Women Empowering Women
On The Yellowstone Road To Recovery
By Maryel Mc Kinley-Udiljak, C.D.C.



Women empowering women; what a concept! In a past era we were known for cat fighting and competing against each other. Yet now that we are awakening to the Goddess within, we realize that we manifest our true potential and power by empowering other women. We do this by selflessly giving our spirits to the aid, recovery and healing of our sisters.

"Within each one of us, in the realm of pure awareness, is the Goddess."
                                                         - Marianne Williamson

The story of Yellowstone women's first-step house in Costa Mesa is a perfect example of the extraordinary effect women can have on one another by simply volunteering and drawing from the limitless wellspring of love with which each and every woman is overflowing, while providing a place for all women to be of service and help fill a long overdue need in the community.

"You need no longer hang your head in shame nor wander the streets looking for your next fix or drink. Our doors and hearts are open to you . . . so take the first step and welcome home!"
                                                     - Marilynn Stewart-Baugh, Yellowstone Volunteer

Yellowstone is an indigent women's shelter for women detox-ing from alcohol and other drugs. Started by a group of women armed with their collective experience, strength and hope, and the guidance of a Higher Power, these inspired women opened this women's shelter last November on a mere wing and a prayer. A nonprofit organization, it is a place for homeless alcoholic and addicted women to come in off the streets and get a start in the recovery process, free of charge.

"When you are addicted to crack, there aren't too many options available. I would be dead if it weren't for the strong women of Yellowstone who took me in when everyone including my family shut their doors on me."
                                                      - Kim J.

The self-titled "strong women of Yellowstone" felt the women of Orange County deserved a place to sober up. For many years there had been such places for the men, so why shouldn't there be the same opportunity for our daughters, our mothers and our sisters? Hence, after some labor pains, Yellowstone Women's First-Step House, the first of its kind, was finally born in Orange County. Operated entirely by volunteers, alcoholic/addicted women may stay completely free of charge, including food for ten days. Thereafter residents are referred to various sober-living environments in the area.

"Today I am sober, healthy, and free from self bondage. I've rebuilt relations with my family and I have a wonderful new career. Yellowstone gave me a chance to mend my broken wings and learn to fly again, That's why I come here every Tuesday to volunteer and give back to other women what was so freely given to me. Thank you for my life!"
                                                    - Diana T.

What's really special about this shelter is that it definitely does not look or feel like a shelter! It is more like going back home to grandma's beautifully decorated two-story home. The only difference is that this warm, safe, and nurturing environment offers 12-step support, counseling and a chance to detox from drugs and alcohol, something "Grandma" might have a hard time dealing with! (But then again many of our volunteers are very wise, spiritual and enlightened grandmas and great grandmas, so disregard the last statement!)

Yellowstone Women's First-Step House has proven to be a strong beacon of light, hope and healing for Goddesses with broken wings who are caught in the eye of the alcoholic storm. The spirit of this home belongs to the women of Orange County, and is lovingly supported entirely by members of the community. All are welcome and invited to contribute in your own special way. Remember, the life you help save could be your own!

Women are powerful beings and the story of Yellowstone is but one example of the awesome accomplishments that women are achieving to honor and uplift not only themselves but the human race as well. As we approach the millennium, I pray we allow ourselves to gratefully step into the light of the Goddess within, and illuminate love and healing to the awakening world around us. Yes, we are shining stars burning brightly, and we burn the brightest when we selflessly assist others to evolve into their own individual purpose and enlightenment.

If you would like to be of service or make a donation to this nonprofit organization, or if you know a woman who is in need of a safe and sober haven, please call (800) 941-9048. Yellowstone is located at 154 E. Bay Street in Costa Mesa, California.

Maryel McKinley-Udiljak is a published Chemical Dependency Counselor who serves on the board of directors of Yellowstone Detox and runs group and individual counseling at A.O.D.D. in Orange County. She also facilitates relapse prevention groups at Sober Living By The Sea in Newport Beach.


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