He’d been through the cycle before; a meth and heroin addict, he’d started stealing to support his habit, and the stealing was what landed him in jail. For Jared, though, there was a glimmer of hope—an advertisement he’d seen in prison for a program called Chanlyut.
“I took it because I knew I might need help,” he said. “I could try to get clean on my own, but I knew that just wasn’t going to happen.”
Two years later, Jared, 31, is a Chanlyut graduate who works in a warehouse for DiTomaso’s at night. When his shift ends at 4:30 a.m., he heads straight for the Mountain View Diner, one of Chanlyut’s social enterprise ventures, where he still lends a hand preparing items for Chanlyut’s wholesale food business.
The diner is where Jared developed the skills that landed him his first post-Chanlyut job at Carl’s Jr., where he worked his way up to a manager position in just a handful weeks. “I’d never supervised people before.
Being a manager taught me about myself, and how to deal with stress and with other people,” he said. “We grew the diner to where it is today, where it’s actually making money.
The experience gave me the tools I needed to go out into the workforce.” Jared has seen the program move from a tiny house next to Mountain View Diner, to a new residential and learning facility on Mountain View Drive, which opened in December and can house up to 40 men.
“This place has grown so much,” added Jared. While he was talking about Chanlyut—he might as well have been talking about himself, too. “That’s what this program does—it changes you,” Jared explained.
“In group sessions at Chanlyut that teach you to handle confrontation, you learn what behaviors aren’t conducive to living in the real world. Suddenly, there are 15 guys telling you, ‘You need to change,’” he said.
“You have to look at yourself and say, ‘Wow, maybe I do.’ That’s when you start to fix things slowly. You change the way you think, and it changes the way you behave.”
Like many Chanlyut residents, Jared didn’t immediately leave the house when he graduated from the program in February. He stayed on for two additional months, living among the men he’d seen grow and change, still helping out at the diner and working full-time in the Anchorage community.
“The great thing is, you work to live at Chanlyut. You can stay as long as you need to. You stay until you’ve saved enough so you’re not just going out there, broke, only to end up doing something—anything—just to survive.
“A doctor once told me that only one percent of heroin and meth addicts recover fully and successfully live out in the world,” said Jared.
He couldn’t keep the grin off of his face when he added, “Because of Chanlyut, I’m part of that one percent now. I’m going to stay in that one percent.”