To Love Her is To Help Her

Pots and PansIn June 2018, Tania Bhattacharyya our Executive Director of the Foundation and Chef Jen Merrifield had the opportunity to participate with Chef Annie on Pots and Pans with Jack and Annie of KOCI 101.5 FM. We went to their offices in 17th Street on Costa Mesa to record the show, and had a great time. We talked about healthy nutrition and its importance for recovery, the history of New Directions for Women in healing families over forty years, and female empowerment in general. We also talked about alumnae of our treatment center, and how grateful we are to them for sharing their experience, strength, and hope with the women in rehab. The full podcast can be accessed at Pots and Pans The transcription of our part of the radio show is included below!

Male: The following program is underwritten by The Potting Shed in Oldtown Orange, a boutique garden shop specializing in water wise plants and vintage décor, container gardens, treasures from local artists and rustic finds. The Potting Shed in Orange. More at TPShomeandgarden.com. That’s TPShomeandgarden.com.

Annie: Ok. So our guests today are from New Direction. They’re a facility in Costa Mesa and they are a facility for women who are getting their life back on track so to speak. They provide housing for recovering alcoholics and drug addicted women that want to have a better path. And I love the facility. I did a walk through last week and it’s just awesome. What they’re doing is just fantastic. And so, Tania is the Executive Director of the Foundation and Jennifer is the Chef. Let’s talk about New Direction, Tania. I want you to give us the back story and just kind of how it all came about.

Tania: Sure. I’d love to do that and thank you for this opportunity because whenever I talk about our history and our founding it always inspires me, re-inspires me. So we were founded over 40 years ago when a woman named Pamela Wilder stood up during a meeting of the Newport Beach Junior League in the ‘70s and she identified herself as an alcoholic in recovery. And that’s not really something you do too much these days but back then especially is completely unheard of and especially to that group of women. And as the story goes you could have heard a pin drop in that room. And it took a lot of courage for her to self-identify in that way.

But she did that because she had a vision to create a place where women could get well from their addictions with dignity and grace. Nothing like that existed back then in Orange County. And women really back then had to suffer in silence and in shame because of their substance use disorders. And so, the junior league got behind the vision. They supported her vision. They got the funding by fundraising in the community. They got the support of the county. They got the buildings that they needed. And Muriel Zink and Marion Schoen were also very instrumental in the founding days as well as well as Betty Ford and many other women here in Southern California that were devoted to this cause.

And since then, we’ve been around for 41 years like I mentioned, and we identified that one of the biggest barriers to women being able to access care was child care. And that’s one of the reasons why I think for a long time there were more men getting help than women. And so, in the early 2000s we started being able to help women with their children up to the age of 13. So children actually come with their moms and live at New Directions.

And we’re also able to serve pregnant women in any trimester of pregnancy. So we have women come to us, go through the stages of their pregnancy, deliver at a local hospital and then come back to New Directions and go right back into treatment. Their newborn babies are in daycare. They’re able to visit every hour but still participate in groups and still get well. So we’ve helped over – well over 100 babies were born to mothers living in our facility. Over 500 children have lived on our campus with their moms.

And I’ve been there now for about nine years. And so, during that time I’ve seen babies that are born that are now eight years old. And they’re just beautiful little children and they have a language of recovery that even adults that I interact with don’t have. They talk about what they’re grateful for that day. They talk about – when they’re angry they go outside and they take ten deep breaths and they meditate. And if we could all have that language and we could all come from that place of recovery and understanding, I think we’d have a very different world. So just kind of interesting to think about.

But I came to New Directions like I said nine years ago. I was studying psychology and social behavior at UC Irvine as an undergrad, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I thought I might want to be a teacher. And so, I answered this ad for a part time thing at New Directions, didn’t know a lot about addiction at the time. And I went in for my interview and I had a tour just like you had last week. And there was a woman there that I actually – she was a classmate of mine. She was also a psychology major. I’d been to her – we had had group projects together. She and I were acquaintances and we had kind of a funny moment.

And then I thought for sure she was interviewing for the position. I thought she was my competition. And she thought I was checking into rehab. And so, we had a moment where we sat on the rocking chairs there that you saw on our campus and just chatted and just talked. And that was a huge eye opener for me because I had had in my mind a certain kind of picture of what somebody suffering from addiction was.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: And that was totally shattered in a good way when I came to New Directions for the first time because it made me realize that any woman can suffer.

Annie: Exactly.

Tania: Any person.

Annie: Right.

Tania: Young or old. Any socioeconomic status. And there’s many people suffering out there that don’t know they can ask for help and especially in the wake of some recent events. I know that there’s just a lot of people out there struggling. But there is hope. There is a solution. There are other people that care about you.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: So there are places here in Costa Mesa where you can access care, access help.

Annie: And I saw that. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to walk through your facility and it’s a beautiful facility. And it – I was – when I got there, there was a van that was taking the girls out on a day trip I think. And so, and we talked about the different programs that you offer. And I walked through where the residents stay and then also the mothers and the children. And it was so cute because you took us into the one room where there was a baby sleeping. And it’s just the whole feel of the facility is very welcoming. And I love that you have the rocking chairs where they can just sit and just have their quiet moment.

But within the facility – And it’s interesting that when you went, the day that you went for your interview that where your thoughts went when you saw your friend because you do have – I think people do get a picture in their mind of the type of person that you might run into in a facility like that. But there is no picture.

Tania: Right.

Annie: Anybody can come in from any walk of life. And I often think about – because I have a back story of my first marriage was very violent. I was in a domestic violent marriage. And when I say that people look at me. And I even just recently I was talking about it to someone and they looked at me and they go “You were in domestic violence?” And I said “Yeah, and I stayed in a battered woman’s home.”

And you get that look from that person when you’re saying this of disbelief and for whatever reasons that’s not – that can’t be part of life. It shouldn’t be part of life. Things happen to anybody. And to have a place to go that you can come out of that is what’s important. And so, of your many offerings at New Directions when they come in I’m imagining there’s a path that you walk with your residents. Can you talk to us about a little bit about that?

Tania: Sure. Absolutely. So we have a continuum of care of New Directions. So when women come to us they can enter at any point. It depends on the severity of their disease and the progression of their disease. But many women come to us and they start off with detox which can be three days, could be five days. It could be a week. That’s where they are – really their body is really weaning itself of the chemicals that they have been dependent on. And after detox they start to feel – they start the long process of recovery and feeling better.

And then we have a residential program which we really like for our women to be in residential for about 90 days because it takes time for change to occur. And it takes time for our bodies to change which I think Chef Jen is going to talk about as well. But so, there’s a residential program. Women can have their children with them as I mentioned. There’s a separate house on our campus for women with their children. It’s called Faith House after Faith Strong who is a long, long, longstanding supporter of our organization.

And we also have outpatient as well. So if there’s a woman in the community who is going to school in the evening, who is working during the day or has some other commitments, there’s opportunities for them to go into treatment for three or five hours a day based on what they need. And sometimes women come straight into outpatient and they realize I need something more. I really need a safe place to really live in and devote my whole day to this. And so sometimes women will go from OP into residential. It just depends.

And then really something that I’m very excited about is our alumni program. And our women are alumni for life. We have over 5,000 women who have come through our doors and many of those women stay local. And even those that don’t stay active in our alumni association. So we have a weekly 12 step meeting on Thursday nights. We have alumni fun activities monthly. Like we have our alumni burger bash today where alumni can come back with their children and with their families, enjoy a burger.

We’re going to have a clothing swap where people can bring their clothes and every woman will leave with a brand-new outfit for themselves whether that’s a professional outfit or just a fun outfit. We have a volleyball tournament. Our campus is really a safe, fun place where women come to recover. And alumni just like alumni of a school are encouraged to come back and experience the place where they got well and give back to our current residents too.

Annie: And I think the success speaks in the alumni.

Tania: Right.

Annie: When you see them coming back in droves like that, the support that they’re giving back speaks of the success of the program.

Tania: Our alumni are amazing and they give of their time, their talent and their treasure. They come back to share their stories. They come back to mentor our women. They do groups. If somebody is struggling they come and just sit and talk with that person in one of our safe spaces like by our fountain or in a rocking chair or in a garden.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: And they have been where our residents are now. And so, they’re able to provide a really unique perspective.

Annie: In think that’s so important because obviously there’s going to be highs and lows through the recovery. And it’s when they feel at their most low point when an alumni will come in and just do what you just said, sit in that rocking chair, go out in the garden and just talk to them because there right in front of them they’re the success story and that’s their hope that they’re giving to that person. And nothing is easy.

There’s – nothing is easy. You have to work for what you really want. And I think when your alumni come back they’re showing that this is what you get if you put the time and effort in. This is where you can all be. And I love, love, love that. So we’re going to come back. Right now, we’re going to go to station ID. And we are going out with Run the World by Beyoncé. Check her out, girlfriend.

Tania: That’s perfect.

Annie: Yes, and we will run the world. We are running the world. Let’s just get that straight. Ok. We’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.

Annie: Ok. And we’re back. So we’re talking with Tania and Chef Jennifer today from New Directions. It’s a facility, a recovery facility on Costa Mesa for women. And so, I love your slogan. What’s your slogan?

Tania: To love her is to help her.

Annie: Yes, yes. To love her is to help her. I actually know someone that’s been through your program and it’s – I saw how it helped her and it’s – and I like where it’s located because it’s located in a residential area so it feels like home in every sense of the word. So they’re living in a neighborhood. And I know that you’ve recently acquired other properties in that same street. Correct?

Tania: It was about four years or so ago. We have two additional houses at the end of our cul-de-sac. But I love that you picked up on that because it’s so true. We just provide a homelike sanctuary. It normalizes the stigma around addiction because there certainly is a stigma. But when you live in a home and you just take care of your home like any other person would.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: And just live with your family and your sisters in sobriety.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: Just normalizes everything.

Annie: And that’s what is being created is a family.

Tania: That’s right.

Annie: And even though they come and go, they’re still that family because they come back as a family and they give back like families do. And I like the fact that – so you have mealtime, correct? They come together in the dining room?

Tania: They do.

Annie: And so – and the one that spearheads that mealtime is Chef Jennifer.

Jennifer: Yes. Hi. Good morning.

Annie: Good morning. So tell us – so Jennifer you and I had conversations about how you became part of New Directions so tell our listening audience.

Jennifer: All right. So I came to New Directions. It’s been almost a year now. And I previously was out in Malibu, California about five years working in a rehab facility out there. And I wanted to bring a lot of what I learned out there and how transitioning from being a restaurant catering chef into being the chef that a treatment facility needed. I loved that process and the way I cook is different.

And family style is important because they do. They come together in that dining room. They’re there to have a meal together. That is their opportunity to feed their body what they need for the day. And they’re doing all that, the conversating that you normally would be doing with your family on a day to day basis, just getting your day down. What are we going to do today? What tasks do we need to solve or get off the plate? And all that happens right there, right there in the kitchen.

Annie: This is so – it coincides with last week’s show.

Jennifer: It does.

Annie: That whole approach to just coming together and talking and talking about encouraging things and setting that path for not – your children or teaching these young women and the women that cross your path how to pass it on to their children. I love this approach. And this – and I know you guys have a garden.

Jennifer: Yes, we do.

Annie: And, so it just is under that umbrella of getting back to your roots. And I think that sometimes that gets lost along the way. And if you have an understanding of what getting back to your roots means that you can create a whole new definition of that in your life for your own child or just for yourself and make that your foundation. So I know that when you came in your created a program for them, correct? A healthy eating program.

Jennifer: Yes.

Annie: And that you have things to take into consideration when you do that because you have a variety of things that you are dealing with.

Jennifer: Yes. Understanding what alcohol and drugs does to somebody’s system. And when they come in they’re having a lot of digestive problems. And somebody mainly who has been using drugs and alcohol in excess is doing damage by their body isn’t absorbing the nutrients that they need necessarily. It’s creating other issues. And so, to level everyone out and get everyone on an even playing field so to speak is what my main goal was.

What do they need in their day, how to approach their diet in a way that I know that I only necessarily have three meals a day that I get to physically make for them and control. And so, if I take that from a macro standpoint they need so many grams of protein in their diet. They need leafy greens and they need healthy fats. And then when they’re able, when they get through the detox process then they come into the kitchen. And then the ones who really want one on one help on their – because it is. Our kitchen really is the heartbeat of the facility.

Annie: Yes.

Jennifer: And it needs to – they need to have access to me at all times. And so, when they come in and they’re “Hey. I’m having this problem” that’s when I get to really help change someone’s diet if they really want, introduce new things and hear and listen to what their concerns and struggles are and how to maybe help that person one on one. So leveling the playing field so to speak. So the food that I put out is always family style. It’s separate. Certain people don’t like certain things. But they end up trying them along the way and after they see them on a regular basis they’re just used to eating them.

Annie: And that’s a whole other thing that you’re introducing into their life. Not only just are you introducing healthy eating. You’re also introducing new foods that they would have probably never thought to try.

Jennifer: Absolutely.

Annie: So give me a typical menu.

Jennifer: Typical. I’ll go off of last week. Somebody was wanting Italian food. I chose piccata. I will piccata anything. I just love the sauce. And I did a farro and that that would have like shaved parm, some peas, pea tendrils in it. And then just usually just two different types of vegetables I would put out. We did a roasted carrot and then asparagus spears.

And then the chicken I just pan seared like you normally would, made piccata sauce and served that on a bed of spinach. So they really had access to four or five different types of vegetables and the protein was simple, chicken. And whether they took or not took some of it, it really doesn’t matter.

Annie: Right. Right.

Jennifer: They had plenty to choose from. And then they want to eat that way.

Annie: Yes.

Jennifer: Their bodies are starting to get comfortable eating that way again.

Annie: And it’s probably flavors that are going to wake up their palate too. That piccata sauce, it’s delicious.

Jennifer: Yes.

Annie: And so, that hits their palate if they’ve never had that before. It’s like a wake-up call for their palate.

Jennifer: Right.

Annie: So yeah.

Jennifer: There’s more than just ranch out there. Right?

Annie: Exactly. Exactly.

Rip: Is there a favorite?

Jennifer: Huh?

Rip: Is there a favorite by the home? Like something somebody requests that they really like?

Jennifer: All the time.

Rip: A favorite. All the time.

Jennifer: All the time. And I love it because food, we crave food. And so, my job is to stop the negative craving by putting out stuff that naturally helps stop that which is cinnamon. It’s so good to turn off that little trigger in our bodies to stop craving sugar. And then when they’re like my mom used to make this fantastic – or today. I’ll use today. We’re having this burger bash that the women are all getting part, their hands dirty so to speak. They’re in there right now for me. As I’m talking, they’re chopping. And they wanted to make a macaroni salad that their grandmother used to make and so we made sure that happened.

Rip: Mmmm delicious.

Annie: See and that takes them right back into a generation that they should always have dear to their heart. And I often talk about the hope chest and opening that hope chest. And what do you find in that? Because there’s a generation that doesn’t know what a hope chest is. Right?

Jennifer: Right.

Annie: And so, I have two hope chests. I have my mother’s hope chest and I have my hope chest. And so, when I open it up – my mother’s hope chest is still you can smell the cedar in it still.

Jennifer: Absolutely.

Annie: And it’s even got the original paper in there of the sale of it. And it just was stapled in the inside of the lid and she never took it off. So in there are the crocheted doilies that my grandmother made. And then in my hope chest I have recipes and I also have the little things that my kids did in kindergarten, things like that. So that brings them – when they’re talking about something that their grandmother made or their mother made, that’s what they need to hold onto. And they need to have that accessible to their children.

And if they go there, there’s something about that in their brain that’s going to bring them to a better place and that’s that. The minute they smell that cooking in the kitchen or the minute they taste it, they’re just taken right back there. And so much can come from that, so many good things can come from that. And so, I just love that.

Jennifer: It’s tradition.

Annie: Yes, it is.

Jennifer: It’s tradition.

Annie: And then I keep going back to the Faith and Family Collective because that’s what they’re all about. I see a great relationship stemming from them to you guys. So I would love to be in the room on a day when alumni come back and just see the interaction. And when they walk away I’m sure that there’s just in the air is hope and a lot of love in the air when the alumni walk away. And not to say they walk away. They’re always there. They leave that with them.

And that’s the best, best thing to have at the end of day. I love the family building of it all. Now in your – I know we have to go to break so I’m going to ask this question and I’m going to say it so I don’t forget it when I come back. Do your single residents interact with your mother and the children?

Tania: Absolutely.

Annie: Ok. So I want to talk about that when we come back. So we’re going to go to break. Wow. Are you telling me we only have 15 minutes left?

Rip: It goes so fast.

Jennifer: Yes, it does.

Rip: Yes, it does.

Annie: Two hours. Can we talk about two hours? Seriously. I know Jack would love that.

Rip: We’ve been talking two hours for years.

Annie: I know. Right? Ok. Don’t go away. We’re going to be right back.

Annie: Ok. So we went out on break to Shania Twain. Now there’s a question as to whether or not I can give this title on air. I’ll just say –

Rip: It’s the B word.

Annie: The B word.

Tania: Starts with a B.

Annie: It starts with a B. Run with that.

Rip: What an incredible voice too.

Annie: Right.

Rip: Oh, what an incredible artist.

Annie: And then we came back with our buddy Michelle Mangione.

Rip: Wow.

Annie: Love and tenderness. I love her voice too.

Rip: She’s been on the show like twice, right?

Annie: I know. Yeah. We’re going to have to bring her back.

Rip: So great.

Annie: Her and Steve.

Rip: Yeah.

Annie: Yes. They run together. When you see one, you see the other. Ok. So we are back. And this is – oh my gosh. We’re in the last segment of our hour. I can’t believe it. So I posed a question before we left on break. Just let me pull it out of my head. I asked if you have interaction between your residents from your single residents to your families, your mother and children.

Tania: Yeah. There’s a ton of interaction. That’s really key I think because we do have evidence-based practices. We have individual therapy. We have all of those things. But some of the most healing, helpful, impactful interactions between our women occur between them.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: It’s those off hours when they’re sharing their stories with each other. It’s those times when our more mature women are able to hold a baby in their arms. One of the babies that was born on our campus maybe. We have women that are 18 and older and that truly means women of all ages. We’ve had a high school student who was finishing up her high school studies. And she actually went to prom.

Annie: Oh wow.

Tania: While she was living at New Directions. It was so cute and she was 18. And then we’ve had women in their 70s and their 80s. And I think we’re going to be seeing more and more of that as our baby boomers start to age.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: And prescription pill prescriptions are an issue.

Annie: And it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve battled this all their life. It could be something new to them. Correct?

Tania: Absolutely. And oftentimes it can come up because of a traumatic event.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: It could be the death of a spouse that they’ve been with their entire life.

Annie: Or a child.

Tania: Or a child.

Annie: Yes, yes.

Tania: Absolutely. And for women because of the ways our bodies are made up, drinking and using alcohol affects us more strongly, more physically than it would a man. I’ve read that it has something to do with the amount of fat that our bodies have compared to a man. It holds these substances more deeply. So the damage is greater for women.

Annie: That’s really interesting. I wish we had more time to expand on that itself. I find that so interesting.

Tania: Yeah. It’s a process called telescoping if anybody wants to Google that and self-educate a little bit.

Annie: Oh ok. Telescoping. Oh, I would love to find out more about that. So when – and with that said because you have such an age range that puts even more on your plate, right, Jennifer?

Jennifer: It can. It can depending on the census and where that stands. But it’s still manageable. There’s so many great women that work in head departments at New Directions. And I’m just one.

Annie: Yes.

Jennifer: Just one of them and that makes that wheelhouse turn. I’m just one piece. But the food, I get to oversee the needs of the children over at daycare. And we are just starting to implement cooking classes for our women to do whole foods and baby foods.

Annie: See, I love that.

Jennifer: So excited about that because we do facilitate the garden. We get to pull that stuff right from the garden. Today we’re utilizing tomatoes that were just overabundance on. And when the women were in house and they came to me and said I don’t know what to feed the baby. What are they ready for? I just – it zoomed me right back to when I had my first daughter, Madison. She is going to be 20 here soon. And I remember being that mom. I remember not knowing and just so nervous.

Annie: And you know what? I think it’s changed through the decades because I know when I had my children the month after they were – my doctor said I could start to give them like cereal. But I don’t know if they do it that soon anymore. They don’t, right?

Jennifer: It’s different. I mean babies and women, we’re all different. But there’s certain times that yeah, either your child isn’t really doing so well. They’re spitting it up or they’re noticing that their babies are a little more aggravated or crying. We really try to fine tune their diets as well. And so, I’m really excited to show them how inexpensive it can be to make. All you need is a blender, a food processor, a pot, a pan and a strainer and you can make your child organic fresh baby food.

Annie: It really is simple.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Annie: I mean it’s so super simple and it eliminates all the stuff they don’t need.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Annie: In the processing.

Jennifer: And it gets them hand in hand on a relationship with not only their food but their relationship with their children.

Annie: Yes. And the only other ingredient outside of its natural food item is the love.

Jennifer: Absolutely.

Annie: That the mother puts in there.

Jennifer: Right.

Annie: As she’s making it. So that’s all it is. It’s what you pull from the ground and the love from her heart.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Annie: And that’s it. So I walked through the gardens. I love your gardens.

Tania: Me too.

Annie: I was pimping out Jack. Jack, are you listening? Because I think these ladies need your help. You need to walk through their garden and kind of guide them. But their gardens are beautiful and I saw a lot of tomatoes being grown. And I mean the possibilities are really endless.

Jennifer: They are. And my where I wanted to steel your work husband there was to have him show me the herbs and stuff that we can do that limit the space that it takes up. And so, if we could get that off the plate as far as stuff that I order that sits in the fridge sometimes.

Annie: Exactly.

Jennifer: That we could just go to the garden, that would be my next step.

Annie: And I think some of those herbs can be done in individual pots.

Jennifer: Yes.

Annie: Yes. And then that way you can have more and still free up your box for other vegetable items.

Jennifer: Exactly.

Annie: Yeah. Yeah. So ok, Jack. I don’t know if you’re listening but yeah.

Jennifer: We have projects.

Annie: Yes. We have projects. We have a honey do list for you. Yes. So I’m making it as we speak. Ok, honey? We’ll talk later. So ok. So you have your burger bash today.

Tania: Yes.

Annie: And this is for alumni, correct?

Tania: Correct.

Annie: What’s your website if somebody wants to go to your website?

Tania: Yeah. It’s www.newdirectionsforwomen.org.

Annie: And so, your burger bash is today and what time does it kick off?

Jennifer: At noon. We’ll be welcoming the women back on campus at noon and opening up the buffet to a variety of different burgers. We’re going to do black bean chipotle and we’re also going to be doing a barbeque chicken with slaw and then your just typical bacon avocado mushroom burger. So there will be several burgers to choose from. We did lots of sides. I actually had my daughter in, Jillian, yesterday who helped me make from scratch all the side dishes. And I really love having her in the kitchen and I think it’s nice for the women to see. A lot of them had commented on how great it is to see us cooking together.

Annie: Yes, yes.

Jennifer: I absolutely adore it.

Annie: I think you’re giving Jack some competition with his barbeque today. Yeah. He may have 150 pounds of smoked meet but I don’t know.

Jennifer: No, no. I think we could work out a trade.

Annie: Right?

Jennifer: Because I’m with you, Annie. That barbeque just gets –

Annie: I know. I know. I am a cook with the fire girl. I love that. Just show me somewhere open I can start to spark it up and I will. So yes, yes. But so, your alumni come in and I’m sure there’s activity that goes on throughout the course of the day.

Tania: Yeah. There is activity like there’s a volleyball court on our campus which is really fun.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: We also use that a lot on Saturdays when we have family group. So addiction is a family disease. If the resident or the woman that we’re working with gets well but her family system stays the same.

Annie: Right.

Tania: It’s not always going to bode well for her. The entire family has to heal together. And so, we have family group every Saturday and so that volleyball court is certainly used during then. We have visitation in the afternoons. We have a certified therapy dog named Lola who comes and visits on Saturdays as well after family group. So really, the weekend is a wonderful time of togetherness, of family visitation, of just of healing these bonds that are so important.

Annie: And for the most part do you see that support in the family when you get a new resident? For the most part do you have that family support so that this can be a positive conclusion?

Tania: There’s always supportive people in each woman’s life that – and sometimes they’re creating a family of their own.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: For sure, friends, the women that they’re meeting here, alumni in our community that are coming to support that woman.

Annie: And do – and that’s what I was wanting to know too. Do your alumni – do they build relationships that go beyond just the visiting on days like this that with some of your residents, once they leave are they able to continue a relationship with your alumni?

Tania: Oh definitely. Our alumni are very generous with their time, with their cell phone numbers. They’re always welcome to call out to our alumni. And really, they’re like care partners to us.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: They’re almost – I’m not going to say they’re part of our staff but we couldn’t do what we do without our alumni. They’re an integral part to the healing process.

Annie: Yes. And you must see the path that your alumni walk. I’m sure that you just are able to stand back and watch the growth as they leave and then when they come back, what they bring back with them. And I’m sure you’ve seen them get married and have children of their own once they leave. That must be really satisfying just feeling when you see that kind of success that’s coming from a facility like this.

Tania: It’s absolutely wonderful and I’ve seen pictures of weddings where an entire community, a patient community flew out to whenever that wedding was and they all supported each other. I love watching that bond, that sisterhood, that recovery community continue to flourish as women lead. And it’s interesting because we don’t have any single rooms. We have three beds in every single room. And when Betty Ford went to treatment she also had three beds in her room which she asked for a single. She asked for some privacy. And the nurse had the perfect response for her which was “You can have a single room but you have to ask the other two women to leave.”

Annie: Oh wow.

Tania: So she wasn’t going to do that.

Annie: Right.

Tania: And it was – we tell that story all the time because like I think I said addiction is a disease of isolation.

Annie: Yes.

Tania: And so, it’s very easy to hide out when you’re in your single room. But when you have two other women in that room who are going through the same process as you, those bonds get to form.

Annie: Yes, yes. Wow. Wow. Thank you so much. Thank you for joining me this morning.

Tania: You’re welcome.

Annie: I really – I really appreciate you coming in and telling us your story and just – there’s so much encouragement behind it. And I think that’s what the message that needs to be sent out there. There’s always a place that you can go and change your life around.

Tania: That’s right.

Jennifer: At any point.

Annie: At any point. Yes. And that I think is really important. It’s never so bad where you can’t make a change in your life.

Tania: That’s right.

Annie: Yes. And especially when you have places to go like New Direction. And all you’ve got to do is take that first step. So yeah. So thank you very much. Now give me your website again.

Tania: It’s www.newdirectionsforwomen.org.

Annie: Ok. Well, you have been listening to Tania and Chef Jennifer from New Directions, a facility for recovery for women in Costa Mesa. And I want to thank all of my listeners and my Facebook watchers. Thank you for joining us. And Jack, I’m on my way, Jack. So I’m going to hightail it over to you. I hope you have that smoked meat ready because I’m ready.

Rip: Oh Annie.

Annie: So ok everyone. Thank you so much. Thank you, Rip.

Rip: You’re welcome.

Annie: That is it. Ok. Thank you. You’ve been listening to Pots and Pans with Jack and Annie but just Annie today. And so, don’t forget to come back and join us again and we will – oh and what do I say? Grab somebody, your loved one, whoever, take them out there, make it a day and go see Jack. He’s throwing quite the bash today. All righty. See you next weekend.