Marcia lived a dark and troubled life. A young beautiful girl from Edmonton, Alberta who grew up in a healthy family that wasn’t short of love being the youngest.
With a tight support group of loving parents, siblings and friends she had the possibility to create the life she dreamed, however; found herself in the grips of addiction. “The denial was so heavy,” says Marcia.
Marcia’s life over the last few years’ prior to coming into a safe place was consumed by mind altering substances. Her obsession became the getting and using and ways of getting more whether it be alcohol, drugs or men. A painful escape and the illusion that checking out of life was the solution to her problems mislead her to live a false reality. “The thing with addiction is that it easily deceives you.” Describes Marcia, “It does not happen right at the moment but progressively it robs you mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.”
Marcia experienced this sudden hijack where everything that she once valued took a back seat in her life. Unable to keep her job, relationships with family or friends Marcia completely lost herself to this disease. She did not have the ability to feel any emotions, the vicious cycle kept her stuck and the hole just kept getting deeper and deeper. Telling herself this would be the last time or it would be different Marcia tried to control every aspect of her addiction but things never changed for the better. It was constant lies, manipulation, secrecy, fighting, aggression and anger that consumed her bright and positive personality. She had become a monster in her own skin.
Marcia’s family lived in fear that this disease would take their daughter away from them for good. They had tried a short 28-day program in Alberta but Marcia could not surrender to this disease and was asked to leave. They did not know what to do as Marcia herself was unable to see that she had a problem or accept any help. Having some hope and trust in the possibility that she could recover the family planned an intervention in hopes that Westminster House social recovery model would be their answer.
Interventionist Todd Ware was hired and Marcia’s family and extended family gathered around her and read letters to Marcia. She was asked to listen as the family shared how her addiction affected each one of them personally. Marcia shares that she was so numbed out, she could not feel any empathy or compassion for her family who so dearly loved her. The pain they shared with her had no impact on her. Marcia was given the ultimatum to join the interventionist and come to Westminster House Treatment Center for Women in New Westminster B.C. or pack up her stuff and leave the family’s home. Unable to see her part or have the willingness to change and accept the help Marcia decided in that moment that she would just leave.
Looking back Marcia says it was insanity, however; is grateful for the glimpse of clarity that she had for a short moment. Marcia knew that she wasn’t willing to lose her family for the rest of her life to this disease, so she decided to send her mother a text and said she will go. “Intervention was my last hope at helping Marcia. When she made the decision to go to Westminster House I was overcome with joy and renewal of hope. I watched my daughter each month become stronger, healthier and so full of honesty, sincerity, spirituality and gratitude, that my heart bursts with pride”, says Marcia’s mom.
Full of fear and anxiety Marcia says she made the best decision that would change the way she would perceive and live her life. A decision that would change who she was, and her purpose for the rest of her life. Marcia and her mom flew from Edmonton with a commitment to stay a minimum of 90 days. When people come into treatment it is natural to feel scared and in fear of who we are without these substances in our body. Marcia said she wasn’t sure if she would get the program if she could stay clean, how the women would be with her. She felt uncertainty being in a different province and away from her family, fear of people and places scared her but she held onto the hope that it could possibly work. Marcia ended up staying at Westminster House a little over 4 months. “I am so glad I didn’t discharge and run away my first few days there.” Says Marcia.
Today Marcia is over 9 months clean and sober. Marcia completed the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous and immersed herself in the social recovery community. The house gave her the opportunity to practice her new tools of self-love, compassion, service, responsibility and find acceptance around her addiction and the damage it had caused her and her family.
Everything about Marcia’s life is different today. She is a responsible and productive member of society. Marcia is a dedicated and inspiration to the women in the House and the community. Marcia has a few women who she guides through the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous. She gives back graciously to the house and new women whether it be her time or her story. Marcia makes Recovery the forefront of her life. She is working as an assistant chef at the hospital. She is passionate about cooking and hopes to enroll in culinary school to pursue her dream. Marcia channels her energy to other people and connecting with strong women and men in recovery that help her get through and talk about new feelings, uncomfortable feelings and milestones.
Recently Marcia was invited to attend her mom’s surprise 60th birthday party. Something that was not possible when she was in active addiction. She spends quality time with her family doing things even when she doesn’t want to but knows that it means a lot to whom she is spending with. “I did a yoga and berry picked with my mom,” she says laughing. “I would never be caught dead doing that in my addiction.”
I don’t struggle anymore, says Marcia. I no longer wake up with this obsession to want to alter the way I think and feel because I am beginning to gain self-esteem, confidence and accept and love myself as a whole human being. I can cope with life and use the tools that I learned through the house and the 12 steps to navigate through the good times and bad. Marcia knows that she can get through her feelings and does not need to run away from them anymore. “I feel empowered, I gain strength from women and my higher power.” She says.
Marcia shares that she found a beautiful life that she had never imagined. She gained values that she lost or crossed in her addiction such as integrity, honesty, love. Marcia found self-love which gave her the ability to show and give love to her family and those around her.
I absolutely love my life and I am forever grateful to Westminster House.
Todd specializes in supporting individuals move into solution. His experience at Vancouver Coastal Health provides him with the necessary skills to take charge of difficult situations, and dealing with addiction problems. In addition, Todd has extensive experience in working with both young men and women in different stages of their recovery process.Todd Ware has worked in the addiction field supporting individuals for over 15 years. He has worked at Vancouver Coastal Health, West Vancouver School District, Watari Youth Program, and Peak House Youth Treatment in various different roles.