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Women Healing Women

A female-focused residential substance use rehabilitation program draws strength and support from the University of Alabama. 

Since 2009, the Reprieve, a year-long residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Opelika, Alabama, has been helping men overcome their substance use addiction and gain life skills by living in a supportive community. There, they not only learn how to reinvent themselves through an initiative recovery program, but they also get on track for the next chapter by preparing to return to college or the workforce.

By situating itself near Auburn University, the program is able to feed off of the vibe of the collegiate recovery community and partner with the school for services.

Based on the success of this program, the Reprieve founders decided to start a similar program focused on women. A Reprieve for Women opened in Fall 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, about 20 minutes south of where the Crimson Tide rolls. The women’s program is six months in length, with an optional additional six months of community living. Like the men’s program, emphasis is placed on spirituality, community and self. It accommodates an intimate setting of 16 women who come to the program from across the nation.

The 12 Step Immersion recovery residence is founded on the ideology that addiction is a disease that has a solution spiritual in nature.

Its goal is to assist women in obtaining the skills and tools needed to live through recovery as productive members of a community where service to others is the focal point.

Recovery Campus caught up with Reprieve for Women administrator Leigh Belcher to discover the special considerations the program takes for women in recovery and how the power of peer support and spirituality is essential to forming a new, sober life.

Recovery Campus: Why is it important to have a treatment facility that is specific to women?

Leigh Belcher: Women have specific issues related to recovery. These issues are often served most effectively in a gender-specific, intimate setting. This allows for each individual to feel the safety that they need to explore issues related to the core of this disease. I think that it is best described by one of our current residents when she recently said, “This is the first place that I’ve been able to feel safe enough to see that dealing with the messiness of my life is a fertilizer to my growth instead of a reason to run and protect.” We feel privileged to provide such a unique intimate setting for these young women.

RC: What made Tuscaloosa an ideal location for the Reprieve for Women?

LB: The idea behind The Reprieve is to place programs in towns that are close to college campuses so clients can engage with the collegiate recovery community and return to school if they choose.

We found a great property in Tuscaloosa, not far from the University of Alabama, where a young recovery community launched in the fall of 2016. This allows the women to begin the fellowship of recovery with similar-aged individuals.

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