By definition, COMMUNITY means a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common; a feeling of fellowship with others who share common attitudes, interests and goals. I believe the women at Freedom Recovery Community (FRC) embody those two definitions. They are connected to each other not just by address but in heart, mind and spirit also. Much like the women we serve in other programs at The Next Door, the women/moms we serve at FRC all have common themes in their past such as mental illness, homelessness, history of incarceration, substance abuse/addiction, inconsistent employment and broken families. They have received treatment for their mental health disorder and/or their addiction and are ready to work on living in recovery independently. But they are scared and worried and they still need the extra support that they can find from the community of peers as well as staff at FRC.
It is an absolute pleasure to be on the small team at FRC! Currently we have 21 women and 21 children who reside on Clifton Avenue full time (and an additional 6 children who visit with their moms on weekends.) No two days are alike at FRC because just as our other programs, we experience many highs and lows of everyday life with our families. Looking back at last week, here is a snapshot of the highs and lows experienced in a typical day:
Telling the women to have a good day as they head out to work
Celebrating that someone has 6 months clean and sober
Listening to the women when they hear that another friend has lost their battle to this disease
Teaching a mom to advocate for her child who is being mistreated at school or is not getting their needs met
Educating the women on budgeting and building their credit
Celebrating another clean drug screen (and we do celebrate each one!)
Discussing conflict resolution skills so they may use them in the community, in their families and on their jobs
Helping someone who is working on a paper for their college essay class
Motivating a woman to keep her house clean as an outward sign to her children that they are living a life of recovery
Handing someone their first set of keys to their own apartment home
Holding women accountable for chores, 12-step meeting attendance and paying her rent
Congratulating a client for a promotion on their job or purchasing a car
Assisting a client with getting into substance abuse treatment after learning of a relapse
Coaching a mom through a difficult discussion with their child
I really enjoy watching the relationships build between the women but it brings me so much joy to watch these recovering women learn to parent, sometimes for the first time. At FRC we have the opportunity to personally connect with the women and children in a way that will hopefully break the cycle of addiction in their families for generations to come.
When I think about Freedom Recovery Community, I recall the verse, Psalm 133:1 which says “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” I am so grateful for the strong, courageous women and their children that choose to live in unity with us at FRC. I pray that God continues to watch over and provide for our community!
Kristy Pomeroy, LBSW serves as Community Services Manager at the Next Door