Q&A with Bobbi Jo Reed: Founder of Healing House in Kansas City

Bobbi-Jo Reed is a person in long-term recovery with 25 years of continuous sobriety. She has provided safe, transitional housing for thousands of individuals over the past 19 years. Her passion in life is helping those suffering with substance use disorders.

She is the Founder and CEO of Healing House, Inc. in Northeast Kansas City, MO; the ministry currently houses 200 adults and 30 children. She is Chair of the Kansas City Recovery Coalition, member of the Missouri-Division of Behavioral Health State Advisory Council, a Mental Health First Aid instructor, Trauma Informed Care trainer, Certified Peer Specialist- Supervisor and Medicated Assisted Recovery Specialist; recognized as a 2018 Mental Health Champion and an Executive Member of the Missouri Coalition of Recovery Service Providers and the National Association of Recovery Residences.

A documentary film, Bobbi Jo: Under The Influence, was released on various streaming platforms in 2021 and was awarded “Best Documentary” at the Kansas City FilmFest International and Branson International Film Festival




Q. If you are in recovery, what was your Drug of Choice? When did you stop using?
A. Alcohol, cocaine … anything I could get my hands on; including men! I stopped using September 26, 1995

Q. Do you think addiction is an illness, disease, a choice or a wicked twist of fate?
A. Absolutely a disease. I did not believe this until I started Healing House and then seeing other women struggle; that made it perfectly clear it was. 

Q. Do you log on to ZOOM 12-step meetings? How often? Do you share?
A. Yes, twice a week. Yes, I share. You got to give away to keep it. 

Q. Have you added anything to your Tool-kit to help keep you sober during the pandemic? 
A. Yes. Zoom, 12 Step meetings for our community and House Leaders. Virtual holiday events and house contests to keep it fun. 

Q. Where did you grow up?
A. Kansas City, Kansas.

Q. From what school or teacher did you learn the most?
A. The school of hard knocks I really never engaged in school. I worked full time and sold drugs in school bathroom at 12 years old. 

Q. If you had an extra million dollars, which charity would you donate it to?
A. Of course, Healing House. 

Q. Do you have any children?
A. Never gave birth to any, but now have thousands. 

Q. Have you started any new projects because of the quarantine?
A. Yes, we are currently reshaping a strip mall for 7 small businesses for job training for our participants while helping our community to thrive even more. 

Q. If you ever retire would you prefer to live by the ocean, lake, river, mountaintop or penthouse?
A. OCEAN, for sure but no plans to retire until the Lord take me home. 

Q. What is your favorite hotel or resort?
A. Timeshare in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

Q. What is your biggest or littlest pet peeve?
A. Biggest is I don’t like people “popping” their gum or chewing with their mouth open. I really don’t want people to share their partaking with me. 

Q. Who has had the biggest influence on you throughout your life? 
A. Judi Burkholder. Meet her when she came to H.H. as a Participant 9 months after starting. She became my right arm in ministry work and the growth of H.H. Best friend and an amazing love that I had never experienced my whole life except Jesus. 

Q. What books are you reading now?
A. Only the Bible.

Q. What book(s) have you read more than once?
A. Same, the Bible.

Q. Who is your favorite poet?
A. The Healing House Poets, “Lurking Within”. It was written by multiple participants, it is very heart felt.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Radio show, news show, podcast?
A. CRAZY about Investigate Discovery.

Q. Are you bingeing on any TV series? If so which ones?
A. Not now. Just finished Yellowstone and before that Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom.

Q. Which film have you watched the most?
A. Silence of the Lambs.

Q. Who is your FAVORITE Director?
A. Quentin Tarantino

Q. Who is your favorite sober celebrity?
A. Anthony Hopkins and Samuel L. Jackson

Q. What/Who is your FAVORITE Band/composer/musical artist?
A. Eagles

Q. What is your FAVORITE City?
A. Kansas City … of course.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Museum?
A. Glore Psychiatric in St. Joseph, MO. It is fascinating and horrifying how they used to treat addiction and mental illness.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Restaurant?
A. Jumping Catfish; all-you-can-eat crab legs, homemade beans and coleslaw every Thursday. DELICIOUS.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. Don’t give up 5 minutes before the miracle happens. 

Q. What is the best piece of advice YOU’VE given?
A. We are all born with a God hole in the middle of our being. We have tried to fill with many things; addiction, men, work, etc. Once we put God in our God hole we will be comfortable in our own skin and finally know peace.

Q. What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
A. Selling my family home that was paid off and move to a really bad neighborhood right in the heart of the problem, go into debt and start Healing House. Stepping out in blind faith.

Q. What is your biggest regret?
A. Not having good relationships with my parents.

Q. Have you ever been arrested and if so, for what?
A. Yes, 2 DUI’s and prostitution.

Q. What is the proudest moment in your life?
A. I am not really a prideful person but do feel honored to serve God and people with addictions while serving.

Q. Do you believe in God or a Higher Power?
A. Absolutely GOD.

Q. If you were putting together a time capsule from 2020 what 5 things would you put in it?
A. A glitter mask, a fruit scented hand sanitizer, Mama Judi’s obituary, a list of binge watches, and a Blu-Ray with a collection of highlights of what happened in 2020.

Q. Are you more inclined to believe in UFO’s or life after death, or both?
A. I believe we leave here and go to a life of eternity with our heavenly father and loved ones.

Q. What is your FAVORITE weekly news bulletin?
A. 60 Minutes.