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A Letter of Endorsement For Women’s Recovery at Guiding Light

A letter of endorsement for Women’s Recovery at Guiding Light from Eileen Chamberlin, LMSW, CAADC

When Brian Elve (Executive Director of Guiding Light) reached out to me a few months ago seeking advice about expanding the Guiding Light Recovery program to include women, I thought to myself ‘It is about time!’

Brian Elve, Executive Director of Guiding Light

As a long-time clinical therapist specializing in substance abuse treatment at both Hope Network Center for Recovery and Westbrook Recovery Center, I am intimately familiar with the barriers that women in particular face when struggling with addiction. I also served 11 years on the board of directors for Our Hope Association, a local women’s recovery center. Women and women with children are especially vulnerable to the stigma of addiction and the financial, social and emotional impediments that challenge them when seeking to get sober.

The need for residential treatment frequently outstrips the available beds in Kent County and there are even fewer Medicaid/Medicare beds available than those provided by private insurance. Just this week, someone I am working with could not use their Medicaid for treatment as they had done so earlier in the year. One of the hallmarks of addictive disease is relapse, and if left untreated this can lead to fatality. People struggling with addiction often either need to come up with money they do not have or wait until funding is approved before accessing treatment. Can you imagine if this was a heart attack patient who was told they could not get a hospital bed because they had a heart attack earlier in the year?

I, of course, am thankful that we have insurance options, and that those who can access treatment with their insurance or private funds are able to do so. However, what we’ve needed is a model that bypasses the financial and bureaucratic barriers standing between a person struggling with addiction and getting the help they need. Guiding Light Recovery is this model.

Eileen and Guiding Light Director of Community Engagement Allyson Velderman

Guiding Light Recovery is a substance abuse treatment program that provides long-term, evidence-based, and dignified residential care to men, with the cost covered entirely by the generosity of this community through donations. This is a model that Guiding Light has embraced for over a decade, and it is a proven success in long-term recovery. Perhaps the most important difference between Guiding Light and other treatment centers is its ability to bypass the red tape of insurance or the need for thousands of dollars for treatment.

While recovery housing for women is a great start, Guiding Light’s vision for a full recovery program for women is critical. It will give women a chance to get sober, to stabilize in their recovery, to be a thriving member of the community, and to live as an example of someone who has found a way out. In addition to the other excellent treatment programs in Kent County, we need this unique, privately-funded program for women to give them equal access to treatment without regard to their ability to pay or what insurance they do or do not have.

I believe in Guiding Light’s commitment to building a dedicated substance abuse recovery program for women that will be every bit as comprehensive, innovative, and successful as it has been for men. As an experienced practitioner, please join me in continuing to support this new and critical program for women in our community.

Eileen is a Licensed Master of Social Work and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and currently in private practice.


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