North Texas woman shares passion for helping recovering addicts

For years a woman recovering from addiction has turned her struggles into a passion for helping others. Now what started as one sober house for women has grown into much more.

About a month and a half ago Anika Cooper opened her fourth home for women who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. It’s on a quiet street in a quiet neighborhood in Plano where privacy and safety are priorities.

“This is just where we have morning meditation every morning at 8 a.m.,” she said. “We don’t want them to just stay clean and sober off drugs and alcohol, we want them to learn to live a new way of life and support themselves.”

Cooper can relate. She became addicted to drugs and alcohol as a teenager.

“So I was in high school using meth, alcohol… I mean everything you could possibly think of as far as drugs. I went into rehab the day I turned 19,” she said.

She went to live with her grandmother who she credits with saving her life. Cooper graduated college, got a job and started a family. She’s been sober for more than 20 years.

“I really wanted to see women get the opportunity I was given and just get more resources, more accountability, more structure,” she said.

In 2013 she started Simply Grace, named after her late grandmother. Cooper renovated her grandmother’s home and transformed it into her first sober living home.

“People started calling. Women started coming and we had wait lists. We had people just trying to sleep on our couch,” she said.

The women stay six months to a year while receiving counseling, job resources, and life skills training like cooking classes.

“It’s a community. They cook and eat meals together, which is amazing. These are things they’re really just learning how to live without the use of drugs and alcohol.”

Simply Grace has grown from being able to house eight women to 37. Cooper now has the Dallas home, two in Plano and another in Tyler. She’s planning to open a fifth in Fort Worth.

“I mean, it’s just amazing to watch women’s lives change in front of you,” she said.

The public is invited to help support Simply Grace at the Grace the Runway fashion show event on June 2. It begins at 7 p.m. at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church.