In August 2021, the Binghamton Rescue Mission opened its newest program, Whitney House. Whitney House is a three-bedroom, single family home serving women who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness. The women residing at Whitney House receive guidance and care management from Rescue Mission staff, and receive support from their peers. They are provided referrals to community services including: job training and employment opportunities, life skills, spiritual counseling, and legal counsel. Together, the women at Whitney House set achievable life goals, and can rebuild their lives in a safe and stable environment.
A JOURNEY TO Whitney house
Last summer, Allison checked into rehab. This wasn’t her first visit to rehab but this time she said something was different.
“I believe in a higher power and I believe it was divine intervention when I went into that last treatment center,” she said. “When I was there I had this desperation, and felt like it was my one and only chance to be free.”
Allison’s struggles with alcohol and drugs started before high school. She was 11 years old when she began drinking alcohol before experimenting with drugs. By 15 she entered rehab for the first time. After getting clean at 17, she graduated from high school, moved out and found a job.
For a few years, she felt that her life was back on track. Soon however, it was a struggle to maintain her sobriety, due to a demanding work schedule, and social situations that revolved around alcohol. She also found herself in some unstable relationships with partners who also struggled with addiction issues. Allison found herself falling back into old habits, and relapsed. She was able to get clean while she was pregnant with her son, but after his birth she relapsed again. Her mother was given custody of her son a few months after he was born, and she began a downward spiral.
“I was in this horrible cycle for five years – I got high because I couldn’t see my son and I couldn’t see my son because I got high,” she said.
Unable to maintain stable housing, Allison moved around New York state, staying on the streets or in shelters. She continued to struggle with her mental health and the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. “I was a mess and I was at the point where I had very little hope, I couldn’t see a way past any of this and was stuck in a day-to-day cycle. I was just existing” she said.
Last summer, after years of addiction, Allison finally reached her breaking point. She checked into a long-term rehabilitation facility, where she spent several months working on her sobriety and obtaining mental health treatment.
She says that no one, including herself, thought she would live past 25. “When I turned 25 in treatment and was clean for the first time in a long time I felt free and like anything was possible,” she said.
As her inpatient treatment was coming to an end, Allison heard about the Binghamton Rescue Mission from a friend. She was connected through her counselor with the Mission, and in March she moved into the Whitney Women’s House at the Binghamton Rescue Mission.
“I am where I am by the grace of God,” she said. “I’ve worked so hard and I’ve been able to thrive since coming here.”
Allison has been sober for nine months. She’s grateful to have her own room and the support of the staff at the Binghamton Rescue Mission as she continues to work on her recovery. Allison says the women’s house feels like home now. She recently was able to travel to stay with her mother and son for an extended visit. Allison says her long-term goal is being able to live with her mother and son.
“God didn’t bring me through this for nothing, this is the beginning of the rest of my life,” she said.