Focus on: Restoring Women Outreach

Heather Mann

Director Summer Blalock and program graduate Betty Dunn

CULLMAN – Ever since its beginning in 2011, Restoring Women Outreach has been helping women recover from substance abuse and addiction. The program began when executive director Carol Berry saw a need in Cullman County for a way to help women beat drug and alcohol addiction. Today, RWO's program has helped dozens of women get back on their feet and repay their debts to the City of Cullman and Cullman County.

At RWO, each of the houses is meant to give the ladies a stable, home-like environment while they recover, and program members are given all the tools, resources and support they need on their journeys to sobriety. Women in the program start in the Hope House, where they start the process of restoring their lives, setting goals for themselves and becoming stable. Living in this house includes confirming court dates, attending 12-step program meetings, GED classes, counseling sessions, budget and goal setting workshops, and workout programs.

After eight months, women move on to the Frady House (named after house donor Dorothy Frady), where their programs become more personalized based on the goals the participants set for themselves while in the Hope House. However, some things are mandatory for everyone: obtaining a GED, full-time employment and community service being among them. RWO Director Summer Blalock says that, between their jobs and their community service, the ladies in the program have paid back thousands of dollars to Cullman since 2011. After completing their stay in the program, some women move in to the new Faith House, which houses graduates who need transition living arrangements.

RWO partners with many organizations to help give its women the help they need and deserve. The Link of Cullman County provide anger management meetings and parenting classes, while Wallace State Community College offers a Ready to Work program. Friends of Recovery offers support services for substance abuse, and women recovering from alcohol addiction are taken to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

RWO is a Christian nonprofit organization. Most funds come from the ladies themselves, who pay a percentage of their outside job earnings toward rent. However, the program does receive contributions from individuals, churches and civic organizations.

For anyone who struggles with addiction, but struggles more with asking for help, Blalock offered this advice, "If you find that your life is becoming, or already is, unmanageable and come to believe that you have a problem, ask for help. In asking for help, you will find that it is not a sign of weakness but a sign of courage!"

More information about the program can be found at or on Facebook at

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