Women Starting Over is a non-profit sober living home located about an hour north of Dallas in Denton, Texas. The home was founded in 2014 by executive director LoReacy Moses, who has been clean and sober for 15 years, is Master’s-level chemical dependency counselor. Moses opened the house to fulfill a much-needed demand for a sober living that caters to the needs of women in early recovery, including those on medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and with co-occurring mental health and eating disorders.
Accommodations and Amenities
Women Starting Over accommodates seven clients, and two residential managers inside a spacious brick family style home. Clients are paired in double-occupancy furnished rooms, which include twin beds, nightstands, lamps and dressers. The women are paired with the belief that there are therapeutic advantages in co-habitation.
Women are responsible for their own groceries, and meals are prepared in fully equipped kitchen. While Women Starting Over mandates that clients become self-sufficient, and pay for their own food, financially challenged newcomers with limited resources are taken to food banks and farmers markets to get food, and fresh produce. Clients with eating disorders are monitored, and all residents are taught nutritional education.
Amenities include Wi-Fi, cable TV, bedding, towels and a security camera and lock system. The house is within three miles of public transportation, but two daily rides to the bus stop are provided. Smoking is permitted outside in designated areas only. The house plan includes a separate mother-in-law suite, where Moses resides.
Rules and Regulations
Moses prefers, potential clients to have completed inpatient or outpatient treatment, or be currently enrolled in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), but all new residents are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Women Starting Over also accepts criminal justice clients. During intake, clients and staff compile an exit plan, which will be implemented in case of relapse. A 90-day minimum length of stay is required, and the maximum duration for residency is one year.
Women Starting Over accepts women on Suboxone and vivitrol, only if they are on a step down medication-assisted treatment program, with the intention of eventually achieving total sobriety. Those on a maintenance protocol are not accepted. The Suboxone which is administered daily is stored and locked in the house managers’ quarters. Residents take their meds under strict supervision, as prescribed. The vivitrol is administered at a doctor’s office on a monthly basis.
Residents progress through a level system, which includes four phases. During the first level, clients are not allowed contact with any family members, except for their children. Their phone conversations are monitored. They must obtain a sponsor within 48 hours, and acquire a full-time job within two weeks of their arrival. Clients are responsible for their own fees starting with the sixth week of residency. Residents remain on level one until they have completed the fifth step. Additionally, they receive extra reading material, watch educational videos on addiction and perform service work which teaches them accountability. Typically, most women complete level one within two weeks. During level two, they complete their step work, and start working with newcomers.
Level three is about outreach. During this time, they continue work with their sponsors, as well as with newcomers in the house. They practice steps 11 and 12. Additionally, they receive career development support, and if desired, enroll in classes at the local community college, which works closely with the house. During level four, clients are qualified to be junior house managers. During this time, they open a savings account, and meet with Moses on a regular basis to discuss budgeting as well as a repayment schedule. They must pay back family members or friends who have paid their sober living fees. Other requirements include being at the house meeting, attending three weekly 12-step meetings, talking with sponsors on a daily basis and performing household chores. Clients attending outpatient treatment can use group therapy towards the weekly meeting quota. During the house meeting, clients review and discuss their weekly progress.
At Women Starting Over, random drug and alcohol screening is conducted. Residents who relapse have 15 minutes to leave the house. The exit plan goes into effect, which includes phoning an emergency contact or calling a cab. This plan ensures that the women land at a safe destination. Relapsed clients are admitted back on a case-by-case basis. Those not ready for sober living are referred to several local residential treatment facilities. The curfew changes as women progress through different levels, but all residents must be home 8 pm Mondays through Thursdays.
Clients have access to weekly individual therapy with Moses off the premises, at an additional cost. Other services include a life skills curriculum, which is comprised of nutritional education, relational and family wellness, financial management and stress management and referrals to community resources.
Women Starting Over has a scholarship program for a limited number of financially challenged clients who exhibit a strong willingness to stay clean and sober, and work a program of recovery.
With Moses at the helm, clients at Women Starting Over are in excellent hands. This house is perfect for women who need that extra support and structure. Not only do women work on their steps but they become empowered, thanks to the life skills curriculum. By the time they leave the house, they are working and on their way to becoming independent, which is essential in early recovery. Women Starting Over does not disclose their address, for the safety and privacy of clients.
Women Starting Over
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