Restoring Women: recovery group shares stories

Restoring Women Outreach Board President Nancy Moore (left) and Restoring Women Outreach Director Summer Burden (right) celebrate Cullman’s 2020 Recovery Awareness Month declaration. (Photo courtesy of Summer Burden)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman-based Restoring Women Outreach Inc. is defined by director Summer Burden as “a 12-step-based sober living program for women serving Cullman and its surrounding areas since 2011.” The program graduated 10 participants in 2020 and looks forward to reporting more success this year.

Burden wanted to share some of her success stories over the next few weeks, beginning with “Whitney.”

Whitney said, “I would like to share a story with you, to spread a little hope and inspiration for anybody out there struggling with addiction. Growing up, I was surrounded by addiction. When I got about 14, I acquired the ‘I can’t beat them, join them’ attitude and I started putting substances in my body. I started skipping school, failing grades and eventually gave up on my academic career all together. By the time I was 16, I had been arrested on felonies; put on juvenile probation. I dropped out of school. This rocked on for many years of my life. 

“I’ve been to prison twice, got multiple charges, been placed on probation, diversion and could never comply. I really thought that this was just the hand life had dealt me and then I was unlucky. I’ve hung out with rough crowds, been at the wrong place at the wrong time and had all but given up on my life. I was not a great mother to my children and lost so much precious time with them.”

The gift of desperation

Whitney continued, “I truly believe in the gift of desperation in my life, because I’ve been to prison, I’ve been to jail over and over, and that never stopped me. I lost my children; that didn’t slow me down. If anything, it made me worse. But I finally got tired–tired of the jail cells, tired of lawyer visits, tired of not seeing my kids on Christmas. I was so desperate for something new that I was willing to give something else a try. 

That something else was Restoring Women Outreach.

“I have to give credit where credit is due,” said Whitney. “Restoring Women Outreach plays a huge part in my recovery. They taught me what stability is, what it’s like to have a routine, what it’s like to be OK with yourself. Recently, I just acquired my GED. I work a full-time job. I currently go to college. I get my kids on the weekends. And I have peace today. I really do believe that it takes what it takes for each individual and eventually you do get tired. I thank God every day that I got tired.”

For more about Restoring Women Outreach, visit or or call 256-727-6531.

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W.C. Mann