Sean Conroy with his daughter.
September 19, 2013 (Clackamas, Ore.) — Sean Conroy, 41, knows firsthand the toll that substance abuse and violence can take on a family. For years, he cycled in and out of jails and institutions. But he found support and solace through Iron Tribe, a Portland-area "recovery network" of more than 300 formerly incarcerated people who help one another transition successfully into society.
"Iron Tribe holds me accountable to my present and future," Conroy says.
The heart of Iron Tribe's work is in peer-delivered services. Trained peer mentors help clients navigate the many systems – legal, mental health and addiction, and child welfare – they may face upon release from prison or jail. They attend court dates, help members locate meetings and services, and supervise visitations.
"They are helping me learn the skill sets to become a productive, law-abiding member of society." ~ Sean Conroy
The result? A sense of community and accountability that leads to low recidivism rates and high rates of family reunification among clients.
This month, Conroy counts over 19 months of sobriety and has successfully completed outpatient drug and alcohol treatment. He is a trained and verified Peer Support Specialist and earned a 3.29 GPA in his second term of college. He is the house manager at an Iron Tribe clean-and-sober family house where he lives with his 8 year-old-daughter.
"They are helping me learn the skill sets to become a productive, law-abiding member of society," he says.