New Directions for Women is the rare product of a few brave souls inspiring an entire community. It all started with Pamela Wilder, who was brave enough to stand and admit she needed help with her addiction to alcohol. Immediately, Muriel Zink and Marion Schoen stood beside her and helped found New Directions with the help of their community.
In an overwhelming act of compassion, the members of the Junior League of Newport Beach, banded together to get the funding and support needed to establish a women’s recovery home – the first of its kind in Orange County, California. The goal was always to provide a home like environment and the most comfortable, healing setting possible. With blinding speed, New Directions was ready to begin helping women (and a few decades later, start helping women with their dependent children as well as pregnant women) overcome their addictions and develop life skills that would last with their family forever.
It was through these events, the community gathering behind Mrs. Wilder, that we understood the unbelievable support and power behind our community. We are blessed to be in a world where people are so selfless and generous with some of their most precious possessions—whether it be their own time, talent, treasure, and courage to stand beside those in need.
As such, many of our founding principles and our favorite events revolve around community-driven healing. From our many therapy groups, such as equine therapies, drum circles, yoga and process groups, to the very elements that make our recovery feel like a truly, home-life, family-oriented experience such as the rocking chairs in a circle on our patio, everything revolves around community.
Every evening, we encourage all of our women to join together in our spacious Founder’s House dining room to enjoy gourmet cooking from our head chef, Sal. Here, our women get to enjoy fresh, organic cooking with healthy ingredients, such as spa waters (fruit and vegetable infused waters) instead of coffee or sodas, and fresh, farm-to-table vegetables and proteins.
For many women, who are used to a lifestyle of addiction and unhealthy habits, we feel this is an important element to their recovery—gaining healthy habits in all domains of their life. Eating together as a community helps them adjust to a healthier lifestyle amongst friends, and helps them build their social circles and learn to feel comfortable discussing their most pressing concerns amongst new friends and ‘Sisters in Sobriety’ who have endured similar hardships. It builds a community where each and every woman truly cares about one another—where each and every family is a larger part of one another.
Much like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous focus on community-based groups and meetings, where members look after one another and believe in each other, we believe that same strength of community helps drive so many of our women to successfully go sober.
If you or a loved one are seeking a path to recovery, we cannot encourage you enough to seek out a program, like New Directions for Women, that focuses on healing as a community. Addiction is difficult and frightening to overcome, so please, seek out our help. No one should ever have to overcome alone.