When I received a call from Shore House in early 2014, I thought it may be just another fluke in my job search. As a new graduate moving from Boston I was getting more discouraged by the minute by not having made the next step into adulthood and securing a job. As any interviewee does, I researched Shore House before my interview and quickly found myself more passionate than ever before about a position. I watched Youtube videos about the Clubhouse Model put out by Clubhouse International, looked at pictures on the Shore House Facebook page, and even drove through Long Branch to try and get a look at the building before my interview. (FYI – you’re in the right place if you see the Municipal Court on the first floor!)
I thought the hardest interviews I’d been on were the jobs I wasn’t offered, but boy, was I wrong. As I made it up the elevator, I met two members outside who bluntly asked, “Are you the one who wants the job?” I realized I must be looking extra timid and confidently said yes, that was me. It could only get easier from here, right? Well, no. As I sat around a table with Shore House members my heart began to beat faster and faster, and my face was as red as a cherry with every question they threw my way. Then instantly, after Sherone admitting she’d asked me a trick question and Julie saying she loved my hair (she’s always the best at giving compliments!), I felt at ease. These members were not here to intimidate me (although, they all get an A+ for that), they generally wanted to get to know me and see if I was a good fit for the community. I left that day thinking wow, how lucky everyone is to have each other here.
The voicemail from members I received a few weeks later is one I will never delete. I did it, I was the newest addition to the Shore House community. My first few days were a telltale sign of the adventures to come. Dan brought me to the Community Garden (where we proceeded to plant in the wrong plot – oops!), Taylor taught me how to knit a scarf, Frank showed me the right way to make coffee (one scoop, full pot of water), Christian wowed me with his courage while speaking about his recovery at a fundraiser, Kerri taught me how to do attendance statistics, Lucile helped me field calls in reception, everyone convinced me I had to clean the bathroom as the newbie… Despite the last one, I knew Shore House was the place for me. Relationships here are built on working and problem-solving together, laughing at and learning from the mistakes we make and realizing they are OK, and growing together as individuals and a whole. No day at Shore House is ever predictable, and generally that is pretty nerve-wracking, but when you're among a group of people rooting for your success and helping you along the way it is nothing short of amazing.
As I reflect on my time with Shore House, I still have that same thought I did on my interview: wow, how lucky everyone is to have each other here. Shore House is a community, a support system, a network of friends, and a family. The role I’ve played here pales in comparison to the wealth of knowledge and experiences the members have given me... Even as they all convince me to clean the bathroom because I'll never be doing it again. Leaving Shore House I can confidently say I am a better person, and I hope all current and future members one day reflect and think the same for themselves too on their journey through recovery. Thank you everyone for being such wonderful colleagues, teachers, storytellers, and friends. I am proud to be a part of Shore House and look forward to seeing the community continue to succeed and flourish.
By Jennifer Kline, Social Worker Generalist
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.