Madisonville, Tenn. — A former halfway house in Madisonville has transformed into the city's first residential addiction recovery program for women.
Selena Rider spent about 8 months preparing for the opening of her new organization Transformation Haven Ministries.
A meth addict for five years, she lost everything including custody of her children.
Now almost eight years sober, Rider is using her tough past to help others beat their addictions.
And she's doing it with community support in the place where her addiction started.
She purchased a rundown house in Madisonville in March of 2018.
"It was known as the big drug house...for Monroe County," said Rider.
But the space is taking on a new purpose - rehabilitating women dealing with drug addiction.
"There're not enough places like this," said Rider. "You have 30-day programs and you have 60-day programs and it's simply just not enough."
Starting next week, Rider will be running a 12-month recovery program for female addicts in East Tennessee.
"I went to all these other different centers and would speak about addiction and kind of saw what worked and what didn't work," she said of her structured recover program.
Rider said addicts lack structure, and the women in her program will stick to the same schedule every day to regain order in their lives.
They'll have daily chores, classes with addiction counselors and people from the Department of Child Services, among other forms of help. They will participate in community work projects, and a local gym has sponsored memberships so they can start a healthy lifestyle.
The women will also have daily devotionals, Bible studies and time with local pastors.
Rider sold all she had to buy the house that she and women in the program will live in, and turn it into a residential recovery space.
Almost everything inside was donated from people and companies across East Tennessee.
With six women set to move in mid-November, Rider is facing backlash.
"There have been some that have said you're never gonna make it, there's been some that said this house has always been a drug house it's never gonna change," said Rider.
But 250 women looking for help applied to this inaugural program.
As she can only house 6 until the house is certified to hold more, Rider has helped 60 women find other recovery facilities as she was building up Transformation Haven.
A letter from one woman who is moving in next week reminds Rider why this will all be worth it. It reads:
"Thank you for every tear, thank you for every struggle, thank you for everything and every opposition that you've faced to make this possible for me to come in and for me to change my life."
Rider says the community support has been outstanding.
It's $200 per person to enroll in the program to cover some basic medical costs. But a local Girl Scout Troop raised $1,000 this summer to pay for the first five women's entry fees.
After that payment, everything will be donated.
Transformation Haven's public grand opening is this Saturday, November 10 at 10 A.M. at 531 College Street in Madisonville.
The public is welcome, and Rider says if you're interested in sponsoring the program in any way, reach out to her here.