New Recovery Housing for Women Opening in Maine: Sober Living Home Right Where We Need It
‘Safe Harbor,’ a collaboration between Healthy Acadia and the Fresh Start Sober Living House, the first women’s recovery house, will assist females in recovery who are ready to make a transition.
MAINE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — Katie Sell and Hannah Crocker are both hard at work unpacking boxes at 63 Elm Street in Machias on a rainy Thursday morning. They’re putting the finishing touches on ‘Safe Harbor,’ a new sober living residential home for women and children in Washington County run by Healthy Acadia. It’s the only one of its kind in the county.
Crocker told NEWS CENTER Maine, “I’m really happy to have them here — and see how they can develop, and what I can do to help.” Through AmeriCorps, she is serving as the house’s live-in rehabilitation coach. She’s originally from Rhode Island, and this is her first time in Maine. She became an AmeriCorps member as a result of her own personal experiences as an impacted individual, witnessing family and loved ones struggle with addiction and rehabilitation.
“I’ve seen a lot firsthand and (have been) affected by a lot firsthand,” Crocker admitted. “I just want to help other people not go through the same thing as much as I can.”
Katie Sell, the sober living house manager, has a personal connection to Safe Harbor’s goal. She is a recovering substance addict who understands how difficult it is to stop the cycle of substance misuse.
“This house is a house that meets everyone where they’re at,” Sell expressed to NEWS CENTER Maine. “Everyone’s stay, everyone’s recovery plan is going to look different.”
Healthy Acadia, Downeaster Community Partners, Aroostook Mental Health Center, and the Community Caring Collaborative collaborated to create Safe Harbor (all part of the Washington County Substance Use Response Collaborative). The Maine Association of Recovery Residences has approved Safe Harbor as the first recovery residence in Downeast, Maine. It will not provide treatment, but it will connect members with professionals who can help them get on the road to recovery, including medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and primary care.
“Having supportive people in your life who believe in you and coach you and support you is what makes recovery possible,” Sell added.
The Fresh Start Sober Living House in Bangor, which is located a few miles away, is also embarking on a new endeavor. Fresh Start formerly solely served males in its residences, but its newest structure will also serve women. Seven women in recovery from substance abuse will be housed in this new facility. This sober living home, like the structures for its men, is intended to enable those who have recently been released from imprisonment or prison to start anew if they are serious about recovery. Children will be able to visit this residence even if they are not allowed to live there.
“It just becomes more obvious that (this) was the next right thing to do, Scott Pardy, president of Fresh Start, said about the decision to start a women’s house. “There’s very little housing for women in recovery around here.”
“I don’t think I could really put numbers on it, but I could tell you that we’re nowhere close to filling the need,” Fresh Start’s vice president, James Rickrode, elaborated.
The guys claim that the community and drug court were in high demand for the women’s house, so they were able to totally outfit it with donations. Fresh Start evaluates applications to see if they can securely lodge someone without jeopardizing the community’s existing residents. Members must also be engaged in their home community and in an active recovery program.
“This is the one job where my whole brain lights up,” Melissa “Anne” Day, the women’s house manager, smiled. “It just asks everything of me, and I want to do that.”
She explained that she has gone through a long journey with recovery — and wants the residents living at her house to know they are not alone and that women matter.
“It is absolutely possible to find a pathway (to recovery),” Day encouraged.
Residents of Washington and Hancock counties will be helped by Safe Harbor, and women interested in relocating to those areas should apply here. Women interested in living at the Fresh Start Sober Living House should call 207-307-1292 for further information.
Our sober house directory is a great tool to help you find the homes, but it’s up to you to find the right fit. While certification and a good outward appearance is a start, do more digging before you commit. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
While many homes offer fantastic sober living, we’re partial to Vanderburgh House, but that’s because they helped build this directory. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to open a sober house, we would encourage you to reach out to Vanderburgh Communities, the first organization offering sober living charters in the United States. Keep your head up and take it one day at a time!