The Women's Treatment Center helps mothers battle addiction

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This weekend marks a milestone for a groundbreaking treatment program in Chicago. For more than 25 years, The Women's Treatment Center's mission has been to help women who are battling addiction.

One young mother drove four hours to check herself in. She had been using since she was 13 years old.

"I was ah, alcohol pain pills, I was kind of having problems my whole life," said one woman.

ABC7 is protecting her identity because it is such a difficult and private struggle. Like many of the 1,200 who come through The Women's Treatment Center every year, she is a mom. Her daughter now six years old.

"I told her I was sick. It was kind of like a hospital and it would help me be a better mother," she said.

It's the only residential program in the state that allows women fighting to stay sober to stay with their kids.

"I think for me, it's the children that really pushes me," she said.

Florence Wright is the clinical director. She said 95 percent of the women at the center are single parents nowhere else to take their children.

"Domestic violence is a big part of their lives, whether it's a family member, significant other. They know how to survive. They've been doing it for years. Our goal is, 'How do you thrive?'" Wright said.

Wright also said many of the women treated at the center have multiple addictions.

"Primary substance might be heroin, secondary being cocaine," Wright said.

While a mother works with counselors and parenting specialists, her children often get visits from volunteers like young women from the Junior League of Chicago.

"We've been partnering with women's treatment center for 25 years to provide everything volunteer support to programming to educational opportunities," said Molly Tavel, Junior League of Chicago.

The ultimate goal is that once they leave, the women will stay sober, and their kids will no longer have to worry about their mother not being there when they wake up.

It may seem simple, but it's a long journey for these women. Two years after being at The Women's Treatment Center, this mother has finally broken the cycle of addiction. She's looking forward to a new job and a new life with her daughter.

Without programs like the one at The Women's Treatment Center, many children of women suffering from addiction end up in welfare, not knowing when they would be reunited with their mothers.

The Junior League of Chicago is hosting a fundraiser for the center Saturday night. For more information about The Women's Treatment Center, visit
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