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Celebrate National Recovery Month in September – Film Screenings & Q&A details here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014, San Francisco, CA – purchase tickets at the door.
Thursday, September 11, 2014, San Jose, CA – RSVP here.
Saturday, September 13, 2014, Rochester Recovery Film Festival – purchase tickets here.

Support recovery and family preservation with the national launch of
On Life’s Terms: Mothers in Recovery.

You can make a tax-deductible donation here.  Thank You!

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On Life’s Terms: Mothers in Recovery elevates the voices of five mothers battling substance use addiction in a gender-specific residential treatment program in Northern California.  Their intimate story reveals experiences with domestic violence, prostitution and incarceration.  In the desire for custody of their children they transform their lives over three years through self-sufficiency and newfound pride – challenging the stigma and drug laws impacting women and children – and will inspire hope for recovery.

We are currently fundraising to launch On Life’s Terms: Mothers in Recovery nationwide – to end the stigma.  Help us make a difference in the lives of people in recovery.  Here is the link to make a tax-deductible donation in any amount now Donate.  Email sheila.ganz@gmail.com if you would like us to bring the film to your city.  Thank you!

“Center Point can take great pride in their dedication… I commend you for your hard work on behalf of the people in your community. You are helping to create a brighter future for us all.
President Bill Clinton

Background

Since the 1986 U.S. war on drugs mandatory sentencing law, the number of women in prison has jumped 400% and 800% for African American women.  66% of women in prison have minor children.  Most of the women incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses are suffering with substance use issues.  The underlying causes for addiction in 80% of women with substance use problems are untreated post-traumatic stress and/or depression, precipitated by sexual and domestic violence.  Fear of being prosecuted can drive pregnant moms with substance use problems away from seeking prenatal care.

Ganz was outraged and determined to make this film in 2005, when she read the story of Regina McNight.  In 1999, in South Carolina the child abuse law was applied to “viable fetuses” when McNight, a 22 year old African American mother of two, had a stillbirth.  After 15 minutes of deliberation the jury convicted her of murder, because she was using cocaine.  She was sentenced to 12 years in prison.  The U.S, Supreme Court declined to hear her case.  In 2008, the South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision on the grounds that her attorney failed to challenge the junk science used to convict her.

In 1991, in an effort to institute a positive solution to these personal tragedies, SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provided start-up funds for 35 family-centered residential treatment programs for pregnant and parenting women and their young children.  Center Point was one of them.  In 2013, there are less than 150 residential treatment programs for pregnant women with substance use issues in the United States.

When a newborn tests positive for drugs, the baby is taken away from the mother and put into foster care.  Termination of parental rights has far outrun adoption, creating a generation of legal orphans.  The children bounce from foster home to foster home.  Only 20% of mothers reunify with their children once they are removed to foster care.

The Maternal Lifestyle Study started in 1992 and funded by NIH shows that, “if children who are prenatally exposed to drugs grow up in a relatively decent environment they have a good chance of developing normally.”  Barry Lester, PhD, Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk, Providence, RI, Principle Investigator.

On Life’s Terms: Mothers in Recovery  will catalyze social change by stimulating a national dialogue on treatment vs. incarceration and the long term impact of breaking family ties.  Our intention for the film is to validate and inspire women and men in recovery, educate social service providers and the criminal justice system; and encourage policy makers and legislators to fund more family-centered substance use residential treatment programs.  This timely film removes the mask of stigma and stereotype to reveal the humanity of these women, and promote recovery and hope for everyone.

Your generous donation now will help us make a difference in the lives of vulnerable women and children. Thank you!

Differences in drug addiction for women and men

Although there are many similarities between men and women when it comes to drug use and addiction, there are also many differences.  Differences that are important to take into consideration both in understanding the addiction as well as in treating it.

Some of the differences for women center on the physical effects of addiction while others focus on how women relate to their families, their communities and their children.  All of these factors can affect how women respond to treatment.  Many of the symptoms of addiction for women tend to be “inner directed” including anxiety, shame, and depression.  For men, the symptoms tend to be more visible and external – aggressive or drunk driving, fighting and assault.  As a result, there is a need for, and benefit to, gender-specific services for women who also recognize the important role that trauma may play in her addiction and in her recovery.

If you are seeking help with substance use issues call, or go to the website for information and listings:

Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator
1-800-662-HELP (4357), 1-800-487-4889 (TDD)

Drug Rehabs and Addiction Treatment by State
1-888-268-6101

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-799-7233

Nation Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
Hope Line (24 hour Affiliate Referral)
1-800-NCA-CALL or 1-800-622-2255

Funded in part by: Artemis Rising Foundation, Pacific Pioneer Fund, Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, Open Meadows Foundation, Inc., Penny Harvest Roundtable and Individual Donors.

Please contact us at: (415) 564-3691 or sheila.ganz@gmail.com  @pandorasbp if you or your group would like to host a fundraising screening.

© 2014 Sheila Ganz

3 thoughts on “Home

  1. Tracy Kiesler

    Excellent work here. I am a survivor of abuse as well as a recovering alcoholic. I have four minor children. I couldn’t agree more with the fact that recovery from addiction for mothers is different than men. It it is different because of our relationships with our children and our fears of losing them. As a recovery mentor, I see frequently the experience of abuse coming into play in addiction. It’s an escape method, a coping skill when we don’t know what else to do in our situations. The key is being able to get new tools, ones that work. Also, providing support to a woman as she is going through recovery and life changes is so very important. Juggling recovery and children is very difficult. Especially considering financial issues, legal issues, and possibly the fact that she is facing leaving an abusive relationship. All of these things can be so overwhelming that relapse is common. Thank you so much for helping bring awareness and reducing stigma! Recovery IS possible!

    Reply
  2. kathryn page

    I cannot wait to see this video! Mothers’ stories need to get out there, so that better support can be generated. I only have one “but” here: “if children who are prenatally exposed to drugs grow up in a relatively decent environment they have a good chance of developing normally”–applies to drugs other than alcohol. If the fetus’ developing brain was exposed to alcohol, brain cells wander off to the wrong place, slide off their destination, and die off at high rates. The child can seem fine until around the age of 3 when reasoning starts to be expected–and again around middle school time, when life gets so much more complicated we sometimes see behavior, mood, school taking a big hit. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders look a lot like AD/HD, the complicated kind. Another great video, this one for FASD, is called “Recovering Hope”, and shows five moms in recovery with their kids, all affected in different ways by prenatal alcohol. Available from SAMHSA, free, and i think also on youtube.

    Reply

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