A seven-day-old infant had arrived back from the hospital the day before, and the house was quiet.
Like most homes, cleanliness is attained through a combination of hard work and appreciation for the collective living space. Unsurprisingly in a house with a newborn, the wall in the living room already is filled with pictures. A tree born out of imagination, construction paper and tape spreads across the far wall, leaves at the top with messages of hope and positive affirmation. The dining room table is large; the kind whose leaves are utilized to their fullest extent to fit all the chairs that fall around it.
This house seems like any other in the Grove Street area.
It is not until you look closer that you begin noticing the slight inconsistencies. While images of family cover a corner of the wall, there is not an errant toy or crumpled juice box that may belong to one of the pictured children to be found. Words atop the construction-paper tree read “love” and “laugh often,” while “insecurity,” “codependency” and “dwelling in the past” appear to have fallen away, scattered across the ground below.
And as you walk through the halls, the 25 names that label the doors are all decidedly female. This house is not like any other around Grove Street.
This is Beryl’s House, a residential treatment facility run by Community Healthlink that serves women in recovery from substance abuse and addiction — 25 at a time. (The location of the house is kept from the public as a safety measure for its clients, to keep damaging influences and abusive acquaintances at bay.)
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