In January of 2014 Judith Roberts, a recovering alcoholic and attorney, founded Hope Manor in Bismarck, North Dakota. It is the only female-only sober living house in the entire state. After witnessing the struggles other women were facing after they completed inpatient treatment and had to return to unsafe living situations or deal with the wreckage of their past alone, she felt moved to help. Roberts knew there was a need in her community for a structured sober living environment for women in early recovery. While Roberts worked on establishing Hope Manor, she was also trying to get her own life back together. She found by being of service to other women, her own recovery was strengthened.
Accommodations and Amenities
Hope Manor is comprised of two houses, which are charming historic, beautifully furnished two story homes in updated Craftsman style. Each house accommodates between 10 and 12 clients, with up to four women sharing bunk beds in each bedroom. One home features a private tranquil back deck and courtyard setting complete with small pond while the other has a nice expanse of lush lawn and a fire pit. Smoking is permitted outside the houses, where women often congregate and have coffee.
The houses have flat screen TVs, cable and Wi-Fi and linens, paper goods and basic cleaning supplies are all provided. The women are expected to purchase are prepare their own food in the fully-equipped kitchens and family-style dining is encouraged. Each house has a live-in manager and assistant, who are volunteers but are provided with free rent.
Rules and Regulations
Women of any age are welcome at Hope Manor and the clients range from 18 and 55 years old. All residents must contribute to the expenses of the house. The 30-day cost is $500, and typically the rent is paid on a bi-weekly basis. Residents must either seek employment, be enrolled in school or be active in volunteer work and have some other means of financial support. Special exceptions are sometimes allowed, based on individual assessment and the current financial ability of Hope Manor. The suggested length of stay is between six months and a year.
Other requirements include attending a minimum of seven 12-step meetings per week, getting a home group, a sponsor and working the steps. Several gender-specific AA meetings and step studies are provided on the premises each week. Clients must perform all their assigned household chores and inform managers of their departure and arrival times any time they leave the house. The resident managers at Hope Manor conduct random drug and alcohol testing during the week. Should a client test positive, she must vacate the premises within three hours. Hope Manor maintains an 11 pm curfew Sundays through Thursdays and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Additionally, men are not allowed on the premises.
The atmosphere is similar to a sober sorority house, with the women forming sister-like bonds with one another. Residents in both houses regularly plan barbecues and social events together. They also carpool to attend AA and NA dances, conventions and other fun events.
Just because Hope Manor is the only show in town for women’s sober living in Bismarck, doesn’t mean it’s not a class act. This house really cares about its clients. Not only that, but the homes are pretty much self-supported by the residents, who become like one big family. For women who are looking for a 12-step-based sober living house as well as a chance to build new and lasting friendships in recovery, this is a great fit.
PO Box 1301
Bismarck, ND 58502
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Photo courtesy of HopeManorND