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Magdalene Serenity House has a lot to be thankful for this year. We have a full house with eight residents. Three residents are preparing for Phase Three of the program (see below), four residents are in Phase Two, and one resident is in Phase One. In the last year we have truly created a community of healing. All of our residents have received safe housing, medical care, dental care, individual and group therapy, life-skills training, and assistance with financial planning. Thank you for all of your support!

Holidays can be Tough

While joy and happiness are associated with holidays, many people who have experienced trauma and addiction may struggle during this time of year. People in recovery will have to learn new strategies to cope with holiday stress as well as having drug free celebrations. At MSH, we are developing holiday traditions to support residents in their sober lifestyles.

Smart Recovery lists three characteristics of people who achieve lifelong sobriety during challenging times:

  1. They make a firm commitment to abstinence.
  2. They make lifestyle changes to enhance that commitment.
  3. They plan and practice for urges and drinking situations.

MSH residents have made firm commitments, lifestyle changes, and plans to prevent relapse but are also aware that holidays can present triggers. Please think of people in recovery this season and recognize that they may be facing their first holidays sober.

Phase Work at MSH

There are four phases of development at MSH. Residents are expected to adhere to program guidelines that describe requirements of each phase. Before residents move to the next phase, they create a portfolio demonstrating their accomplishments throughout the program. Portfolios may include: a relapse prevention plan, examples of lifestyle changes, and evidence of a financial plan. The program staff review portfolios and approve the move to the next phase.

Phase One (0-6 months)
The first phase is very structured. Each resident is focusing on recovery from addiction and healing from trauma. They are required to attend 90 peer support recovery groups in the first 90 days and obtain a sponsor who will assist them in working through the Twelve Steps of AA. Residents are referred for individual counseling and health and dental care. Intensive programming is provided by program staff, volunteers, and contracted providers.

Phase Two (6-12 months)
After meeting the requirements for Phase One, residents move to Phase Two where they continue to focus on recovery and healing from trauma. In addition residents begin to explore employment opportunities and secure employment. Program staff assist residents with resumes and prepare them for interviews. Once employed, residents are required to develop a budget and open a savings account. Residents who do not have a high school education are assisted to register to complete their GED. Residents must maintain at least 15 hours of programming and continue to attend AA meetings. Additional privileges in Phase Two include being able to purchase a cell phone and have overnight family visitation.

Phase Three (12-24 months)
This phase is the period of time for residents to demonstrate life skills and leadership skills as they prepare to live an independent, sober life. Residents focus strongly on relapse prevention strategies and financial planning. These residents work with newer residents to help integrate them into the Magdalene community and set goals for their time in the program.

Phase Four (24 months and beyond)
After successfully completing Phase Three, residents will graduate. Additional requirements include having saved a minimum of $500, being employed, securing safe, permanent housing, and maintaining a sober lifestyle. Residents who graduate will continue to participate in MSH activities and serve as mentors for residents.

Community Reintegration

Women who have experienced trauma, incarceration, and/or substance use often have a difficult time reintegrating into the community causing recidivism and relapse rates to be high. Counseling and treatment for substance use disorder give women better opportunity for success. Another protective factor for women is to develop a positive social support network. While MSH residents have strong ties within the recovery community, it is important that they also have support from others in the community. That is one of the reasons that volunteers are so important to the program. Volunteers are available to provide support and connections beyond the house and AA. The stronger the social network, the more likely residents are to be successful. MSH volunteers are instrumental in working with residents to develop social skills and build connections in the larger community.

Volunteer Spotlight

Tina Moore moved to Fayetteville with her husband, Paul Green, in 2016 from Springfield, Missouri. She began working with Magdalene before our house opened.

Tina enjoys time with family and friends, hiking, reading, and traveling. She also enjoys coming to the morning circle, doing yoga and meditation with MSH residents, and providing rides to appointments and work.

When asked why she loves volunteering, Tina replied: “I love hanging out with the residents, and sharing our stories and dreams. I always come away feeling like they are the ones demonstrating strength and love, and I end up being the one who benefits.”

Interested in volunteering? Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at liz@lovehealsnwa.org

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