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Trusting the Process

Issue 18

At McAuley Residence, women are shown a path to success.

At the McAuley Residence, women are shown the path to success

When Amanda Kurlanski walked into the McAuley Residence eight years ago, she didn’t know what would come next. She had lost years to her disease, she was unemployable, and she was working to regain custody of her children—but she had been sober for nearly two months, and she needed a support network that could help build her up.

The McAuley Residence was the key to reclaiming the life she had lost control of.

Amanda lived at the McAuley Residence for three years; it was longer than the typical stay, but every minute there gave her a chance to create a solid foundation for the life she has now. “It was a door that opened opportunities,” she says. “Could I have done it on my own? Maybe. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it to the level that I did.”

The volume of support she found at the McAuley Residence couldn’t be found elsewhere. The women-only facility offered a longer stay than any other sober communities, and it provided safe and stable housing for her children, too. Amanda received counseling and had a caseworker, but the staff also helped her get her basic needs met so she could truly focus on her recovery.

While at the McAuley Residence, Amanda relearned basic life skills. She took cooking classes, attended a parenting group, learned how to budget, and even remastered social skills she had lost long ago. The facility also offered childcare, so Amanda was able to get her associate’s degree during her stay.

Five years since moving out, Amanda is a licensed counselor helping others through their recovery processes. She’s married, pregnant with her third child, and working toward attending the University of Maine School of Law. “I have a big, beautiful life today,” she says. “And it’s a direct result of the work that I did.” Her life is unrecognizable from what it was 10 years ago, and it’s all because of what she could accomplish during her stay at the McAuley Residence.

Want to support the McAuley Residence?

As Lisa Silverman, Volunteer Coordinator at the McAuley Residence confirmed, “It takes a village to hold these women in safety and to help them thrive!”

Here are ways the Maine village can rally for these residents:

  • Donate gift cards to stores for women to buy essentials that SNAP benefits don’t cover. Reny’s, Walmart and Hannaford gift cards (ones that specify no cigarettes or alcohol purchases are preferred).
  • Direct assistance. “We are trying to keep the internet going for all residents which is a huge expense over $1000 a month,” said Silverman. To make a monetary donation to support the McAuley, contact Northern Light Mercy Hospital and give to McAuley Residence’s Greatest Need Fund.
  • “The best volunteer opportunity right now is for women to come to our meetings on Zoom,” said Silverman. Contact the McAuley Residence for information on its open Zoom meeting: (207) 747-4121.

Jacqueline Brown
Jacqueline Brown
Jacqueline Brown is a freelance writer from Southern Maine who regularly contributes to national and regional publications. A former public school teacher in the Boston area, Jacqueline is the published author of several books for children, one of which won the Maine Literary Award for Children's Literature in 2018. When she's not at her computer, Jacqueline can be found looking for sea glass at her favorite beach.

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