Many women find motherhood and its challenges to be one of their most rewarding and fulfilling life experiences. Unfortunately, the mothers who experience it while dealing with an addiction can find it to be overwhelming and accompanied by feelings of inadequacy and failure.

The effects of using alcohol or other drugs while pregnant can leave a lifetime of emotional and health problems. Mothers of young children who remain addicted or initiate drug use can also inflict a lifetime of pain and suffering for their children and family.

Fortunately, women in the Florence area have a resource to assist them in addressing their addiction problems and starting a new life of recovery. This effort, if successful, can ensure they and their children have an opportunity to lead healthy, happy and productive drug-free lives.

The Chrysalis Center is a unique extended-term residential treatment facility for chemically dependent women and their children under the age of 10. Managed by Circle Park Behavioral Health Services, the Chrysalis Center was established in 1994 and is at 1430 Cashua in Florence. It provides living quarters for 16 women and up to two of their children under the age of 10.

The program provides treatment for up to 120 days for the women and their children and offers a sale, structured, stable environment. This allows the women to focus on and receive extensive individual and group therapy.

Many of the women entering the Chrysalis Center suffer not only from addiction but also from a wide range of negative consequences often associated with addiction such as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, poor education, unemployment and a lack of family bonding and support.

As a result, many are inevitably trapped in a cycle of addiction with little, if any, resources to break this cycle on their own. It is invaluable to their recovery effort to be in a safe and structured environment where they have the opportunity to thrive.

Many of the women entering the Chrysalis Center have been living a transient lifestyle and have not been able to afford or locate appropriate health care. As a result, the Chrysalis Center provides onsite medical services with a registered nurse and scheduled physician visits to ensure that medical screenings and services are done for the women and their children. Appointments and transportation to other medical services in Florence are readily available as needed.

The Chrysalis Center offers a holistic approach that focuses on providing stabilization, life management, relapse prevention, parenting skills and personal growth. The average length of stay is 80 days, and the longer the women stay, the more it strengthens their skills and confidence in establishing a successful recovery and becoming a productive individual and parent.

This is one area in particular that we have most benefitted as a partnering agency with the United Way of Florence County. Two of our greatest challenges are dealing with rising food cost and providing adequate exercise for the women. Through United Way funding, we are able to purchase much healthier food options for the women and their children as well as providing on-site educational courses weekly by a certified nutritionist on menu planning and nutritional care. These skills are then incorporated into the women's overall treatment plans and become an integral part of their recovery.

We also, through United Way funding, are able to bring in certified fitness instructors to provide on-site exercise classes such as yoga and aerobics. By getting better nutrition, supported by regular exercise, the women gain a new confidence in their outlook, and that fuels their desire and success in seeking a healthy recovery.

Many of the women entering the Chrysalis Center will have not just one addiction but several. The substance of choice will often reflect what the community is experiencing. Currently, opioid abuse is one of the fastest-rising addictions in the country. As the nation has seen an increase in opioid addiction, we, too, have had a noticeable increase in opioid addiction admissions.

To ensure that the women are prepared to sustain their recovery as they transition back into their community upon successful completion of the program, they are eligible to receive PAIRS (Partners in Achieving Independence through Recovery). These support services will assist them with finding housing, employment and follow-up outpatient services as needed. This increases their success rate of recovery by supporting them during the transition so they can continue to receive and focus on other recovery-oriented support services.

The Chrysalis Center works closely with other local and statewide behavioral health agencies to receive regardless of what county a woman and her children may reside. Anyone interested in utilizing the services at the Chrysalis Center or desiring more information can call 843-673-0660 or visit

Written by Robin Murphy, Director of the Chrysalis Center of Circle Park
Originally published in the Friday, January 3, 2020 edition of the Morning News

This article is part of a series of articles that the Morning News is publishing on the Opinion page each Thursday from now through April 2nd. The articles are written by the directors of the 18 partner agencies of the United Way of Florence County. Check out the articles in the Thursday print edition of the Morning News, on, or on our website on the Friday following the article's publication date.