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Women beating substance abuse through three-phase plan

By Bev Davis

Doing some holiday decorating with activities director-case manager Linda Lane at the MOTHER program on the grounds of Pinehaven Homeless Services in Beckley are, from left, Jennifer, Stephanie and Penny, whose last names are not used in order to protect the identities of their families. An open house Dec. 9 will enable the public to learn more about this program that helps women deal with substance abuse issues. C.L.Garvin/THE REGISTER-HERALD

You don’t have to be a mother to participate in an
FMRS-sponsored program that helps women
combat substance abuse.

The Maternal Options Toward Healthy Recovery or
MOTHER program is an intensive substance abuse
treatment program for women.

“One of the misconceptions because of the acronym
MOTHER, is that you have to be a mother to receive services.
Actually, the program is for any female 18 or older who has a substance
abuse problem and wants help,” said Linda Lane, activities director-case manager.

The program combines resources from FMRS Health Systems, Pinehaven Homeless Services, which houses and provides meals for the women, and a variety of health care and social service resources. The program phases women through a three-part recovery effort and long-range follow-up measures, Lane said.

Using a multi-faceted approach, the program moves new clients into a six-week phase of intensive recovery. They must regularly attend Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous and participate in intensive recovery groups, such as skill groups, parenting groups and recreational activities.

“Our efforts are all designed to help women deal with the emotional issues that have led to their addictions,” Lane said. “We want the community to know more about who we are and what we have to offer.”

The public will get the opportunity to do just that when the program hosts an open house Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

“This is an opportunity for people to come to the facility, enjoy some refreshments, look over materials that tell about our program and ask questions,” Lane said.

She hopes to see more referrals to the agency as people become more aware of its scope of services.

“When women first come in, they battle a sense of low self-esteem, and some of them have built up a tough image to hide their true feelings. We help them to identify and deal with all those survival mechanisms they have built up over the years. Once they learn how those emotions and attitudes contribute to addictive behaviors, the women can begin to work on those issues,” Lane said.

The program provides physical and dental care, good nutrition information and help in learning to adopt and maintain healthy habits.

“Drugs and alcohol take a toll on a woman’s appearance, which can contribute even more to their low self-esteem. Some of them lose interest in the way they look. In order to help them get better, we have to help them feel better about themselves so they can find the motivation to tackle the other problems,” Lane said.

Although some women who live in the community can commute to Pinehaven to take part in the program, many clients are housed on the third floor during the first phase of their recovery program.

“They can learn to live in a group setting and deal with different kinds of personalities. They can also learn from one another and help each other stay motivated,” Lane said. “It’s all way of preparing them to live in the community later on.”

During an advanced recovery phase that lasts for six weeks, women attend recovery groups, women’s issues groups, health relationship-building groups and take weekly trips to the Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA and continue with AA and NA meetings and recreational opportunities.

From 6 to 7 p.m. each Thursday, the MOTHER program offers a family group.

“Substance abuse affects the whole family meeting, and our goal in these meetings is to help family members understand the nature of addictive behaviors and help them to avoid enabling the client to remain in the addiction,” Lane said.

Women move into the 12-week extended care phase in which clients must be employed, in school or job training full time or doing volunteer work in the community. The group meets one evening each week. The focus of discussion is how clients are coming along with implementing their long-term recovery plans, developing healthy relationships within the family and building strong support systems,” Lane said.

Women are drug-tested frequently throughout the program.

“Recovery from substance is a long, slow process and involves many facets of help and support,” Lane said. “We want to see these women kick their habits for good and go back into the community to live happy, healthy productive lives.”

The program is funded, in part, by the state of West Virginia, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

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