The Lion House Brownstone Women’s Recovery Residence Models a Concierge and Family-integrated Approach Catered to Women

In a first of its kind model in the U.S., The Lion House Brownstone’s program recognizes women as caregivers and integrates family education and healing for more sustainable outcomes.

November 8, 2023, St. Paul, MNThe Lion House Brownstone Women’s Recovery Residence opened its doors late 2022 in a residential neighborhood in St. Paul. The renovated brownstone, built in 1888, accommodates five residents and a live-in chef, modeling a supportive and healthy way for women to achieve long-term sobriety. The program onsite is run daily by women who work with women in recovery living in the home for a 6-12 month stay, and their families, who also receive family recovery coaching and education in tandem with their loved one’s stay. First of its kind in the nation, the program adopts a customized approach for each guest and addresses the specific and heightened barriers that women in recovery face.

“Women in recovery are often the family’s primary caregiver,” says Lion House Brownstone director Tara Heald. “When women arrive to our home, we find that there is so much shame and guilt tied to their addiction. Despite how poorly they might be performing their caregiver role due to alcohol misuse, many feel they can’t leave their home because others depend on them. Additionally in this role for what’s often decades, they are unfamiliar with and have limited tools for how to place their selfcare first.”

Lion House Brownstone builds its recovery programming on the foundation of healing the individual through concierge-type case management and wellness activities, and the family (or the guest’s family of choice) through education and coaching to support recovery strategies. Heald notes, “The societal expectations placed upon women as caregivers compound the impact of alcoholism. It furthers home the point that addiction is a family issue that requires family healing.”

The Brownstone exists solely for women because founder Patrick Flanagan, known as The Irishman in recovery circles for his interventionist work to guide people to sobriety, saw an amplified unmet need for women in recovery. “Women who want to become sober in America have limited options when it comes to sober home living,” says Patrick. “I was drawn to create something for them and immediately got to work hiring women to lead the development of the Brownstone programming and vision.”

The model is way overdue in Flanagan’s opinion. In August of 2023, a new study confirmed that over the past 15 years, alcohol-related deaths have steadily increased in the United States and, historically, more men have died from alcohol-related causes. That’s still the case, but more importantly the study revealed that the gap is narrowing. From 2018 to 2020, alcohol-related deaths increased by 12.5 percent per year for men, and by 14.7 percent per year for women.

“At Lion House Brownstone we attract a growing demographic of women in mid-life who are deep into caregiving or hold higher profile, demanding careers,” says Heald. “Their access to finances and resources tend to be less limiting, which contributes to their ability to stay in alcohol misuse longer. There’s a certain psychology of their needs and our LHB team is equipped to address them.”

There are nearly 18,000 sober homes in America and approximately an estimated 25% are for women, including Minnesota’s 42 women’s sober homes. Sober homes are commonly understood as supportive communities for people recovering from substance use issues to live drug- and alcohol-free after completing inpatient rehab or while in outpatient programming. In Minnesota, sober homes are not currently defined or regulated under state law, however, The Minnesota Association of Sober Homes (MASH) exists to promote the establishment, successful management and growth of high-quality community-based sober-living residences.

The Lion House Brownstone (LHB), located in the Cathedral Hill area in St. Paul, MN, is owned and operated by Lion House Properties, who own and manage sober homes in Minnesota including the 16-person capacity Lion House St. Paul. LHB’s mission is to help women bring their recovery to a higher level by infusing self-care, wellbeing practices, holistic nourishment, and tools for integration back into their family and social life upon moving on from sober home living. LHB cares for the women in recovery and provides healing and care for the family members to ensure higher long-term sobriety success rates.