Texas woman provides free journey to recovery for those dealing with drug addictions

We requested you to convey to us about inspiring girls in your life. We went by hundreds of nominations in our Remarkable Girls contest. Now, we’re sharing our finalists’ tales.

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — In a quiet Marble Falls community just a number of streets away from downtown, sits a small, nondescript residence that has grow to be an epicenter of alter.

Paula Mays smiles with friend at function. (Courtesy: Paula Mays)

As wind chimes sway softly in the breeze, site visitors instantly truly feel a feeling of calm outside the dwelling surrounded by signals about appreciate, endurance and kindness. Equivalent messages of hope and reassurance are posted inside the home, laying the foundation for the story of Open Door Recovery Residence and its founder, Paula Mays. 

“If we would love and inspire each other, wander beside each other, and not judge or toss stones — this entire world would be such a much better position,” Mays said. 

That is component of the mission at Open Door, a faith-dependent, sober-residing dwelling for women of all ages that opened in 2010. For 13 yrs, Mays has housed far more than 250 girls for up to a 12 months, at no charge, to support them on their journey to recovery and sobriety. 

Paula Mays and good friends painting objects for Open Door Recovery Dwelling. (Courtesy: Paula Mays)

To superior understand why Mays has committed her lifetime to Open Door and ladies and men struggling with drug dependancy, you need to very first fully grasp her challenging personal journey. 

“I was in South Dakota, and inside a pair of many years my mom married an abusive man, and my first memory was at 2 decades outdated of getting sexually assaulted. I was raped and crushed. I was locked in trunks of cars and trucks,” Mays stated. “It was horrifying. I was not also absolutely sure about God, but I realized the satan and I felt like I lived with him.” 

By the time she obtained older, she imagined everyday living would change, but it did not. 

“In my 20s, I started off seeking for other substances to adjust the way I felt, just to be equipped to cope,” Mays reported. 

In 1999, she uncovered herself in jail, on the lookout at a 99-year jail phrase. She was married and divorced with six youngsters at that time. She claimed by the grace of God, the federal charges she was struggling with, had been dropped. She had moved to Texas, which she suggests helped independent her from prescription drugs and alcoholic beverages. She started out going to 12-Step restoration conferences, joined a church and she said the kindness she professional was lifetime-transforming. 

“I was in a position to rebuild with God. It’s all Him. It was certainly astounding: His awesome grace, His electricity and His enjoy,” Mays mentioned.

  • Marble Falls woman Paula Mays provides free journey to recovery for those dealing with drug addictions. Mays was named Central Texas' Remarkable Women winner. (KXAN Photo/Patrick Hoffacker)
  • Marble Falls woman Paula Mays provides free journey to recovery for those dealing with drug addictions. Mays was named Central Texas' Remarkable Women winner. (KXAN Photo/Patrick Hoffacker)
  • Marble Falls woman Paula Mays provides free journey to recovery for those dealing with drug addictions. Mays was named Central Texas' Remarkable Women winner. (KXAN Photo/Patrick Hoffacker)

She started off serving in soup kitchens and at prisons alongside women of all ages in her exact same recovery method. That is when she met three distinctive females battling to get to sobriety. She remembers that they didn’t have a spot to stay or a help technique, this means demise or jail grew to become their only way out. 

“I believed, ‘These women have to have a spot to go. They require a protected place to be,’” Mays tearfully remembered. “Recovery is difficult adequate without the exterior triggers and pressures and expectations and struggles — and God brought again to my intellect a runaway shelter again when I was a teen in the town I lived in.” 

Paula Mays serving food items to all those in have to have with the aid of volunteers. (Courtesy: Paula Mays)

That was her secure haven, and she needed to generate a thing identical for other ladies. It was in that minute, reflecting on that runaway shelter, that she recognized her goal: to have the concept of hope and restoration by starting Open Door. 

It started smaller with meetings in a church and by 2013, a property was acquired, a campaign paid it off and the doorways ended up open for women of all ages in the local community. Through local community grants and donations, Open Door properties up to eight women of all ages at a time, for totally free, for up to a yr. Mays guides the ladies from addictive lifestyles to lives of sobriety, functionality and effective membership inside of modern society, by applying AA Huge Guide, Bible studies and other packages. 

“We walk beside them. We persuade them in their battle. We stroll with them by CPS, probation and parole,” Mays stated. 

The females have a structured program that commences early in the early morning and consists of weekly conferences and scientific tests to aid control their restoration. The females also have to accomplish 17 several hours of volunteering each week. Mays performs all her responsibilities with little paid out guidance, only a part-time place of work manager and aspect-time assistant.   

A main effect

Alicia Defranco mentioned Open Door changed the trajectory of her everyday living.  

Alicia Defranco poses with her two daughters. (Courtesy: Alicia Defranco)

“This is my residence. This is my basis. This is where I learned how to be a human,” Defranco claimed. “I started out working with when I was 10 years aged and by the time I was 17, I was a entire-blown opiate heroin addict.” 

Defranco was on the run and by the time she moved to Texas, she shed custody of her young children. 

“I was so damaged. I was so broken,” Defranco mentioned. 

She was in a correctional facility in Uvalde when a person instructed her about Open up Doorway. She wrote a letter to Mays, inquiring to be a portion of the system. Mays picked Defranco up when she was unveiled, took her out to consume and brought her to Open Doorway. 

“It was a reduction due to the fact I understood I obtained to remain sober even lengthier,” Defranco remembers. “I was anticipating a rehab centre and I walked in, and it was a household, and it was mind-boggling when she showed me my bed room, rest room and took me to get apparel.” 

 Defranco paid out for very little throughout the time she used at Open up Door. 

“I never had a need to have not achieved listed here,” Defranco said. 

Following months of internal healing at Open Doorway, she became sober and was ready to start a new journey with her household. 

“I could not photo it — I unquestionably couldn’t photo it. I acquired my 1st household a yr ago this past December and I have financially supported my little ones and I for 5 yrs,” Defranco said. 

Alicia Defranco pictured with her two daughters. (Courtesy: Alicia Defranco)

“What a wonder she is. There are so a lot of miracles out there — they just have to have anyone to walk beside them,” Mays said. “Don’t give up on your beloved a single who is battling with dependancy.” 

Defranco says Mays is not just her hero, but a hero for so lots of women who are overlooked and not supported by their families or their communities. 

“She’s my motivator. She’s my backbone. She is my foundation,” Defranco reported. 

“If you see glory in my story, it is God. It is all Him. He does the large lifting,” Mays explained. “I am so grateful that I survived because by all accounts I shouldn’t have.” 

According to facts from Open up Doorway Recovery Dwelling, for women of all ages who lived in the house this past plan calendar year (From September 2021 to September 2022), the non-recidivism amount was a report substantial of 85{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0}. The year prior, it was 80{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0}. Lots of former inhabitants say she aided them know that they by yourself are dependable for their steps. They realized instruments to make improved and much healthier conclusions. 

Paula Mays educating the local community about means available by Open Door. (Courtesy: Paula Mays)

Mays also helps ladies recover their children from CPS and foster treatment. She is also a critical member of the 33rd & 424th District Drug Court Team. She is normally “on-call” 24/7. She picks up new women of all ages from rehab facilities or jail from as considerably as Austin, Dallas-Fort Truly worth, San Antonio or Galveston. If women go away the plan early, by breaking principles or just leaving, she aids them come across other guidance.  

Whilst her get the job done is entirely funded by donations and grants, she hopes to grow to support far more women of all ages across the point out.