Jeremiah House: Rural rehab center for men to open in July

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Jeremiah House is a mens' rehabilitation program.
Jeremiah House is a mens' rehabilitation program.
Mike Bateman is the founder of Jeremiah House.

Pottawatomie and Lincoln County men will have access to rehabilitation center Jeremiah House, which will offer a 10-12 month recovery program for men struggling with addiction and mental health and is set to open in July.

According to founder and CEO Mike Bateman, the program is for men 18 years or older and it will work with drug courts, mental health courts and justice reform.

"We will provide an in-house 10 to 12 month program that will be set up for 20 beds and will have a sober living house, which is open now and it will have six men," Bateman said. 

Once men complete the program, they will have the opportunity to live in a transitional phase at the sober living house.

"(They can) find employment, pay off some bills, pay of some fines (or) whatever they need to do to catch up to get back into society and be productive citizens," Bateman said.

While the sober living house of Jeremiah House is open, the actual recovery facility is set to open to the public sometime in July.

Bateman explained substance abuse, mental illness disorders and suicide rates are higher among men in small rural counties such as Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties, and for that reason, he decided to provide the resources these men need through Jeremiah House.

"When the founders did a needs assessment and visited with the drug courts, probation, parole, Gateway, other counseling services and DHS and judges, there was just a huge need and we wanted to design a program that's going to walk side-by-side with drug court," he said.

By working so closely with drug courts, the program will provide transportation, counseling and other services and make it easier for those men who are juggling their sobriety and legal issues.

While court-mandated cases can utilize Jeremiah House, Bateman said the program is for any man who needs it.

"We definitely want to let people know we're there and it doesn't matter if you have a court case or not if you need the recovery or you're struggling with addiction or with mental illness we're there for you," Bateman said.

He explained the program will also work with local tribes.

Bateman has worked in case management, mental health and addiction recovery for about 17 years and was the executive director of Jesus House of Oklahoma City.

"I am 19 years sober myself and I just know the struggle and everything and the fact that addiction and mental illness co-exist so it's just my passion in life to help people get a third chance," Bateman said.

The program's name is based on the Biblical principles of Jeremiah 29:11 from the Bible, which is "For I know the plans for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

"We want to give (people) a program that focuses on spirituality, mediation, counseling, eight hour sleep pattern. Stuff that helps your mentality," Bateman said.

The Jeremiah House program is affordable and the average cost to take part is $5,000 and the sober living house cost is $450 in rent with all bills paid for six months.

Eventually, Bateman said he hopes Jeremiah House will become an LLC and will become a more sustainable company.

"The company will provide sustainability for us financially but also offer someone coming out of the program the chance to have a (decent) wage," he said.

At this point in time, he explained he and a few potential employees are running the sober living house, but once the program opens he hopes to have about five other employees.

"We will have licensed practical counselors there to help our men through the program," Bateman said. "Really I envision that this could be a springboard for other small rural towns and communities. I hope in the future that there'll be a Jeremiah House in each small town and community because I know that the need is huge."

The program is open to all men 18 years or older except for registered sex offenders and violent offenders.

Jeremiah House is located at 343016 East 980 Road, Chandler, which is west of Sparks on property that was formerly a church.

For more information, call 405-206-2710 or visit jeremiahhouseok.org/.