Founded in 1970, Bethany Hall in Roanoke provides a comprehensive residential treatment program for adult women recovering from alcohol and other chemical dependency. Its stated mission is “to provide women recovering from substance abuse a safe, supportive, and healing environment as they acquire the tools for independent living.”
The non-profit organization is one of only two long-term residential facilities in Virginia that accept pregnant women and women with children. Those 18 and older are eligible to apply, providing that they acknowledge their addiction to alcohol and/or drugs and meet other established criteria. Women who meet the program’s requirements are not turned away if they cannot afford to pay for the cost of the program.
Bethany Hall conducts fundraisers and receives some public funding and grants. The program also relies on monetary donations from individuals and organizations. Its donation wish list also includes household goods and appliances, office products, diapers and children’s clothes, personal items, arts and crafts supplies, board games, furniture, appliances, building repairs, and maintenance.
A fundraiser held last week by Bethany Hall at the Jefferson Center, entitled “Runway for Recovery,” included a silent auction, tea and fashion show. Models on the catwalk included recent graduates of Bethany Hall.
Located at 1109 Franklin Road in Old Southwest, Bethany Hall has served more than 1,800 women during its 40 years of operation. The Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services licenses the program. Because clients need constant long-term therapeutic care, the Bethany Hall program normally lasts about nine months.
The program components include counseling and therapy on a 24-hour, 7-day basis, incorporating yoga, acupuncture, Reiki (massage), participation in a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, and constant support.
Yoga gives participants a chance to learn how to reconnect with themselves and encourages self-care and self-awareness. Studies have shown that acupuncture may reduce cravings for addictive substances. Reiki is a form of massage that is said to increase a sense of well-being and involves spiritual healing. Each woman has a “big sister” to encourage and support her on the road to sobriety.
Vickie Price, Executive Director, said that the women who graduate from the treatment program are “some of the strongest and heroic people” that she knows. “It’s a very challenging program and to graduate is a major accomplishment. Graduation is our biggest celebration [annually]. It’s a big day for the graduates and it’s important for those women still in the program to see the women that graduated and to feel and see what it is like,” added Price.
“When I was initially confronted with my behaviors at Bethany Hall, I was outraged,” said a recent graduate from the program, “[but] I was given tough love and I had structure in my life. I learned that it wasn’t me that made me act out, but my addictive thinking. I was tired of acting tough and as if I had it all together. I began to be accountable and to push myself as hard as they were pushing to help me see who I really was and I did find that and I found love, support, and acceptance and a chance to live again. Now I know where I am going.”
Once clients have completed the program, they have the opportunity to participate in an aftercare program at Bethany Hall or another relapse preventive initiative. The Bethany Hall Aftercare Program includes a senior therapist who meets with clients weekly, and leads classes on budgeting and other skills.
The women come from all walks of life. Those who have successfully completed the program include clients who are now successful proprietors of their own businesses, those that have gone on to complete a college education and others that have risen to the level of supervision and management in various fields.
Beginning in September, Bethany Hall will be offering a new 12-week Intensive Day Program. Classes will be held four hours a day five days a week and will include a focus on addiction, relapse prevention skills, anger management, coping, and life skills.
Upcoming events include Day of Caring to be held September 3 through United Way, which recruits volunteers to paint and perform minor repairs at the facility. The Bethany Hall for a New Beginning Recovery Awareness Walk on September 18 will be held in celebration of the 20th annual observance of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. For additional information, visit bethanyhall.org, or call (540) 343-4261.By Susan Ayers [email protected]