At the halfway point between Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga is a residential treatment center where women struggling with substance abuse and addiction—and all the life problems that come along with it—can take refuge and begin their recovery process with the caring staff at A New Beginning (ANB). Situated in Sheffield, Alabama, several hours from the big city, this all-female alcohol and drug rehab doesn’t just treat addiction; it helps women get back on their feet through GED education, parenting classes, vocational rehab and sober living.
A New Beginning opened just three years ago and is the brainchild of Executive Director Lucie Bowen, a former New Yorker who studied psychology at Hunter College and had a vision of wanting to help women deal with the struggles of addiction. The treatment program is 12-step based and offers its 13 clients (on average) access to sponsorship and outside meetings. However, ANB is not a one-size-fits-all program—it believes in using a mixture of treatments for the mind, body and spirit and tailor-making every women’s journey at ANB her own.
Accommodations & Food
The accommodations are homey and uplifting. Formally the Webster Hotel & Suites, the newly renovated residential building offers colorful and inspiring rooms for women, allowing them to personalize their living space for the ultimate feeling of comfort. Televisions and personal cell phone and computers are not allowed but clients are allowed to have iPods to listen to music on the weekends (must bring headphones). There is a community TV that is used for scheduled movie nights and special events. The facility also has an on-site fitness room and exercise is allowed during free time, which is before 9 am or after 4 pm daily. There is no pool on-site.
The food at ANB is described as basic and home-style. However, residents are allowed to cook for themselves and each other.
Treatment and Staff
Upon admission, new clients are given a personal evaluation by one of ANB’s trained and qualified addiction counselors wherein a plan of recovery is mapped out. Although every client is different, A New Beginning adheres to a three-phase structure when appropriate. These phases include the structure phase—which provides clients with a daily schedule, from 9 pm to 4 pm, of therapy groups, classes, and counseling. This also includes a 16-week certified parenting program (if applicable), relapse prevention classes, group therapy, individual counseling, life skills and anger management, family group and education, HIV awareness program, 12-step meetings, GED classes (if necessary), Workforce certificate and college coursework. During this phase, peer support specialist and addiction counselor live at the residential facility and are available for guidance any time of the day or night.
After the structure phase is complete, clients move on to the transitional phase, which adds employment opportunities through linkage with Alabama Vocational Rehabilitation, as well as more functioning within the outside world. The purpose of this phase is to ease newly sober clients back into real life while maintaining continued support through counseling, groups and peer advocacy. This helps clients build self-esteem, gain confidence and properly adjust to their new life.
The third phase is the sober living phase, which ANB aims for all their clients to get to. This is where women are moved into independent living with other sober women but maintain accountability to the program to help them stay on track. This is a crucial phase in long-term sobriety as it sets women up to learn how to love themselves and be proud of their self-sufficiency. The program still provides counseling for clients on an as needed basis.
There are five CPSS (Certified Peer Support Specialists) on staff as well as one Registered Nurse who does medication management and one LSW. They also have a spiritual director on staff that strives to help the women of ANB develop or strengthen their relationship with God or a Higher Power.
ANB believes in a well-rounded program treating all aspects of the mind, body and spirit that are affected by addiction. For this reason, it offers alternative holistic treatments as a part of the program. These include art therapy, music therapy, activity therapy and equine therapy. However, unlike many holistically motivated rehabs out there, ANB doesn’t offer yoga or anything of the like. Meditation is only introduced and practiced as a part of the 12 steps, not as an integrated part of the program.
While alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation are the focus on ANB at this time, it has aspirations to eventually treat women who are battling other disorders as well as struggling with dual diagnosis (mental illness and addiction). Since the program at ANB is for women and run by women, it hopes to also implement a women and children’s program in the future.
A New Beginning
4205 Hatch Blvd
Sheffield, AL 35660
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