Located about an hour from Montgomery in Jacksonville, Alabama WADE Freedom House provides transitional living for women inside a large farm-style house nestled on acres of countryside. Founded in 2005 by husband-and-wife team Wayne and Debbie Musselman, who are both in recovery, the home is a labor of love. While the Musselmans have different perspectives on the recovery process, both believe that WADE Freedom House was a sign to them from God, to help other newly clean and sober women who have suffered loss in their lives.
Accommodations and Amenities
WADE Freedom House has a 37-bed capacity. Accommodations range, depending on the number of clientele, but women are typically lodged in double or triple-occupancy furnished rooms. Clients are responsible for their own groceries, however those in need have access to a pantry stocked with donated food items, which can be used until the women get work or acquire food stamps. Clients are assisted with the food stamp application process.
Amenities include house computers, cable TV with restricted access, vending machines, payphones, and laundry facilities. Cellphones are not allowed. Payphone privileges are limited, and available after two weeks. Staff lives on the premises.
Rules and Regulations
Clients must have undergone detox and be medically stable. After filling out an online application, an interview, usually over the phone, is conducted. The admission fee is $250, but some clients who don’t have money are admitted. Once they get work, WADE Freedom House takes 75% of their wages. Often these clients have a longer stay, due to the fact that they have to get caught up on rent and fees. Length of stay is typically six months, but some women stay longer.
Requirements are designed to help clients get their lives back together, learn basic life skills, get work and maintain a 12-step program. Upon arrival, clients enter a blackout period. They may only leave the house if going to church, a meeting, work or heading over to the social services office or to apply for food stamp benefits, which is required for unemployed clients. During the outings, they are chaperoned by another designated resident. During this period, they must acquire a social security card and picture ID, if appropriate.
Also, the women in phase one have to read the preface, and the first 71 pages of the Big Book. After this time, a face-to-face interview is conducted, to review their progress and to determine if they can continue their stay. Residents must be up and out of bed by 6:30 am Mondays through Fridays, and 7 am Saturdays and Sundays. Requirements include participating in daily morning meditation, performing household chores and daily writing in a journal. Clients must acquire work, and if on disability, must volunteer a minimum of 25 hours per week.
Job leads are provided, and often clients work at local fast food restaurants. Work shifts must be between the hours of six am and six pm. The women are not allowed to work in establishments that sell alcohol. At WADE Freedom House, clients work two recovery protocols, including a 12-step program and Christian recovery, which utilizes the eight recovery principles based on the Beatitudes from the Book of Matthew. Women work the steps for both programs.
On Sundays, they attend a local Baptist church, and on other days, they participate in AA/NA meetings. House meetings are also required. Visitors are never allowed, and after 30 days, clients are permitted with limited passes that allow them to see their children and other members of their immediate family. A super scrub event is conducted on Sundays to ensure that the house is immaculate. Random drug and alcohol screenings are conducted and women who are found to be using are immediately evicted from the premises. Urine screenings are $20, and the drug test is $50. Clients are responsible for those fees. The non-refundable admission fee is $250, and a 30-day cost is $500.
Transportation is provided at a cost of $6 per ride. Criminal justice clients or those without funds are provided with transportation or bus passes, free of charge. Personal hygiene items are also provided for financially challenged clients.
While some of the rules appear to be strict, and some clients might not be too keen about the faith-based aspect of this program, the rules are enforced with the idea of helping women who have hit rock bottom get back on their feet. During their stay, they learn structure, accountability and self-sufficiency. A majority of the women who arrive at WADE Freedom House have kids, and some have lost custody. Thanks to WADE Freedom House, many of these women are reunited with their families, and in time, they are able to re-claim custody of their children.
WADE Freedom House
932 Maple Lane
Jacksonville, AL 36265
Wade Freedom House Cost: $500 (30 days, not including a $250 non-refundable admission fee, and drug and alcohol screening fees). Reach WADE Freedom House by phone at (256) 435-5010 or by email. Find WADE Freedom House on Facebook and LinkedIn
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