WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Serenity and peace are two of the gifts the Wichita Fellowship Club offers the people stepping through the doors.
Every person seeking help at the alcohol recovery house has their own journey and story.
“I’d be dead,” said Michael Cook, former club resident and current house manager.
“I only weighed 126 pounds when I got here, and I was just slowly drinking myself to death under the bridge,” said Cook.
Hopeless and nowhere else to turn is how Cook describes his life before getting sober in 2016.
“This place saved my life. I was homeless, in prison, in and out of jails; I was lost a little over five years before I came to the fellowship club,” said Cook.
The Wichita Fellowship Club was founded in 1966 by Jim James, a man who wanted to provide a safe environment for alcoholics to rehabilitate.
“We’ve been helping alcoholics get their life back on track,” said Cook.
Cook spent about three years as a club resident and eventually became the house manager.
“Sometimes, I have to keep track of 43 people at times. I have to assign dish duty and house chores,” said Cook.
“I got to make sure people aren’t drinking and aren’t coming back drunk; we breathalyze people quite often because we have zero tolerance at the house,” said Cook.
When the residents are not at the house or working, they can find solace at the 101 Club in Park City.
“I call it our 80-acre sobriety heaven,” said Cook.
It’s a home away from home.
“We fish, camp, we’ve got two beautiful swimming pools, we got volleyball courts, we have horseshoe pits, and it’s, you know, just incredible,” said Cook.
An open space where they can reset and connect.
“When you’re in your head, and you’re thinking it be way better to get a 12 pack and a bottle, then you come out here and watch the sun come up, and you just release all of that,” said Cook.
Sobriety has given Michael things he never had, but it also returned things lost he never thought he’d get back.
“Being back in touch with my family and friends, I got my daughters back in my life,” said Cook.
He knows the struggle, experienced the pain, and has dedicated his life to carrying the message.
“I was trying to quit drinking and didn’t expect to be the manager of the fellowship club, be in touch with all these people, all these different agencies, but would I change it? No way, my life is just so wonderful now. I’m hooked on helping people instead of being hooked on alcohol,” said Cook.
The fellowship club is coed and currently houses six women and 32 men.
The recommended stay is one year but Cook says some stay longer.
The club host sober events like bingo at the 101 club and outside events on holidays.