When Paige Ingram walks into the Bethany House, the residents take note. She is the executive director of the Bethany House, the house where these women currently reside.
The Bethany House is a halfway house in Southern Pines for women with alcoholism and substance abuse disorders. To these women, she is far more than the director.
She is a role model for them, someone that has walked where they walk, struggled through similar issues, battled the same demons, work the same program of recovery, and now she is the executive director of the same halfway house she was a resident of.
The Bethany House was founded in 1986 and opened in 1988 through the tireless efforts Julia Throneburg. The idea is to provide a safe environment for sober living so that the residents can re-enter society as sober, productive members.
The Bethany House is a 501c3 charitable organization and is supported through United Way, Sandhills Mental Health, and the NC ABC Board. The rest of the money comes from fundraisers and donations.
The Bethany House has a 12-step program based upon the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and residents must attend AA or NA meetings. The house offers family-style living with residents cooking and sharing in the house chores just like any other family.
There is always a house manager on-site that oversees the residents. The women must maintain complete abstinence from illicit drugs and alcohol. They must submit to random drugs screens, and they must follow all the house rules.
The house can accommodate eight recovering women, and they come from all walks of life. The women attend school, work, or volunteer at least twenty hours a week while at the Bethany House.
The women sign a contract to stay a minimum of six months, and they pay a small weekly fee. Residents can stay up to a year and several have done so over the years.
The six months of residency is not easy for most people and not all succeed. For Ingram, the third time was the charm. Although she now has 14 years of sober living, it took three times for her to achieve almost a decade and a half of sobriety.
Her first attempt only lasted 23 days. She came back to the Bethany House two years later and stayed 7 months but says she did not work her program to stay sober after she left the house, and she relapsed.
After leaving the Bethany House a second time, Ingram actually broke into the house. She was arrested and served 11 months in prison. She relapsed again after prison and went back into treatment.
Ingram finally realized she had to fully commit to a program of sobriety if her life was going to change. After treatment, she came back to the Bethany House, but she finally knew “it only works if you work it.”
So Ingram started to work her program of recovery “one day at a time.” Hers is a story that is told many times at the Bethany House and is a true testament to the work done there.
Ingram completed her stay at the Bethany House and later came back to be a house manager. She worked as a house manager for the last 12 years. In October of 2017, she was named executive director.
More importantly, she can relate to the residents of the house, for it was within those walls that she found herself. She also became a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Registered. She now leads other women down a path of sobriety.
When asked what her goals at the house are, Ingram said, “To help our girls become sober, productive members of society.” But Ingram has a personal goal. “I want them to also feel loved and know that they are somebody. These women and the community need to understand that they have a disease, and they are not bad people. They are just trying to get better, and I love and care about them. I tell my girls don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.”
The residents obviously feel her love and care as the Bethany House is thriving under her direction. Recently, the women got together and bought her a plaque that now hangs in the house. It hangs on the wall beside the window she broke when she broke into the house. It reads: “From Broken To Boss”.
For those of you who would like to make a donation to the Bethany House to support women in recovery can do so by mailing a donation to PO Box 2441 Southern Pines, 28388 or by calling 910-692-0779.
Feature photo: Paige Ingram standing in front of the window she broke into with the plague the women gave her hanging on the wall.