This Semmes St. house will soon be used as the Christian Women’s Sober Outreach halfway home. | Austin Nelson

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New halfway house strives for ‘one-on-one’ care

Published 11:45am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An old house at 155 Semmes Street will soon begin life anew as the Christian Women’s Sober Outreach, LLC.

It is the hope of the center’s director that the home will be where women begin life anew, clean and sober.

Susan McCollough, director of the soon-to-be completed halfway house, advocates taking a more individual approach to getting clean.

“One of the things that makes us different is being able to offer individual counseling because I am a licensed professional counselor,” McCollough said.

McCollough, who has been clean and sober for 30 years, said that a lot of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t involve much one-on-one attention.

“A lot of treatment centers have gone to group counseling, and group counseling has always been considered the best modality because denial breaks down when other people help to break down denial,” McCollough said. “I agree with that to a point, but there are certain things that someone is not going to talk about in group counseling.”

While McCollough admits that you can develop a certain level of trust in group counseling, some things require guaranteed confidentiality.
“There has always been a saying in treatment: ‘When you are in Alcoholics Anonymous, you are only as sick as the secrets you keep,’” McCollough said.  “I think some people need one-on-one attention from a qualified person.”

McCollough said all too often, drug and alcohol treatment centers are revolving doors.

“I am hoping to help in a way other places haven’t,” McCollough said. “When you work with someone on a one-on-one level, hopefully you can come to terms with being serious about getting clean and with what they have been too scared to talk about to anyone. Maybe if they can dump those (issues), things will be different.”

The center will be for women only, McCollough said. All of the center’s patients will be required to live on-site and attend mandatory weekly AA or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings.

While the center is equipped to do long-term drug and alcohol counseling, McCollough said that it is not a detox center. All incoming patients must be clean 72 hours prior to being admitted.

Those interested in finding out more about the CWSO can attend its upcoming open house, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The center will begin accepting residents on Feb. 18.