New recovery home offers hope for women battling substance abuse in Bradenton

Updated: Jan. 29, 2020 at 7:13 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A new recovery home has just opened in Bradenton, offering a safe space for women who are battling substance abuse.

The mission of Fresh Life Recovery Homes is to provide a supportive environment for women to start new and their new location is already making a name for itself as the ‘Teal House’ near 26th Street West.

The owner said up to 12 women in recovery can live there and they weren’t supposed to open until the first weekend of February, but there was such a high demand that she opened last Friday.

“I think she knew how desperate I was," said Stephanie Wilson, who was homeless, abused and addicted to narcotics.

Now Wilson is re-writing her story.

“I’ve been on the street for the last four years on and off, [I’ve] been homeless," said Wilson. 'I got into drugs. I just, I hit rock bottom.”

She’s the first client of Fresh Life Recovery Homes. Now living in a new house, but more importantly, living with new hope.

“You get embarrassed, and you’re judged and you do get judged, but there’s no judgement here from anybody," said Wilson.

No judgement from the owner, Amanda Hubbard, who said she knows what it’s like to be held in the grasp of addiction.

“I struggled with my addiction most of my teenage years," she explained. "I got clean when I was 21. I was sick and tired of using all the time and my life was consumed by that, just like many other people.”

Hubbard said she checked herself into rehab at Centerstone, but it was her 18-month stay at Courage to Change that really taught her how to heal with a 12-step recovery program.

“It helps you rebuild your life and look at yourself and forgive people and make amends and really be able to build yourself up to be a new person and forgive yourself for your past," Hubbard explained.

She vowed to pay it forward, opening Fresh Life Recovery Homes with the help of a friend named Mark who bought the house, Grace Life of Sarasota and the Nightlife Center who have helped her to furnish it.

There’s a $100 administration fee to live here and rent is $150 per week. It includes food, utilities and everything the women need to get clean.

“Just having somebody to say, to hold my hand through new found sobriety is very important to me,” said Christina Heppe, another client.

Someone to hold them accountable, too. Residents must submit regular drug and alcohol tests, obey a curfew, go to work or school and attend all of the 12-step meetings while living in the recovery home.

“I’ve never been so happy. It’s been a long time,” said Wilson.

Hubbard said there are still four beds available in this home. For the women who have trouble paying their rent, they have also launched a non-profit organization called Fresh Life Foundation.

To donate or for more information about Fresh Life Recovery Homes, click here.

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