were the two that I went after the most and it eventually led me to be unhoused on the streets,” Jeffrey Holland, the executive director of the Endorphin Power Company said.
Living in the EPC comes with a few nonnegotiable rules for residents.
“Education, exercise, service and community so all of our residents spend 30 minutes a day on those pillars,” Holland said.
Residents have access to a gym in the facility, which only costs $5 to $10 dollars a month — rent comes at a pretty cheap price too.
Residents also have a curfew at the EPC. In addition, they get tons of access to counseling, yoga classes, and other resources.
While Pettit was once a drug dealer, he explained how he’s always just wanted to help people, he just never knew the right way to do it until he became sober and entered a healthier lifestyle at EPC.
“I genuinely thought like, hey, if you’re not feeling good, or your life sucks, here’s some drugs and this will help you because this is the only way I know how to help,” Pettit said. “And then when I got sober, I realized that my passion for helping people is still there, now I just have better ways of utilizing it.”
The Gateway Shelter, which is supposed to open up sometime in 2023, will be for emergent and quick needs for the unhoused. People who do seek help there could be referred to a place like the Endorphin Power Company, or other transitional living facilities.
“If you’ve been, unhoused are addicted to drugs or alcohol for, let’s say, 10 years, and hey, I don’t I know some basic services, but I don’t know what’s out there in terms of treatment or detox while you’re going to be able to step into this and say, ‘Hey, I think I’m ready. What do I do?’ and they can say, look, here’s where we start,” Holland said. “Let us walk with you on this journey and help you get to the place you need to be that’s going to provide you with the services that you’re requiring.”
For more information on the Endorphin Power Company, how to volunteer, or other services, click here.