Addiction recovery for women: Alternative intervention has good success rate

AIW is a program that provides addiction recovery for women. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local woman said she struggled for years with addiction until she found a program that targeted to her own needs.

It is a program for women only, that is available through Central Behavioral Health in the community. It has one of the highest success rates in the country.

The organization has been around for years and those who run the program say it works because it treats women as professionals with a problem. And that with the right support, the problem can be overcome.

"Yeah I started drinking pretty continuously when I was about nine," said Carol Hebbeler, who is one client in the program.

Carol said what started as continuous drinking all through college, became a harder habit to break.

When she graduated and got her first job as a nurse, "I started taking drugs from the facility to sleep. And it was mostly narcotics and sedatives," she said.

For more than three decades, this pattered continued until she was caught and cut off completely.

She ended up on probation and went through five different rehab programs. Eventually she was hooked up with Barb Namett, who helps run a the program called AIW, or Alternative Interventions for Women.

Barb explained how the program addresses the needs of women differently. "It targets those getting them back to look at themselves. Becoming comfortable with themselves. Being able to have that ah ha moment, that something needs to change," she said.

AIW is an intense program where addicts join others five days a week, for at least six hours a day.

They are given everything from medications to beat addiction, to nutrition and group therapy. Which is where Carol said she had her ah ha moment.

"I was a liar, a cheater, a manipulator, a con artist. I really didn't know who Carol was anymore. And the therapist that was conducting the group that day, challenged me to stand up in the middle of the room, circled by about 30 of my peers, to receive feedback on how they saw me. And I heard words like compassionate, loving, lovable," Carol said.

That gave Carol the courage, she said, to take care of herself. Which is exactly what the program is all about.

"Women are just so used to taking care of everyone else and not taking care of themselves. So they just mask it. Eventually we have to take care of ourselves," Barb explained.

People who run the program know it's working because of their success rate.

Barb said, 'It's a nine percent recidivism rate. So of all the women who have gone through the program in the last three years, only nine percent have had a new criminal conviction."

Carol is now one of those success stories.

"It was rough. This was the hardest thing I ever did in my life," she said.

She has been living clean and sober now for four years, one day at a time.

Addiction studies have shown that women are more likely than men to relapse in stressful times. So this program is built around giving women what they need to resolve the stress that often leads to addiction.

This is tied in with the court system and funded through a number of sources. Women can get into it by talking to an attorney, judge, or probation officer if they want to enroll.

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