Grace House for Women, named after founder Sarah Coupe’s daughter Grace, was established after Coupe got clean in 2007. Located in the budding recovery Mecca of Portland, Maine, Grace House provides a safe and sober living environment for newly sober women.
Accommodations and Amenities
The large three-story Georgian-style house features yellow siding with brown trim. The home includes a large kitchen equipped with all utensils, a pantry stocked with non-perishable goods and three refrigerators. There are two sun porches, a living room with a Cable TV and DVD player, a computer room with free hi-speed internet and two bathrooms. One of the sun porches is reserved for smokers. The first phase includes 11 women and two live-in managers. Clients are paired in rooms. Furnishings include two twin beds, two nightstands with two lamps and dressers.
During the second phase, women move into another house that has a 16-bed capacity and two live-in managers. Clients are allowed to bring a canine friend, provided that their fur baby passes a temperament and training test which includes getting along with the house dogs, Jack and Jill, and any other dogs on the premises, as well having good manners around people and food. In both phases, clients purchase their own groceries and prepare their own meals.
Rules and Regulations
Grace House has a highly structured atmosphere that advocates the 12-step approach to recovery. New clients enter into the first phase that lasts between two and six months. Completion of steps one through eight in AA/NA is required during Phase One. Additionally, a client must get a sponsor within her first week of residency, call her daily and meet with the house manager once a week to review her progress. Clients are also asked to refrain from working or engaging in any activities that will prove distracting to their efforts.
Medications including benzodiazepines, Ambien, suboxone, diet pills or any narcotics are not allowed on the premises, with or without a prescription. Expectations include paying rent on time, performing household chores, walking Jack and Jill between two and three times per week, as well as contributing to their basic care, attending a minimum of six weekly 12-step meetings, and being present at all in-house meetings. Attendance at morning meditations is required, unless the client has a meeting with her sponsor. Grace House operates on a zero tolerance policy. Those who test positive on a drug test or breathalyzer will be immediately evicted from the house.
During the second phase, residents receive more leeway. Dog lovers can bring their pooch to the house, as long as the pup passes muster. Pit bulls and other restricted breeds are allowed, as long as they behave like good canine citizens. Clients must complete their steps during this phase. Level two clients have a daily midnight curfew, must seek employment, attend school, work or volunteer in the community.
The 30-day cost for the first phase is $1500, while the 30-day cost for phase two is between $800 and $1,000, depending on the type of bed.
Each resident is given a pass to the Greater Portland YMCA, where amenities include two pools, a sauna, yoga, a gym, and training classes.
The Grace House dogs, Jack and Jill are on hand, allowing residents an opportunity to experience the healing benefits that come from being responsible for the care of a pet. Clients participate in outdoor morning meditation walks, along with Jack and Jill.
Other activities include Friday night massages and movie nights, meditation by the lighthouse at Fort Williams Park or at Mackworth Island State Park, hiking and kayaking.
Grace House sounds like the perfect East Coast abode for women to build a strong foundation in 12-step recovery. While not required, a client should have completed inpatient care at a drug rehab, before heading over there. The clients at Grace House are given tools to learn how to live happy, healthy lives and having Jack and Jill around definitely adds a nice touch to this clean and sober home.
251 Pleasant Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
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