A Winning Partnership
Based on the success of the Reprieve, a year-long residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for men in Opelika, Alabama, a similar program for women was launched last fall in Tuscaloosa. Both programs are a 12 Step immersion recovery residence founded on the ideology that addiction is a disease that has a solution, which is spiritual in nature.
A Reprieve for Women — a six-month program with an optional additional six-month community living component for women aged 19 to 35— emphasizes spirituality, community and self. “There is a huge gap in services for women, especially in long-term programming,” explains director Leigh Belcher. “Nationwide, there are more programs for young adult males than for emerging adult females. We saw a need.”
Like its brother facility, which is located near Auburn University, a Reprieve for Women is down the road from the University of Alabama, where the women can begin the fellowship of recovery with similar-aged individuals. “The most colorful way we’re involved with the university is through its collegiate recovery community,” Belcher says. The CRC students and women from the Reprieve attend each other’s meetings. The Reprieve also sponsors events like their Christmas dinner and their football tailgate.
The focus on spirituality is key. “Before they came to us, these women have been attempting to fill a void with negative actions like drug use, bad relationships, eating disorders and over-exercising. We’re helping them see that,” says Belcher. “It’s the idea of getting out of themselves and realizing that there’s a power greater than them — whatever that power is — and they can’t control everything. We allow them to decide for themselves how best to fill that void in a way that is spiritually most meaningful for them.”