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Gateway to Discovery will offer ‘a place to go’

Former alcoholic helps found a new recovery house for women

September 22, 2012
By JOE SUTTER, , Messenger News

As someone who has experienced alcohol addiction and recovery firsthand, Jodie Tietsort knows what it's like to have nowhere to go.

She came to Fort Dodge in June 2011 "pretty much against my will," she said, and attended a residential treatment program at Community Family Resources.

At first she didn't expect too much from it.

"They have a 21-to-28 day program, and that's what I was planning to do, to basically satisfy what people wanted," Tietsort said.

For Tietsort, the program was successful. It helped her get and stay sober.

But once she finished the program she felt lost.

Fact Box

Gateway to Discovery Fundraiser

What: Homemade pie sale, to benefit recovery home

When: 9 a.m. to noon today

Where: Cana, 18 S. Third St.

FOR more information, contact Jodie Tietsort at 351-7616 or

"When leaving CFR there was no place for me to go. There was no room at the YWCA. I wasn't a single mom. It wasn't that I needed emergency placement," she said.

Then she found a place through a family she met at Cana, a Christian meeting place on Third Street.

Eventually, Tietsort realized she could have benefited from a more structured place. With help, she decided to make a place.

"A group at Cana got together who saw this need."

The result is the Gateway to Discovery house. The sponsoring group hopes to close on its purchase next week.

It will house a two-year program for women to get back on their feet after drug addiction or prostitution. It will house five women at a time.

"Probably 15 women have contacted me, asking if we had room for them," Tietsort said.

One goal will be to get the women back to work.

"They have to either work or go to school," she said.

There will be a social enterprise selling beauty products from Thistle Farms, run by a similar recovery home in Nashville, Tenn.

Tietsort said the local social enterprise might eventually be a bakery, but it will begin with a place to do art.

"I know from my experience that art heals," said the Rev. Barbara Huisman, of Cana."Just the act of doing it, even if you don't think you're an artist, there are things that can happen in a group that allow healing to take place."

The Nashville home, called Magdalene, is the model for the Gateway to Discovery.

"First I love that it was a home, not a treatment center," Huisman said. "We will have our first of probably many recovery homes, where the women get the key and they are responsible for locking it. Nobody will tell them they can't go out. There are boundaries that are discussed in their own personal journey, but they are safe. That's a huge, huge thing."

A lot of work still needs to be done.

"Right now we're just focusing so much on the fundraising, because not much can happen until we do get funds," said Joyce Garton-Natte, president of the Gateway board.

The house will receive no federal or state funding.

"We'll need community support," Huisman said. "It may be donors, it may be people who give up their time."

Their fundraiser today is from 9 a.m. to noon at Cana. They're selling homemade pies.

Garton-Natte said she was inspired to join the group by Tietsort's testimony.

"When the Gateway to Discovery house ministry surfaced as a possibility, Jodie asked me to be the chair of that group. I have just been so impressed with Jodie's journey, how can one say no to her?"



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