As those of us who are affected know, the disease of addiction is a matter of life or death. For many, the living environment has imprisoned us in an interminable sentence to the only life we have ever known. Whether it be at home in the suburbs with husbands and children or on the city streets, numerous, futile attempts to get sober have left many women despairing, confused and hopeless. The Edna House provides a safe, sober environment where a woman’s basic needs for food, clothing and safety are met, freeing her to focus solely on her program of recovery.
There are four phases making up our program. Our goal is to provide woman with the tools they need for a lifetime of freedom from the disease of alcoholism and chemical dependency. From the first day of admission to our program, a woman is immersed in the local recovery community and begins building the foundation for her future, continued sobriety.
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For some, the process must begin with medically supervised detoxification from the substance(s) they have become dependent upon. Through collaboration with other facilities in the area, we have priority status for Edna House clients to receive these services. The most successful scenario for a recovering woman is a connection to further treatment, so networking with these detox centers is a vital part of setting the wheels of recovery into motion.
After being medically cleared, a woman is admitted into the first phase of our program where she will remain for approximately three months. During this time, she is not permitted to work, have a car or tend to any “outside” business. She will attend four, daily in-house group meetings which are facilitated by our staff and volunteers from the local recovery community. Discussion topics include early recovery dynamics and principles, anger management, stress management, parenting and family issues as well as trauma recovery. Each evening, she will attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings with other recovering women from the community. She will also be required to participate in volunteer opportunities, which may include such activities as feeding the homeless, assisting the local parish with special events, and transporting holiday meals to home-bound individuals. She will also assist and participate in all our fundraising-related activities. GED classes are mandatory if she has not graduated from high school, and our job skills program helps to prepare the ladies for reintegration into society. Understanding that a woman entering our program is scared, confused and undisciplined, the purpose of this phase is an intense focus on change through education, group sharing and individual support.
A woman moves into phase two when she begins to incorporate some of the recovery principles she has been learning about into her daily life. During this phase she will be provided job skills training and linkage to employment opportunities, and will then be required to obtain and maintain employment. Each woman is given adequate time and support during this delicate transition, remaining accountable to follow all the program rules and expectations. She will be required to attend six AA meetings, one aftercare session every week and will continue to adhere to a curfew and progressively less restrictive rules throughout her remaining stay. Phase two works to gently re-integrate a woman back into a healthy, safe and responsible life while gaining practical experience using her recovery tools, all within the safety and security of our structured living environment. Each resident is encouraged to maintain their support groups and relationships with AA sponsors while gaining personal practical experience. This phase lasts a minimum of three months but women are encouraged to stay as long as they feel necessary. Recovery can be a slow process, but with willingness, commitment and perseverance, years of damage can be repaired.
The last phase is an extension of our original program for women who have completed phase two are ready for less structure in their lives but prefer to remain involved in the Edna House community. Our current phase three house is located just off the Edna House Campus, giving the women more freedom and autonomy while allowing them to remain in a safe, sober, nurturing environment. These ladies continue to maintain their support groups and relationships with AA sponsors, and learn to become mentors themselves to other women in the early stages of the program.