Group Raises Money to Buy Home to Fight Alcoholism in Johnson County

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Two women are raising money to start a sober living home in Iowa City after suffering from alcoholism themselves.

“It happens to all kinds of women in their lifetime,” said Sue Gardner, one of the co-founders of Iowa Sober Living.

Gardner, along with Merrillee Ramsey, founded the organization because they wanted to give women another option to deal with alcoholism, something they know all too well.

“I was driving home from work, and I was driving drunk, and I hit a vehicle and unfortunately sent someone to the hospital,” Ramsey said.

The house is said to have eight rooms, but they are still looking for the perfect home and financing to make their vision a reality.

“The idea is that it will be a residence, and it won’t just be the four walls,” Gardner said. “The atmosphere and ambience of the house will be welcoming and you will be surrounded by people who are going through the same thing.”

“We estimate we will need a home that will have at least eight bedrooms, three bathrooms, and enough to accommodate eight women,” Gardner said. We’re probably talking about $800,000 for the house.

Running this sober house isn’t just a resource they see as a necessity for the area, it’s a resource they believe would have helped them.

“[For] for every person who suffers from addiction, seven other people are affected by this addiction,” Ramsey said. “A spouse, children, an employer, a family, getting eight women sober really helps 56 people.”

So far they have raised around a third of the funds needed and estimate that it will take around four to six months to raise the rest.

“It’s one day at a time, just like being sober,” Ramsey said.

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