Salvation Army opens their doors to women battling addiction

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Since 1950, the Salvation Army has been helping men recover from drug and alcohol addictions through their Adult Rehabilitation Center, but now the non-profit has opened their doors to women as well. 

The need for a women’s facility has been long overlooked in the Tampa Bay community, but with the new women’s residence hall, the Salvation Army is hoping to provide a place of growth and support for women battling addiction. 

"With the opioid addiction issues that the nation has, the Salvation Army knew a couple years ago that we needed to be able to start serving our women as well,” said Major Katherine Reed with the Salvation Army of Tampa. 

The women’s section of the rehab center has only been opened since December; however the impact is already beginning to be felt.  

Jaimie Stevenson is a resident who has battled her drug addiction for over 10 years. In search of a better life, she was one of the first to walk through the doors of the women’s section of the ARC. She said she hasn’t looked back since. 

"You don't end up here by chance, you end up here because you were meant to be here,” Stevenson said. 

The women’s residence boasts 30 beds, a workout room and even a hair salon. Most importantly, the six to 12 month program helps participants get back on their feet and prepare for a life after addiction. 

"We see women that come in everyday that are just tired and not feeling well, and as time goes on they are able to get up in the morning and put in a full day and have education in the evenings,” Reed said.

Stevenson has seen first-hand how the program can change lives. Now nine months sober, she said the center has given her a second chance. 

"Without recovery, eventually you will die,” said Stevenson. “So, it's something that's amazing to take my life, and not only my life but so many other's lives, and watch them transform."

The program is completely free of charge to residents as it is funded by the physical donations brought in by community and sold in the Salvation Army’s stores. 

While the recovery center is currently full, the Salvation Army said if anyone is struggling or battling addiction, they still want to help. For more information on the Salvation Army’s programs for both men and women, call (813) 972-0471 ext. 59074.