A Fellow Traveler and Guide


At Healing Housing we believe that community-based solutions provide the best options for long-term recovery from substance use addiction. One of our community-based partners is Lizzie Harrigan, LCSW, owner and director of Bright Horse Counseling.

Lizzie has been leading therapeutic workshops for our Healing Housing alumnae and we asked her to tell us more about the needs and concerns of the graduates who are attending. Her responses are below.

The graduate meetings have been successful and meaningful. First of all, the meetings are directed by the women who attend. As the facilitator, I assist in opening, closing, and managing the time. Additionally I offer content and reflection based on what the women bring to the room. Some of the benefits and themes for women are:

1. Connection
Everyone has varying levels of community support, but reconnecting with other HH alumni feels like a special comfort. They seem to feel better after reconnecting with HH graduates specifically. All the women felt safe at HH.

2. Freedom to share
The graduates appreciate the freedom to share about anything they are facing, without judgment. They appreciate being able to touch base honestly, openly, and casually.

3. Accountability
I was intentional in focusing on the practice of relational accountability rather than focusing on progress or outcomes. Women seem to feel encouraged, but not pressured by this.

The practice of reporting struggles is maybe more important than reporting success as it builds humility, willingness, and honesty. 

4. Finding a balance
There is a difficulty in balancing roles for women in recovery. Traditionally in 12-step programs, there is a saying, “Whatever you put before your recovery you’ll loose.” While this is true, it’s also difficult for women who are primary caregivers for children and older family members. 

5. Creating community
After leaving HH, finding new meetings and community can be hard. Sponsorship, home groups and meeting attendance are all important to recovery, but building these brand new relationships in their life is a challenge.

Other subjects we have discussed at the workshops are:

  • include embracing parenting in recovery,
  • isolation vs. healthy solitude,
  • boundaries,
  • and workplace stress. 

Abundant thanks to Lizzie and all who listen, gently guide, and love each woman we serve.