Dear FOCUS friends and family,
It’s my privilege to share on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. I’m speaking of the issue of addiction and recovery. Obviously, my work is in this field, which allows me to experience more and more, every day about addiction, but it’s more than just my job. Addiction has touched multiple people in my family and changed my life. At one time, I was a helpless, codependent, caregiver, exhausted from trying to “fix” my loved ones and manage the struggle.
I know the same is true for many of you as well. First of all, I believe hope and healing are available for everyone and there are different paths to take, but our little niche in this world of recovery is a residential center for women in Birmingham, Alabama known as FOCUS On Recovery. Sober living facilities like FOCUS been proven to be a vital step in the recovery process after primary treatment from alcohol and substance abuse. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reports that up to 80 percent of those who go to opiate detox, relapse within a month if they don’t follow up with psychotherapeutic addiction treatment. Researchers have found that those who attend day treatment and live in a sober living facility were 10 times more likely to avoid relapse.
FOCUS serves 32 women at a time with our minimum six-month program that provides accountability and structure, while these women put their recovery first and rebuild their lives. It’s more than just temporary housing. Our programming provides multiple recovery specific groups, health and well-being classes, life skills, career readiness and many other activities. Women also build a network with other women in recovery, as they learn to live healthy, successful lives often for the first time.
We’ve all heard about the “Opioid Epidemic” in this country, but I personally think that it’s much worse than we realize. I don’t know many people who haven’t at least known someone affected by addiction. It’s a disease that does not discriminate. It can attack anyone at any socio-economic level and any profession. We can no longer use the stereotype of the strung-out, homeless drug addict. While homelessness is a very real and important issue, there are numerous well-funded organizations that serve this population, but we see people every day that were raised in good homes and had high paying professional jobs that don’t know where to turn. The relapse rate is staggering, as many return right back to the people, places and things that sent them into addiction to begin with. We have applications every week from women desperate for another chance at recovery.
I heard someone recently say, “Well, they just made a lot of bad choices.” It’s true that addiction can start with one bad choice, but more often than not these days, it’s from being legally prescribed medication for a routine surgery or accident that triggers a destructive cycle that some people cannot stop on their own.
I’ve heard countless stories of addiction wrecking lives and destroying families, and far too many of these stories don’t have happy endings, but I hope to see a day where no one else loses the battle with addiction.
We have to do what we can to tackle this problem. Many are involved in prevention, legislation, regulation, and the list goes on, but my very small role in this epidemic is to lead a tiny nonprofit that serves as many women as we can, in their struggle to maintain their sobriety and reclaim their lives and their purpose.
The real joy comes with the privilege of seeing all the success stories of women as they complete our program. These women actually look different. When they arrive at FOCUS they are exhausted and broken, angry and afraid, but at the end with a new lease on life, they are radiant. They are quite literally, more beautiful and exuberant. It’s a great example of a restored life and a reminder that it is actually possible!
I hope that none of you can relate to any of this, but I know that some of you can. It is my plea that a few of you would be willing to join me in some small way to help women become the daughters, wives, sisters, employees and leaders that they were called to be.
Our new campaign is called “Bright White”. It’s symbolic of a clean page to a new chapter that our residents are writing for themselves. I’ve included a link here that shows you what your donation can do. I would also encourage you, if you believe in our mission, to become a recurring monthly supporter. Over the course of a year, a $60 monthly gift adds up to a month’s worth of program fees for one resident. My goal is to find just 50 people willing to become recurring donors. This would enable us to make our budget and continue to provide these necessary programs.
You can donate as a gift, or in honor of someone, but please help us in this important work. We have served over 900 women over the years with only 2-4 fulltime staff members, so I know we can do more. We have an established program that works and numerous testimonies to prove it. Please check out our website to learn more and I hope you’ll consider supporting our fight to see all women freed from addiction.
As always, if you would like to know more about how to be involved with FOCUS through our various committees, volunteer options, or supporting us in any other way, just give me a call. Thank you for your time and consideration. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we strive to serve every woman ready to experience recovery that lasts a lifetime!
Jackie Batson, Executive Director