Beverly Haberle is the Executive Director of The Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a non profit recovery advocacy organization. The Council serves the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties and operates five recovery community centers. The Council provides a wide range of services to families, individuals and the community to reduce the impact of addiction, trauma and other related health issues. Haberle is on the board of directors of Faces and Voices of Recovery in Washington DC. For the past twelve years she has been the Project Director for PRO-ACT (Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Achieving Community Together) a grass roots organization mobilizing the recovery community, family members and other advocates in developing Recovery Community Centers in the southeastern areas of Pennsylvania.

Every PRO ACT Recovery Community Center has a recovery coaching program within the center. In order to keep a constant resource of recovery coaches to the five centers, Haberle and Fred Martin, another PRO ACT Project Manager have developed a recovery coaching training program. This program, held twice a year for a week, has trained over 700 recovery coaches since its inception in 2006. Under Haberle’s direction, PRO ACT will send trainers to other voluntary organizations devoted to developing similar recovery community centers and recovery coaching programs.

As part of this Recovery Coaching training, Haberle saw the need for ethical guidelines for the recovery coach to follow. As a result Haberle lead a PRO-ACT Ethics Work Group, and with William White, co-authored the Ethical Guidelines for the Delivery of Peer-based Recovery Support Services, which has been mentioned in this book. The text is available for download at: ( ).

Another one of the early projects developed by Haberle and PRO-ACT is the Mentor Plus Program (Haberle, 2000). The Mentor Plus project matched volunteer Mentors with inmates in early recovery (“Mentees”) residing at the Bucks County Correctional Facility (BCCF). The Mentors visited their assigned Mentees once a week during the Mentees’ incarceration. The focus of these visits was the development of a recovery plan that would be implemented upon the Mentee’s release. As the program evolved, it became clear that female Mentees had a great deal more difficulty transitioning out of the institution and implementing a recovery plan than did their male counterparts. The special needs of female Mentees included safe housing, early financial assistance, recovery-conducive employment, assistance with family problems, support for continuing education, and links for co-occurring disorders or other psychiatric support (Haberle, 2007).

Out of that synergy, Haberle guided PRO-ACT to pursue the idea of developing a Center that would combine the goals of providing recovery housing for women who needed it and providing within the same facility a recovery-oriented, gender-specific sanctuary for other women in the community. By this point, the Council had already had 15 years’ experience providing gender specific programming, outreach, and support to women in a recovery community setting. In December of 2004, the Council purchased a building that had once served as a women’s college dormitory in New Britain, Pennsylvania for use as a Women’s Community Recovery Center. Forty-eight volunteers were recruited and trained as recovery coaches, and a 12-session Life Skills program/curriculum was developed to address the barriers and needs that women seeking long-term recovery were most often experiencing. In January of 2006, with great excitement, the first 5 women entered the house as residents (Haberle, 2007).

Of the 28 residents served since January, 2006, 28 women, aged 19-47, have lived at the Women’s Community Recovery Center (WCRC). The Center currently has more than 20 volunteers. A case manager is made available to the residents, to help them address the many problems that residents experience in navigating the traditional treatment system, and to help identify and connect the residents with other community resources. Case managers and peer volunteer recovery coaches work with the residents to develop and implement recovery plans (Haberle, 2007).

In its two years of operation, the WCRC was able to establish a residential recovery support center, recruit and train a core cadre of volunteers, develop a set of core services, establish a sound referral base, and engender strong local community support. Perhaps even more important, 22 out of 28 women residents have obtained employment, 12 of the 19 mothers in residence began visitation with their children, all residents were linked to the local recovery community, 8 have remained involved with WCRC services after leaving residence, and 3 are active volunteers working with other women seeking recovery (Haberle, 2007).

The details of Beverly Haberle’s experience and future vision for the WCRC is detailed in a paper, co-authored with William White called: Gender-specific Recovery Support Services:Evolution of the Women’s Community Recovery Center to the Women’s Recovery Community Center, which is available for download at:

As follows are just a few stories of how the WCRC has impacted women’s lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania:

Marie is a 36-year-old Caucasian woman, single, with one child with special needs. She
has one older sibling, her parents are divorced, and her mother has remarried. Marie was referred for residence at WCRC through a local counseling center. She presented as homeless and is on prescribed Methadone, as well as anti-depressant and sleeping medications. Marie is engaged in ongoing addiction and psychiatric treatment. During residence, she attended the 12-week Life Skills program, attended Twelve-Step meetings, and engaged with a Recovery Coach and a Twelve-Step Sponsor. Marie was able to regain joint custody of her son and successfully complete all of her probation and parole requirements. She also became gainfully employed and took herself off of Medical Assistance. She displayed patterns of taking on roles of responsibility, becoming overwhelmed, then sabotaging herself. She opted to take a career position and relocate to her parents’ home, despite staff feedback about this choice. She subsequently relapsed but was able to return to treatment quickly and re-stabilize. She is currently working part time and is actively involved in WCRC Services, Life Skills, and volunteer activity at the WCRC. She and her son live with her parents.

Faye is a 28-year-old Caucasian woman, single, with no children. She is the youngest of 5 children, and her parents remain married. She was referred for residence through a local counseling center. She presented as homeless, with a past history of treatment for ADHD, but was not taking prescribed medications. Faye was actively engaged in addiction treatment and mental health services at the time of her entry into the WCRC. During her residence, she attended programming activities, the 12-week Life Skills program, and Twelve-Step Meetings, and she also engaged with a Recovery Coach and a Twelve-Step Sponsor. She entered the WCRC with private insurance and was unemployed. Although Faye has a college degree, she took a job in retail and maintained the job throughout her stay of 18 weeks. She completed the program successfully and moved on to rent a room from a woman in the recovery community. Faye continues to be involved in ongoing activities at the WCRC. She currently works in sales and was able to pass her licensing test with support from staff. She manages her ADHD through biofeedback rather than medication. She has maintained abstinence since her discharge.

Hope is a 26-year-old Caucasian woman, single, with 2 children. She is the youngest of three children, her parents are divorced, and her father has remarried. She was referred for WCRC residence through the prison (Bucks County Correctional Facility). Hope presented as homeless, with a history of Bipolar Disorder treated with a prescribed mood stabilizer. She became actively involved in addiction treatment and mental health services through a local counseling center. During her residence, she attended all of the WCRC’s service programs and became actively involved in a Twelve-Step Program. Hope also achieved employment during her residence. Through staff at the WCRC, Hope became involved with the Bucks County Opportunity Council’s self sufficiency program, seeking financial assistance. She rented an apartment in the area and continues to be employed. Hope recently received scholarships to beauty school through the Bucks County Office of Corrections and the Bucks County Chamber of Commerce (Haberle, 2007).

This is part of an ongoing series of publishing chapters from my book: Recovery Coaching: A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery From Addiction. Which will be available on Amazon this spring.

Haberle, Beverly and White, William, (2007) Gender-specific Recovery Support Services: Evolution of the Women’s Community Recovery Center to the Women’s Recovery Community. Part of a series called: Perspectives on Peer-based Recovery Support Services developed for the Philadelphia PA Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services, with collaborative effort by the Pennsylvania Recovery Organization- Achieving Community Together (PROACT) and technology transfer assistance provided by the Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) at:


White, William, Haberle, Beverly, with PRO-ACT Ethics Work Group, Ethical Guidelines for the Delivery of Peer-based Recovery Support Services, The text is available for download at: ( ).

This entry was posted in Addiction Recovery Posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.