(Forsyth County, GA) Courtney Senados spent two and a half years in and out of sober living homes in California during her struggle with alcoholism. Today, at six years sober, she credits those houses for playing a huge part in helping with her recovery.
When Courtney moved to Forsyth County two years ago, she noticed a glaring hole in the community - the lack of resources and safe living spaces for women intent on overcoming their addictions.
Teaming up with her mother, Kelly Senados (who has 16 years of sobriety), Courtney decided to tackle that problem.
On July 15, Faith House Sober Living opened its doors to its first resident.
“This is really our way to give back to the community,” Courtney said. “...through my experience with sober living, I really feel like I couldn't have come this far without the opportunities and so when I moved to Forsyth I saw a need for that resource in the community.”
Faith House Sober Living
Faith House Sober Living is a year-long recovery program for women struggling with drug or alcohol-related addictions. Throughout the four-step process, each woman will be monitored to ensure accountability, attend meetings and classes to help the recovery process and gain life skills, have one-on-one mentoring sessions, and support with courts, job searching and school.
The house can hold up to seven women at a time. Residents will be allowed to work and attend school during the program with strict oversight.
Courtney said the first stage will start off with heavy accountability and monitoring and then lighten up as the women progress through the rest of the stages.
“For example, for phase one, they are not allowed to leave the premises for 30 days,” Courtney said. “Once you're out of phase one, you can leave the premises but you're signing in and out. There are monitoring cameras in all the common areas, you have to check in daily. So it's really structured, and then once you get to about six months to a year of being sober, and they’re doing everything we said they need to do …they start to get some of their privileges back such as staying out later past 10 p.m., stuff that a regular person doesn't really think about.”
While the standards are very strict at first, Courtney describes the environment as “Independent living and accountability.” Neither Courtney nor her mother live on the premises, but they do check in once a day.
A graduation ceremony will be held for every woman who passes the program.
During her own time in sober living houses, Courtney realized how important one’s environment is when it comes to being successful in addiction recovery. Some of the sober living facilities had poor living conditions and housed people not absolutely dedicated to their recovery.
“It just wasn't motivating,” Courtney said. “And, you know, I wanted to get my life back on track … so when I thought about opening a sober living [house] here, I was like, ‘I want to make this as peaceful and as serene and joyful as I possibly can.’”
Faith House Sober Living is a two-bedroom, three-bathroom ranch-style house located in a quiet neighborhood on about half an acre of land. Residents must have proof of being sober for 30 days before they are admitted to the program and there is a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use.
“It's important, I think, that the community knows it's important when I say we're not a rehab treatment center,” Courtney said. “We're not taking women in who need to detox, who need treatment per se. We’re taking in women who have already committed to sobriety and who need a safe environment to continue that sobriety.”
How to help
Up until now, Faith House has been something entirely funded by Courtney and her mom. They are looking into receiving grants and funding for the program as well as donations and volunteers from the community.
The cost for one woman per month is $900. This covers rent, utilities, the recovery program and transportation assistance. Food is not included. While the resident is ultimately responsible for the fees, Courtney is working to get financial assistance and food coverage set up for every woman interested in the program.
Faith House already has a list of women interested in the program and in need of funding. She has received a couple of calls from women in the Forsyth County Jail, something Courtney hopes to work closely with to provide slots for the female inmates there.
“I have talked to about four women and we're trying to work something out,” Courtney said. “I know that the funding is an issue for some of them. So we're trying to use all our resources and get them connected as much as we can.”
Courtney is also on the lookout for volunteers.
“We're looking for, I guess it would be like a mentor,” Courtney said. “Someone that these women can maybe call during the day if they need someone. We're also looking for volunteers to assist with transportation. Once we get a full house, we've got several women who need to be [at] seven different places. You know, it might get a little bit tricky. So those are just a few examples of volunteers.”
While Faith House is not open to women with children, that is an issue Courtney is already trying to tackle. She hopes to expand to have another sober living house available for women with children in about a year and a half.
Above all, Courtney wants everyone struggling with addictions to know that even though she went through very hard and terrible things in her life, “God showed me a way to have a fulfilling life and he is now giving us the strength and courage to show other women that long term recovery is possible.”
If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, call Justine Lookenott at firstname.lastname@example.org.