invisible hit counter
House for women may open early
Standing inside the former Edo Miller Funeral Home on Gloucester Street, Linda Lowe found it hard to believe that just a week before the building had been in shambles.

New landscaping, fresh paint, refurbished shutters, fixed floors: It's almost a whole new place for Lowe and the women of Grace House.

Mtn2Sea Ministries, a local organization that connects volunteers to projects, brought in 70 volunteers Aug. 9 to help revive the building and has stayed onboard. Lowe, Grace House director, says the ministry is bringing in more groups to work, and she couldn't feel more fortunate.

"I've been amazed at the support. I could say I need an electrician, and three will show up. It's just been amazing," she said.

Lowe had hoped to have the house for women grappling with addictions open by October, but says it may be sooner. All that's needed is a new kitchen, and she's in search of commercial appliances to accommodate the number of women who will be living at the house.

In 2007, Lowe herself entered treatment for alcoholism and addiction to pain-killers. After her treatment, she started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, befriending women in her situation. She realized there was no help for them, nowhere to go for them to lift themselves up.

When the economy took a toll on her husband's construction business, she decided it was time for a change. And up popped Grace House.

"We lost everything," she said. "All I had were some of our show horses. I sold them and decided I needed to do something for someone else, though I couldn't even really help myself," Lowe said.

She took what she had and rented the old Jane Macon House on Monck Street in Brunswick. Before she could even get furniture in the door, people were asking to become a part. The house has been full since.

"It's unbelievable to watch people's lives transform, come off drugs and alcohol, get clean and sober, get a job and get off government support," Lowe said.

Since opening, Lowe has been able to help eight to 10 women at a time. Unfortunately, she says the drug and alcohol problem in Glynn County is much bigger than one person can handle, nor are there enough treatment options for those suffering from addiction.

"Of the slim (assistance) choices, most are full or only accept those with insurance. Some people, like those addicted to certain pain pills, can't physically stop without becoming violently sick. If they can't get help for that, they're just going to take another pill to stop the withdrawal symptoms, and the cycle begins again," Lowe said.

Having the larger location come October will mean she can serve 15 women or more. Despite the larger location, she knows she will still have to turn away some women, some that most people wouldn't think have problems.

"I've been seeing a lot of young girls from great families suffering from addiction, often from pain pills. No one, no matter economic or social level, is exempt from addiction," Lowe said. "The more money you have, the longer it takes to hit rock bottom. It's as if the outside success can mask what's really going on."

Lowe felt that way herself. She and her husband were doing well in construction, with a concrete business bringing in the money. One day she woke up and looked in a mirror and said, "How did this happen?" Some days, she couldn't get out of bed. But she wanted to do something.

"I'm tired of talking about the problem (of drugs and alcohol in Glynn County). So many people complain about things, but I think it's better to do something about them, even if it's little. This is a big problem here, and I don't know the answer. I'm just trying to be a part of that solution," she said.

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at slundgren@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.



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