West Philly Recovery House Helping Mothers Get Clean

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A West Philadelphia recovery house is helping mothers reclaim their lives and their children following addiction.

Some of the women are celebrating milestones just in time for Mothers Day.

A mother of three, Stephanie Jauss’s road to addiction began with pain killers to treat chronic pelvic pain.

“Eventually your body becomes so accustomed to it and your body just wants more and more, and that’s when someone introduced heroin to me,” says Jauss, who once worked as a school teacher.

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Stephanie Jauss with baby Chloe. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

She says she was three months pregnant when she decided to seek help.

She got a room at Family House Now at 48th and Lancaster Ave. The recovery house is one of the few places in Philadelphia where women can seek treatment, while living with their children.

“When I came here, I was pregnant,” says Jauss, “it was nice being able to be here with my baby.”

Six months later, Jauss’ daughter, Chloe, is a healthy seven-week old, Jauss is drug free, and her pain is gone.

“It just disappeared,” says Jauss.

“To be a practicing using addict with alcohol, is a life of selfishness,” says Raymond Harrod, Program Manager for Family House. “When they come here, many of them do not have hope.”

For the past 22 years, Family House has provided childcare training, addiction therapy, and more for up to nine women women at a time. They can also house up to 27 children.

“We have a child developmental specialist, a prevention intervention center, we have resources available for those children,” Harrod says.

The women who come through the house have anywhere from six months to a year to change their lives. They must attend therapy, go to methadone treatments, cook, do chores, and get ready for a drug free life on the outside.

“Benzos, xanax, klonopin, and heroin,” said Bridget Kerrigan, listing off her previous addictions.

She used drugs for more than a decade. The first time mom hit rock bottom was after giving birth to her daughter Casey, who was born premature.

When Casey was just a couple months old, Kerrigan enrolled at Family House.

“I literally had no idea how to put on a diaper the right way,” she says, “the women here taught me how to be a single mom.”

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Bridget Kerrigan with baby Casey. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

Also, during counseling, Kerrigan learned that she had been using drugs to self-medicate her depression and anxiety. Now that she’s gotten treatment, she knows her triggers and has tools to deal with her mental health issues.

“This changed my life,” says Kerrigan, who does not have the option of sending her daughter to family. “I know that for Casey, I’m it. So I have to do everything I can to have long-term sobriety and recovery in order to be there for my daughter.”

Casey is now nine months old and is meeting all of her milestones.

Six months after she came to Family House, Kerrigan is getting her sea legs; she’s building a network of support so she can go home.

So this mother’s day, the mother’s at Family House Now will celebrate family and sobriety.

“Being able to take care of my kids is my number one prioroty,” says Jauss.

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