CINCINNATI -- It may look like any other house in East Price Hill, but the House of Freedom and Miracles is much more than that.
For Sarah Whalen -- and about a dozen other women recovering from heroin addiction -- it’s a symbol of home and hope.
“I'm so excited to be moving in here ... it's beautiful, and I can't wait,” Whalen said. “This is an absolute blessing.”
Whalen used drugs for 15 years before she sought treatment. Now, she’ll pay $125 a week to live in a sober environment surrounded by like-minded women.
“I'll be rooming with another girl … everything is coming together,” Whalen said.
The house features a lounge and porch for relaxing, a full kitchen to prepare meals and a dining room that can seat 13 people.
Cincinnati-based construction company Unlimited Carpentry spent six months getting the house ready.
Co-owner James Thomas said he’s happy to be a part of the project because he believes in their mission.
“I think what they're doing is good,” Thomas said. “I think they're going to be able to help a lot of people and touch a lot of lives.”
Thomas said his company rebuilt the porch and refinished the wooden staircase inside. They were able to salvage some of the house’s flare like stained glass windows.
“What we tried to accomplish in here was keep as much character of the home as we could like the Rookwood fireplace,” Thomas said. “The original woodwork was all salvaged.”
Brandi Lawless used to live at a different sober living home. Now, she helps run the Serenity Recovery Network to give back to others who were once in her position.
“This is what we are. This is what we can be: beautiful people,” Lawless said.
That’s what Whalen wants for her life.
“I'd love to save up for a car, get an apartment and have my children move back in with me,” Whalen said. “I miss them and I love them, and that's one of the reasons I'm staying clean -- it's for them.”
The project costs $350,000, and the recovery network is still trying to raise $60,000.