Messenger Article 3/29/2012

The following article appeared in the March 29, 2012 edition of the Madisonville Messenger.  It is re-published here with permission.  Copyright 2012, Madisonville Messenger.

Women’s triangle recovery house

Group aids recovering addicts

BY DOREEN DENNIS
Messenger Staff Writer

Mary Hill, left, and Tonya Bennett, right, study Bible scripture late Monday afternoon with Rita Miller, administrator for Women's Triangle Recovery House located on Scott Street in Madisonville. The house is a transitional residential clean and sober living facility for the purpose of helping women find jobs, job training, educational and counseling services after having completed drug or alcohol recovery programs.

Late afternoon spring sunlight filtering through the long windows of a two-story Victorian-style home on Scott Street brings its century-old features to life.

Black and white artwork with cherrful images and encouraging writings are displayed at eye level along the olive-colored walls.

April will mark the first anniversary of the opening of Women’s Triangle Recovery House in Madisonville.

It is a transitional residential clean and sober living facility for women 18 and older, who have successfully completed drug or alcohol recovery programs.

The women lviing there said they are ready to turn their lives around.

Rita Miller, the organization’s administrator and founder, personally relates to drug and alcohol addiction.

She entered Regional Medical Center’s substance abuse program in the spring of 1995.

“I surrendered to the fact I was an alcoholic and drug addict who became teachable,” she said, “Willingness is the key.”

The house motto is “Every Life is Worth Saving.”  Triangle represents the three steps to recovery, which are communication, work and independence.

The non-profit agency’s goal is to teach women how to take responsibility in basic life skills.  It offers guidance beginning with free counseling, followed by obtaining a GED, job training, and job placement including college enrollment, which are the stepping stones to independent living.  Achievements are reached with help from local partner agencies, Miller said.

The transition process at the recovery hosue can take up to a year, Miller said.  Women who stay at the house must pay $100 per week for room and board in addition to food and personal hygeine expenses.  If they have no funds, Miller helps the women sign up for food stamp assistance until job placement is attained.  Rules are strict, but it’s by design, she said, because at that point, an addict’s recovery hinges on removal of dependency upon others in learning to become self-sufficient.

“The only way people can help an addict is to cut themselves off from enabling an addict,” Miller said.  “Tough love is what it’s called.”

Miller said the women have either undergone a divorce or their husbands are in prison.

So far, the organization has housed seven women and three have moved on, she said.

Currently, three women reside at Triangle House.  Residents Mary Hill and Tonya Bennett were at the home Monday evening preparing a spaghetti dinner with salad and rolls.

Hill said the facility and staff have been helpful along her road to recovery and have provided a steady foundation for her.

“I like the spirituality of the house,” Bennett said.  “Rita guides us through God’s direction.”

Miller said the women work together in daily housekeeping and cooking, and form a sisterhood.  If they’re not working, they must attend educational workshops, she said.  Every Sunday, the women are required to prepare and present progress reports.  They also hold a Bible study.  Miller said the Bible study was the residents’ deicision.

Family visitations are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday from 1-3 p.m.

Reuniting the women with family members is one of the agency’s main objectives, Miller said.

Miller, a former coal miner, works full-time driving a fuel tanker rig.  She also operates the facility full-time without a salary.  She hopes to some day become a paid employee at Triangle through continued fundraising efforts, and to step down as one of the nine of the group’s board members.

Women’s Triangle Recovery House, organized in 2008, recived its nonprofit 501(c)3 status last year.  It operates on donations from individuals, religious and community organizations in addition to fundraisers such as yard sales and its annual “Gospel Music Phat,” a finner and musical held at First United Methodist Church in August.

Everything from appliances and furniture to room decor has been donated to the facility.  Local carpenters volunteered to help renovate the house, which has space to accommodate up to nine women.

Miller said commitment and community support in donating time, services and funds has been tremendous in helping he agency’s operation.

“This community has been in great need for a long time to have a place where women can obtain a new lease on life,” she said.

For more information or to make a contribution, visit www.womenstrianglerecoveryhouse.com or call Miller at 875-6867.