By Susan Dromey Heeter
According to Webster’s dictionary, sober is defined as “not drunk; having or showing a very serious attitude or quality; plain in color.”
When I drove up to the Sober Sisters Recovery Farm in Somersworth, these words did not immediately come to mind. Rather, in front of me was Malley Farm, an idyllic old white farm house located in the middle of 79 acres of pastoral beauty.
Malley Farm is quaint and serene. I half expected Ma Ingalls to walk out carrying a basket of eggs and a fresh batch of muffins. And while the Sober Sisters Recovery Farm does indeed cook up eggs and muffins, it is so much more than simple fare. Sober Sisters Recovery provides a safe, warm home in which women suffering from addiction will get well and return to lives of dignity and grace.
And this locale was born from anything but serenity. The founders of Sober Sisters Recovery, Mone Cassier and Marybeth Schofield, had lost a friend to a heroin overdose, a woman described as “very bright, very young.” Both Mone and Marybeth were devastated, distraught, but decided to channel their grief into hope and teamed up to start Sober Sisters Recovery.
This beginning was a little over a year ago in June of 2015. Since then, this six bedroom, three and half bath, former boys’ home has been transformed into a home where up to nine women can come for shelter, direction and tools for sober living. According to Mone, it’s very important to designate this locale as a “sober living home” and not “transitional housing.”
“This is a structured sober living farm for women coming out of treatment, not from the street. We are not a detox, but a place to help women who might ask, ‘Help. I don’t know how to do this – can you help me?’”
And Mone and Marybeth modeled the simple but daunting task of asking for help as they started this mission. Mone ran several half marathons in support of SSR, fundraising through massive training and completing courses in both New Hampshire and Hawaii. Marybeth reached out to friends to help with carpentry, cleaning, landscaping, and soliciting donations – garnering everything from a riding lawnmower, to flowers, to carpets, to beds, to state-of-the art kitchen equipment.
Help at Sober Sisters Recovery includes onsite 12-Step meetings and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, role modeling and emotional support for dis-empowered women. Sober Sisters Recovery offers first consideration for women in need from the Strafford County area, many of whom might be coming directly from the Strafford County Jail.
On Saturday, Aug. 20, Sober Sisters Recovery will open its doors. Come witness the miracle born from tragedy at a special Open House from 3 to 6 p.m.
Much like the inception of SSR, this is a potluck, a bring-what-you’d-like, a celebration of hope and recovery for women, for families, for communities. Perhaps Ma Ingalls will be there with some fresh eggs and muffins and laughter and hope and joy in all that is recovery.
I hope to see you there – I’ll probably be wearing something bright and colorful and joyful. For more information, visit the Sober Sisters Facebook page and/or sobersistersrecovery.org. See you Saturday, Aug. 20.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.