For over 20 years, Recovery Avenue has been supporting individuals in the La Crosse area on their journey from substance abuse recovery and towards mental wellness. 

Recovery Avenue emphasizes the power of self over the power of illness. 

The organization is peer run and participants determine the programs and services Recovery Avenue provides. One of the programs that emerged from the participant’s direction was the Women Supporting Women Group.

Recovery Avenue realized they had 65 percent regular attendance from male participants but much lower attendance from women in the community. After deep discussion, the organization recognized that a lot of women, especially those with a history of trauma, are more comfortable in an all female environment. 

Sara Eckland, the Assistant Director of Independent Living Resources, said the Women’s Group is about, “women coming together and using their own recovery experience to support each other.”

The women in this group also offer each other inspiration and hope. Each woman who attends Women Supporting Women has a unique story and this group shows them that they are not alone in their recovery. 

At each meeting, the participants discuss recovery related topics, help each other process their past and look towards the future. Eckland emphasized that this is not a therapy group but rather a community and skill building group. 

The group consists of seven to eight women who have built friendships and support systems that go beyond their group meetings. The group has helped the women build personal responsibility and learn to trust themselves. 

The Women Supporting Women Group has seen women successfully journey to recovery and help others along the way. In one case, a Women’s Group member became a certified peer specialist and is now investing in others’ recovery processes. 


Recovery Avenue is a program supported by Independent Living Resources in La Crosse. For more information visit their website.