Todd’s Place sees progress after implementing changes

Suffering a torn ligament seven years ago resulted in Bobby Sizemore having to take pain pills to get some relief.

Instead, he became addicted to them.

On Halloween night in 2016, he had a massive heart attack and went through a quadruple bypass at the age of 35. Again, he was given pain medication and said he became more addicted.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

“I ended up using my medications and buying more to support a habit and at the same time being married to a police officer that I hid it from,” he said. “I would go to work blown out of my mind, but I was a functioning addict is what they call it. I was able to function while being high.”

In May 2018, he overdosed and was declared brain-dead for four and a half days. He also lost everything he had, including his wife and home.

“I was to the point of my life where I was done. I was ready to give up, and I tried to kill myself,” he said. “I literally had killed myself, but I had a doctor that refused to let me die.”

For that, he considers himself lucky to be here today.

“The only thing I can say about that is God, and the doctor said the same thing,” Sizemore said. “He said, ‘I did everything I could, and I prayed for you.’ To have a doctor recognize the power of prayer is awesome. I went from being dead to where I am now.”

While he regrets becoming addicted to pills and trying to kill himself, he said his life changed when he was accepted at Todd’s Place, a nonprofit organization that helps men overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Shortly after graduating from the Seymour facility’s program at the beginning of the year, he was put into a new position — case manager. That gives him the opportunity to meet with residents once a week to go over the goals and priorities they set for themselves.

From getting a job to setting up bank accounts to attending recovery meetings to seeing their children for the first time in awhile, Sizemore is able to help the men achieve their goals.

“Seeing someone go from when they walk in these doors having nothing, broken, they feel like they have no hope to seeing a guy in five months being able to hold a steady job, he’s not doing drugs, he’s getting to see his daughter, it’s an act of God is what it is,” he said. “God is working in their life, and being able to see that is amazing for me.”

Sizemore said he came to Todd’s Place to get better, and now, he’s there serving, giving back and helping men turn their lives around.

“When these guys say, ‘I’m done. I don’t want to live,’ I know what that feeling is like. I’ve been there myself,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to say, ‘Here’s what I did. I got the help. I can show you what I did, and it works.’ I know what it was like to walk in those shoes, and now seeing other guys and helping other guys is one of the most amazing things in my life to be able to help those other people.”

Pastor Kris Hunley, director of operations at Todd’s Place, said adding Sizemore to the staff is among the progress made at the facility in recent months.

Hunley said he had to fire some people after a drug ring was discovered. He eliminated that and brought in Aaron Goodwin as program manager, Tim Baker as assistant program manager, Robert Clark as intake manager and Sizemore as case manager. He has new board members, too.

Todd’s Place also has teamed with the Christian counseling firm Safe Harbor to provide in-house counselors for the residents.

“They are the missing link,” Hunley said. “I couldn’t afford to have counselors, and the guys couldn’t afford to go to (other places for counseling). What Safe Harbor does is they come in and do that. The guys with insurance, like HIP and Medicaid, they bill their insurance so they can get the counseling that they need.”

The counselors talk to the men behind closed doors one-on-one.

“When they open up and they can get that stuff off of them, then they are more apt to be receptive to the love and the surrendering up to the love of God and getting baptized because they are emptying that trash can, so to speak,” Hunley said. “That’s what we thrive on. That’s what we want to do here.”

A baptismal was installed at Todd’s Place four months ago. Since then, more than 15 men have been baptized. Hunley said two more will be baptized Sunday.

A four-phase Bible workbook study is among the additions to the programming at the facility. There are now 28 classes offered, and the program has grown from six months to nine.

“We feel like in six months, you’re just now starting to get some things happening in your life,” Hunley said. “Another three months is giving you more time to be rooted and grounded and knowing the things and picking up and sharpening yourself up, sharpening the tools up and getting a better mindset.”

Improvements also have been made to the building. At one point, Hunley was reaching out to the community to help him pay the bills. While he received some private donations from the community to cover those costs, the upgrade to energy-efficient lighting has drastically decreased the electric bill from as high as $5,000 a month to $1,900. The water and sewer bills have decreased, too.

Hunley also had men leave the facility owing rent — totaling nearly a quarter of a million dollars — so he now has them provide a deposit.

“The reason for that is if somebody’s got something invested in their recovery, they are more apt to do something,” he said. “That eliminated a lot of the riffraff I was getting in here and all of the headaches I was putting on myself.”

The facility had as many as 105 men living there at one time, but there’s now around 60. Hunley said he realized quality is more important than quantity.

“I had so many people in here, people were slipping through the cracks. They weren’t getting what they needed because of the number,” he said. “The Lord, during the time the lights were out, he spoke to me, ‘It’s about quality, and it’s not quantity.’ Now, God has put things in place, and we’re giving them quality time.”

Men who have felonies have been able to be hired by local industries and businesses. Hunley also started his own business, All Around Maintenance, and has some of the men working for him.

“I’ve got a master electrician here in the building and just very talented carpenters and stuff,” Hunley said. “If they go out there and eventually get their confidence back up, they can start their own business.”

The residents also go to a church in Austin on Thursday nights to donate and serve food, they go to a Celebrate Recovery program in Scottsburg and they help at The Alley in Seymour.

“Those guys love going and giving back,” Hunley said. “People are wanting to invest in more things because they are starting to see fruits of what we’re doing. It’s starting to show itself really big, and that tickles me to death.”

With another man graduating from the program Sunday, Todd’s Place is approaching its 100th graduate since opening May 23, 2016.

Hunley stays in touch with the men after they leave, and several have returned to give back or work there.

“I keep most of them programmed in my phone, so from time to time, I’ll ask them how they are doing and things of that nature,” he said. “When they are struggling, we talk. We form a good relationship.”

Hunley has made some personal improvements, too. He earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and substance abuse and is working on his master’s degree in both, and he also earned his doctor of divinity.

“Those are both goals I set when I was in The Salvation Army, and God brought it to completion,” he said. “The only reason I did that is to show (the men at Todd’s Place) that if I can do it, they can do it. A simple old fellow like me, a recovered drug addict … if they look up there and they see my name on that (degree), I say, ‘You can do that, too,’ and I encourage them.”

Hunley is now working on getting the facility certified by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction and Indiana Affiliation of Recovery Residences. The latter will allow him to get Recovery Works money for men coming out of jail or prison to the facility.

He also hopes to take Todd’s Place on the road and have graduates or residents doing well share their stories at local jails.

In May, Todd’s Place is planning a three-year anniversary event at Crossroads Community Park in Seymour. It will be an opportunity to celebrate what has been accomplished and educate the public on the impact the facility is making.

“People thought I would last six months or a year maybe. They thought every time when the electric bill (was behind) and we faced adversity that we were sunk. We’re not. We’re stronger than we ever have been,” Hunley said.

“The big thing I see is these guys really believing in themselves, and they are uplifting each other,” he said. “They are holding their heads up high, and they are actually proud to say they are at Todd’s Place because they know we stand for the right thing and they are getting the right thing and they are getting fed the right hing here. Todd’s Place is flourishing, and we’re still here. It’s just getting better and better and better, and we’re not going anywhere.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Todd’s Transitional Housing Inc., also known as Todd’s Place, is a place for healing and new beginnings for men suffering from various types of addictions.

The motto is “When we help a man, we help a family. When we help a family, we help a neighborhood. When we help a neighborhood, we have been effective in our community.”

The facility is at 4990 N. U.S. 31, Seymour.

To make a donation or for information, call 812-271-1199. Todd’s Place is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so all donations are tax-deductible.