“You guys are awesome! I am so grateful to be over a year sober now! All thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and a power greater than myself. I wouldn’t have found AA if it wasn’t for you guys.”

Shawn D.

Michel’s House and Willow Way: For Mothers in Recovery

While the underlying causes of addiction are as unique as the people who suffer from them, studies have found that women, on average, tend to progress more quickly from using a substance to addiction than men, and are also more likely to suffer a relapse.

Today’s societal pressures suggest that “the perfect mother” is one who is able to seamlessly balance a career, parenthood, and a marriage or partnership. This can end up leaving many women feeling burnt out, stressed and unhappy, resulting in some to turn to substance use to cope with the pressure. Some mothers may also be facing challenges related to domestic violence, as the trauma can often lead to depression, anxiety and/or PTSD. As a result, many women who are victims of domestic violence may turn to drug or alcohol use as a means to escape their trauma. If you are a victim of domestic violence, hotline advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE.

For mothers struggling with substance abuse, the desire to provide proper care for their children (and in some instances, maintain or recover custody of their children) offers significant motivation to seek tre

atment and begin the journey to recovery, though the path to sobriety is not often an easy one. However, Rimrock offers two programs to help mothers regain control of their lives. If you are a mother who is struggling with substance abuse, you are not alone.

The Michel’s House and Willow Way programs are designed to provide long-term therapy and parenting skill-building for mothers entering early recovery. These programs occur in a residential setting. Both Michel’s House and Willow Way are equipped to house six mothers each, with a maximum of three children per mother. The length of a mother’s stay ranges from 12-18 months, depending on her progress.

The population eligible for these programs:

  • Clients must meet ASAM criteria for Level 2.5 Day Treatment services and 3.1 Community Housing/low-intensity residential services
  • Clients can have a non-violent criminal history as described by Federal guidelines
  • Clients must be 18 years and older
  • Clients must qualify for SNAP, TANF, Best Beginnings, and Medicaid.
  • Client must have custody of their children, or CPS approval to transition children within 3-4 weeks of admittance. (This is not to say we expect CPS to not be involved.)
  • Children must be under the age of 9 years old and each mother can have up to 3 children in their care (This depends slightly on size of room/apartments available.)

Disqualifying factors include:

  • Long-term sanctions for TANF or SNAP (Client must have 24 months of TANF eligibility left as you can only use 5 years in a lifetime of this benefit)
  • Current romantic relationship of which the client is not willing to separate
  • CPS unwilling to approve childto reside with mom.
  • Sexual offenses

There are three phases that mothers must successfully complete during their time at Michel’s House/Willow Way in order to complete the program in its entirety.

Phase 1

Phase 1 is intended to provide intensive addiction treatment according to an individually tailored treatment plan for a minimum of six months. To achieve this goal, clients will engage in intensive residential treatment to achieve the skills needed to support initial abstinence.

  • Group therapy
  • Case management services
  • Peer support services
  • Thinking Errors group
  • Life Skills group
  • Budgeting and shopping skills
  • Recreation options
  • Seeking Safety/Domestic violence
  • Parenting classes

To transition to phase 2, the client must:

  • Have been enrolled in Michel’s House/Willow Way for a minimum of six months.
  • Attended all treatment courses and completed assigned task work.
  • Demonstrated consistent compliance with medication routines, and house expectations.
  • Be able to demonstrate improvement in consistent parenting.

Phase 2

Phase 2 provides level 2.5, day treatment services and ongoing case management services as needed. During this phase, clients have the opportunity to seek part-time employment or enroll in part-time schooling.  Clients are expected to participate in treatment at the same level as Phase 1 until they have obtained employment or enrolled in schooling. Clients will continue to engage in identified ancillary programs, such as thinking errors and life skills training as determined by individual treatment plans for a minimum of twenty hours per week.

  • Group therapy
  • Case management services
  • Thinking Errors group
  • Budgeting and shopping skills
  • Recreation options
  • Parenting classes

To transition to phase 3, the client must:

  • Maintain employment or schooling for a minimum of 3 months.
  • Show consistency in all program areas while working or going to school part-time
  • Continue to make treatment progress, complete all assigned task work and attend all scheduled programming.
  • Be able to demonstrate improvement in consistent parenting.

Phase 3

Phase 3 provides level 1 treatment services and ongoing case management services as needed. During this phase, clients have the opportunity to continue employment full-time, attend school full-time or a combin

ation of employment and schooling. Clients will continue to engage in identified ancillary programs, such as thinking errors and life skills training as determined by individual treatment plans for a minimum of one day per week.

  • Group therapy
  • Case management services
  • Thinking Errors group, parenting, or Seeking Safety according to client need
  • Budgeting and shopping skills
  • Recreation options

To complete the program, the client must:

  • Maintain employment and/or schooling for a minimum of 2 months.
  • Show consistency in all program areas while working and/or going to school
  • Continue to make treatment progress, complete all assigned task work and attend all scheduled programming.
  • Be able to demonstrate improvement in consistent parenting

If you are a mother who is struggling with substance abuse, or you know a mother who is, the referral process is simple:

  • Submit an application to Rimrock via email or fax to admissions
  • Applications are on our website, Rimrock.org, then Resources then Forms (We also require a release of information filled out and signed for CPS.)
  • Our team will screen the individual upon receiving the application
  • Referral source and client will be notified of a scheduled interview with the team
  • Rimrock Admissions department will contact the referral source and client with the decision from the interview for denial or acceptance to the program

For more information about these programs, please contact our Admissions Coordinator Heather Tusberg at (406) 248-3175 ext. 435 or our Senior Director of Residential Services Jennifer Verhasselt, MS, LAC, at (406) 248-3175 ext. 447. Normal admission hours are between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm Mountain Time, Monday through Friday. However, we are available to take your call 24/7.

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