Dedication and sacrifice are two things every business owner knows. Doug Leech, founder and CEO of Ascension Recovery Services and West Virginia Sober Living (WVSL), formerly Morgantown Sober Living (MSL), talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about what it means to be a successful business owner.

West Virginia Sober Living and the sober living program is designed to reintegrate recovering individuals into the world.

Ascension Recovery Services is a full-service suite of recovery assistance from program development in residential treatment centers, intensive outpatient programs and sober living homes to intervention services. Ascension is proud of a strong track record of successful program development projects, interventions and a growing list of recovering families.

As a business owner, there is no nine to five day.

“Pretty much everyone I come into contact with that is my age or younger, wants to make the bigger paycheck. They want to have their own business. They want to have more responsibility,” Leech said. “The vast majority of these folks want to come to work at nine o’clock, and at five o’clock, you better get out of the way or you’re going to get Successful business ownerrun over. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to outwork everybody else.There is no such thing as a 9-5 when you own your own business.”


“My days start really early and end very late. I love my wife and son, and I have the ability to take them to other states that I work in, and I certainly make time for them, but I think you need to go into this thinking that no one is going to out work you,” Leech advised. “And, if you do this, I think you stand a better shot.

Learn how to deal with backlash.

You can not please everyone. As a business owner, you will need to learn how to deal with public concern and backlash. Leech talked with Matuga about the first sober living home he opened in Morgantown, West Virginia.

“I was going to open up the first sober home in downtown Morgantown at 206 Spruce Street, and while the majority of the community was in full support and recognized what a big problem we had, not only in the state but in our county, there were a lot of folks that not only opposed me, but filed lawsuits against me,” Leech said. “They said things like we were going to be laying drunks in the street. We were going to be kidnapping children walking across the bridge. I mean pretty horrendous things.

It’s hard enough to get a business started. Not only were we a start-up business wanting to ensure we provided excellent care for those in recovery while being financially sustainable, we had people in the community suing us and trying to prevent us from opening.”

Leech and his team learned how to deal with this type of backlash. By thinking about the bigger picture and the people that they were and are helping, everything turned out alright in the end.

Leech and his team got over the public perception and let people know what they were doing through education. Ascension Recovery Services is currently operating in West Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, California and Maryland.

Leech was a guest on The Positively West Virginia Podcast. Listen to his full podcast here.


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