By Ainsley Chapman, Director of Outreach

“I’m so excited about Unlocking DOORS® partnership with The Magdalen House, and I’ve had the opportunity to see what they do first-hand. Within minutes of contacting them, I was able to get someone without resources into the Social Detox program and to safety. It was a life-changing experience for her. She is employed, following the 12 Steps and committed to sobriety.”

– Karen Zahaluk, MBA, Director of Administration and Operations at Unlocking DOORS®

We believe that every alcoholic woman, regardless of her resources or circumstances, has the right to recover from alcoholism. While legal consequences resulting from drinking are not a qualifier of the disease of alcoholism, many alcoholic women do face legal issues as a result of their drinking.

When a woman reaches out and asks for help with her alcoholism, she’s embarking on a very humbling beginning. I can tell you from experience that admitting I was an alcoholic and seeking help for my alcoholism were two very different things. One required little to no effort, while the other required me to take action. And to make this effort towards a new beginning by embarking on a path of recovery, only to be unable to make progress in your career, home, or education because of your criminal history is disheartening.

While The Magdalen House offers a solution for a life free from alcohol, I am so excited to introduce you to Unlocking DOORS, which helps provide any additional resources that will help these women get back into the stream of life.

Helping Alcoholic Women with Criminal Backgrounds, Together

Did you know, according to the 2017 Prevention Resource Center for Dallas County (Region 3), Hospital stays based on substance use disorder (which includes alcoholism) costs the county $35,481 per person in 2011? On top of that, alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorders alone cost the United States approximately $249 billion in lost productivity, healthcare expenses, law enforcement, and other criminal justice costs.

One of the biggest things that stands out when thinking about a partnership between Unlocking DOORS and The Magdalen House is our ability to save the State of Texas hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Women who are referred from Unlocking DOORS have the opportunity to utilize any of our free programs and services to help establish their sobriety and sustain their recovery. Similarly, when women who come to The Magdalen House with criminal records, they will be referred to Unlocking DOORS to receive helpful resources to help stay out of the criminal justice system and better their lives through education job training, and more. Together, The Magdalen House and Unlocking DOORS can help alcoholic women improve their overall quality of life.

About Unlocking Doors

Unlocking DOORS is a comprehensive statewide diversion and reentry brokerage network that is committed to reducing crime and the ever-escalating fiscal impact to the State of Texas and its communities through coordinated collaboration, partnership, public awareness, reporting of evidence-based data and predictive trends, education, and training.

By pulling together all resources, organizations, and programs into one coordinated effort, Unlocking DOORS allows for cross-networking, collaboration, cohesion and a stronger service model for those with criminal backgrounds. Through this model, Unlocking DOORS is helping reduce crime by guiding those with criminal backgrounds to a future of self-sufficiency that is crime-free.

Whether it be assisting in the diversion of qualifying individuals to a community program versus incarceration; filling a gap between pre-release and post-release services for those individuals releasing from incarceration; or educating the public and community service providers as to the specific needs and issues surrounding this very unique and growing population; we feel certain that initial crime and overall repeat crime (recidivism) rates will be cut drastically, thereby creating a safer community for us all, while leaving our tax base intact.


By focusing on what we do well while engaging organizations that meet unique needs, we’re not only able to unify and educate one another, but we are also able to build a stronger community together.