Renewal House helps addicted mothers defeat their demons

Mothers dealing with substance abuse problems often can’t provide the care their children need. But who cares for the children when the mother decides to get help?

Through Renewal House, a Nashville nonprofit organization, women with alcohol and drug addictions can receive support to help them enter a healthy sober lifestyle with their children. Renewal House’s model focuses on a continuing relationship and provides three different paths to recovery: a 12- to 15-week licensed intensive outpatient program; a two-year family residential recovery program; and long-term/permanent independent recovery apartments.

A Renewal House resident. (Provided by Renewal House)

Gifts can be made to Renewal House through Dec. 31, 2012.

The residential program, the organization’s flagship, provides a safe and supportive place for mothers to heal with their children.

In a North Nashville apartment complex, the women live with their children in their own apartments and receive professional support through on-site therapy sessions, parenting classes and life skills training—all within a community of women also in recovery. The on-site professionals, among them a psychiatric nurse practitioner supplied by the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, use evidence-based practices to break the cycle of addiction in a holistic, family-focused manner.

Nearly 600 women and children have gone through Renewal House since 1996. The organization’s success rate is more than three times the national average for cocaine addiction treatment programs, according to Mary Beth Heaney-Garate, director of family residential services.

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“Nobody else is doing quite what we’re doing when it comes to the residential program,” Heaney-Garate said. “It’s profound for the women to have a home of their own and to have their children with them. There’s always a trained counselor downstairs, and they are surrounded by women who are going through what they are. They support each other and it becomes this amazing mentoring community.”

Community giving is tax-deductible and continues through Dec. 31. Payroll deduction makes it easy to spread a gift out over 12 months, and deductions begin in January 2013. Visit the Vanderbilt Gives: Building a Community With Hope website for more information about giving options and to make your gift today.