Barb Williamson, who is the president of the recovery house network Way of Life, spoke to our Solutions Journalism: Covering Addiction class on Thursday. Way of Life operates 13 recovery houses in Philadelphia area.

Williamson is a person in long-term recovery and opened her first recovery house when she had 14 months of sobriety. She said living in a recovery house helped her find support with people who shared similar experiences, and its guideline and structure helped her maintain recovery.

While trying to zone a property in Philadelphia to be a recovery house, Williamson said she faced intense backlash from the community.

“Hate is heavier than people who love quietly,” Williamson said.