Longtime football fans know Jim Riley as a star defensive end who helped guide the Miami Dolphins to an undefeated season in 1972. Although he started in Super Bowl VI, this athlete says the most significant game he ever played was against his addiction to alcohol. Now sober for over three decades, Riley has devoted himself to helping people in recovery, founding Jim Riley Outreach (JRO) in 1986. His nonprofit ministry of four sober living homes aims to help addicts and their families adjust to a life in recovery, and the commitment sober living residents make is typically long-term and ideally one year. Three of the sober livings are in Oklahoma City and the other is fifteen miles north in Edmond. JRO’s house rules have a faith-based bent: residents attend a Christian church of their choice weekly and are encouraged to be modest in their dress and appearance.
Accommodations and Amenities
All of the JRO houses are clean, comfortable and well appointed, with laundry services, TV and other amenities. Residents double up in bedrooms and share responsibilities for making food, as well as keeping the houses tidy.
There are 25 clients who live in JRO’s three male-only “Pellow houses.” Each property has a resident house manager under the supervision of Joe Pellow, JRO’s director of men’s mentoring. Four women live in the all-female Parker House, under the supervision of Sandra Pickard.
Rules and Regulations
All of the Riley houses require residents to attend the Christian church of their choice weekly. Residents are assigned a peer mentor, a trusted sober resident of the house, to help with their recovery. House rules require residents to check in with their mentor daily as well as attend AA, Celebrate Recovery, house or other meetings as directed by their mentor.
Residents of the male houses must maintain a “clean cut” look, while female residents must be conservative in dress. Other rules include an 8 pm curfew for unemployed clients and a 10 pm curfew for those with jobs, a minimum of four hours per month of community service, and a complete ban on tobacco. Along with drug testing, JRO tests residents for nicotine.
The program fees at all Pellow houses are $450 a month, with an upfront, move-in fee of $550 that includes a $100 non-refundable cleaning fee and $450 for the first month’s rent. Parker House is slightly more expensive: program fees are $690 a month with a move-in fee of $790.
The common areas at Parker House and at one of the Pellow houses are home to regular support group meetings open to the JRO family—house residents, alumni of the program and JRO volunteers.
Along with its halfway houses for both male and female drug addicts and alcoholics, JRO runs “Blake’s House,” a residence for young, Christian women who have “aged out” of the foster care system. Blake’s House teaches life skills like budgeting, driving, resume-building, job interviewing and cooking, and is designed to help its residents become independent.
With its strict rules, mentor system and prescribed long-term stay, Jim Riley Outreach is more structured than many halfway houses. The focus on Christianity provides addicts of that faith with like-minded roommates and, ultimately, a solid sober network.
Jim Riley Outreach
2201 Cardinal Drive
Edmond, OK 73013
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