The Women’s Recovery Association started out in 1964 as a support group for female alcoholics facilitated by a nun in San Mateo, California. It held weekend retreats for several years until an official outpatient center opened in 1972. The first of several residential facilities opened in 1974 and the rest is history. The Women’s Recovery Association is now a reliable fixture of the San Francisco Bay Area recovery landscape.
Accommodations and Food
Women’s Recovery Association has two basic residential treatment houses, Laurel House and The Elms, and one residential house, Hillside House, designated for expectant mothers or women with children. All of the homes are located in quiet, residential neighborhoods of San Mateo.
The original residential home, the Laurel House, is equipped to house 12 women and, after renovations in 2008, hosts modern kitchens and bathrooms with new fixtures and a nicely landscaped yard area. Women sleep in twin beds and share rooms. Opened in 1980 and fixed up in 2010, The Elms can host 15 women and also boasts a new kitchen as well as handicap accessibility. Hillside House opened in 1994, received a fresh paint job in 2009 and houses up to 12 pregnant women or mothers with children (up to age five). There is a playground for young kids in the backyard.
The women are not allowed to bring any outside food or drink into the facilities. The food served is health-conscious and the cooks are more than willing to accommodate special diets and allergies.
Treatment and Staff
Detox is not available at Women’s Recovery Association but it is willing to facilitate the process elsewhere for clients who would like to begin the program. The 60- to 90-day treatment at the residential facilities is based on the Social Model, focusing on the community as the primary source of healing from addiction. This therapeutic method seeks to create a sense of peer support, belonging, shared responsibilities, accountability, and respect for different cultures and belief systems. Twelve-step recovery and abstinence are the foundations of the program. Alumni regularly participate in on-site 12-step meetings, even arranging for guest speakers.
Group therapy and educational groups occur four days a week and usually take up three to five hours of those days. The groups are both therapeutically oriented and psycho-educational, covering relapse prevention, addiction and other related topics. Even smaller groups explore eating issues, post-trauma recovery, parenting (if applicable) and social anxiety. Parenting and life skills are a more regular part of the programming at Hillside House; the perinatal treatment component is committed to breaking the cycle of drug use and addiction.
Individual therapy and psychotherapy services are also part of the programming but the amount of hours per week can vary. Clients with co-occurring disorders are welcome at any Women’s Recovery Association residence but the medical professionals who are treating them must be in full communication with the client and the in-house counselors.
Outpatient services are also offered through the Women’s Recovery Association network. This is a weekly program with up to 18 hours of group therapy. Individual therapy and continued care are available for these clients and/or anyone who’s completed one of Women’s Recovery Association’s more intense treatment programs. In addition to the residential treatment facilities, Women’s Recovery Association runs Juniper House, a transitional home providing safe, supportive sober living to women in recovery.
A clinical team of licensed MFTs, all guided by a staff psychiatrist, leads the staff at Women’s Recovery Association. MFT interns and chemical dependency counselors fully-versed in dual diagnosis issues support this team.
Family programming happens with the Family and Friends Group every Wednesday at Women’s Recovery Association’s nearby counseling center, but family and friends are not allowed to visit residents until they have been in treatment for at least two weeks.
The alumni of Women’s Recovery Association help to facilitate the extra perks that come with treatment at one of their residences. They are very active in inspiring current clients with their own sober, healthy, post-treatment lives, leading community service projects and organizing recreational outings such as camping trips, bowling nights and AA conventions.
A unique offering at Women’s Recovery Association is the bi-weekly “Treatment Readiness” group, centered around coming to terms with addiction and making preparations to be completely abstinent, sort of like trying on sobriety for size.
Women’s Recovery Association does not accept health insurance at this time but San Mateo residents are eligible to receive funding through government programs and all private pay clients are charged on a sliding scale. The active alumni involvement, longstanding history in the community and expansive recovery network affiliated with Women’s Recovery Association make this entity a solid resource for women looking to get sober in San Mateo County.
Women’s Recovery Association Location
1818 Gilbreth Rd, Ste 230
Burlingame, CA 94010
Women’s Recovery Association Cost
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