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Never Give Up A Message From Holly & Nicole

It’s difficult to know where to begin this story, a story about my daughter and her addiction that began five years ago when my child, 14 at the time, began experimenting with drugs. When I first found out I was concerned, sought help for her and assumed that it was just a phase and that it would pass.

It was devastating to watch my daughter go from being an honor roll student, who was funny, gifted, beautiful, bright, popular, and talented to a young depressed troubled young girl.

I sought all avenues of help for her within my city, private therapists, home schooling, psychiatric assessments, drug and alcohol counselling, but she continued to spiral into her disease.

I discovered the truth when we took a vacation to Mexico and she went into a full blown withdrawal (sweating, throwing up, and in agonizing pain); the reality of her addiction became clear.   Upon our return from the trip, it was clear she needed to enter a treatment facility.  My job each day became how to help my child and how and where to access treatment.  We got referrals but the process was slow and the waitlists long.

One day, I was at a friend’s house for tea, when I heard the sounds of the fire truck, police then ambulance whirling outside.  I watched as they drove up the hill towards my home.  I sank to my knees …. I knew it was my girl.    Distraught, I ran to my car and pulled into my cul-de-sac which was lined with emergency vehicles.  They pushed me away from my front entrance not wanting me to see them desperately working on her.

That afternoon she had overdosed, stopped breathing and was brought back in to life with Nar Can.

After this my daughter was able to access treatment, a 6-week program that did not provide a sustainable recovery solution.  So, I took her to India to participate in a holistic healing trip and what I thought would be an adjunct to her healing process.  We traveled to the northern most cities and the Himalayas and visited orphanages and famous sites India. A month of healing was my thinking.

Within a month of our return, my daughter went missing.  She had again made a decision to get caught up in the dark and evil world of drugs.  She did not want to come back into our world.

Years passed, and we refused to give up.

One day, I tried to contact her and could not.  Her coworkers and myself began the task of trying to find her, but there was no sign of her.  The police went to her door.  No answer. The landlord was called to open her door. She was not there!  All of her belongings, clothing, toiletries, laptop, newly bought groceries and a fridge full of food were there.  She had just vanished!  The police tried to get a signal from her phone and there was none.

Panic set in, sheer and utter horror, where was she? who has her? is she alive?  Family and friends took action, we were all looking for her, and had to find her.

The lowest and darkest moment of my life was when the media broadcasted a missing young woman…. her name ….and then her picture.   How could this be happening?  Where could she be? Days went by, each of them agonizing.

When she finally surfaced weeks later in a drug-induced psychosis she had been admitted into St Paul’s Hospital.  We brought in an addiction therapist and tried coaxing and convincing her to get help.   I spoke with the psychiatrist from the hospital who put me in touch with various agencies within Vancouver that she could connect with if she was willing.

A social worker from my city told me about a place in New Westminster called Westminster House Treatment Center for Women.   She told me that it was a special place in a special community and that lives were being saved and changed there.

She told me of the great number of people who were in recovery and living happy and productive lives.   I knew I just had to call.   That morning I was leaving Vancouver with my sinking heart.    I was never going to give up on my daughter but felt that I had exhausted every avenue and done all that I could think of to do, or had I?  I felt compelled to call Westminster House, so I did.

A friendly voice answered my call that morning and I explained who I was and told her a condensed version of my story.   Even though my daughter was gone she encouraged me and gave me hope.  She asked for her phone number and how she might reach her. She told me about their program and that she just felt that she could help her if only she could speak with her.

She told me about this amazing community of people who were in recovery and that yes there was hope.

I stopped in on my way out of the city to meet them.  As I entered the house I was greeted by a staff member at Westminster House and a young woman who was working in the office.  While I visited with them, they again gave me encouragement and helped me believe again that recovery was possible.  They told me that my daughter would have a bed if we could just get her there.

All around me were young women popping into the office who looked just like my beloved daughter. They were young, vibrant, bubbly, and happy and most of all they looked healthy.  I asked myself if these were clients? They are just like my daughter when she was well. I left the Treatment Center that day hoping and praying that they could somehow reach my daughter, speak with her, bring her back.

Days later, she surfaced and was in the hospital in Surrey.  My daughter had suffered enormous trauma in her addiction once again, but they were about to release her.  I was provided with an emergency cell number for Westminster House and I called her to let them know of my daughter’s situation.  It was a Sunday. They arranged a staff and young alumni of the Westminster House program go to speak to my daughter in the hospital.

Somehow they were able to reach her and it was a bottom of a bottom for her that last time.  The next contact I had with my daughter was her calling me saying she was going to treatment at Westminster House.

That was over a year ago and a day that changed both of our lives.

Today I have my beautiful daughter back.   She is excited about life, clean and sober, and has finished high school this past January.

She was recently being given a wonderful honor, The Women Do Recover Award of Education.  It was given to my daughter because she was recognized as an Outstanding Alumni of the OnGoing Recovery Program.

This award includes up to $5,000 in tuition and books and made possible by a partnership between Westminster House and Douglas College where she will begin classes this March.

She is working three jobs. Her eyes sparkle when she speaks.  She has many friends and loves doing Yoga.  She is a sponsor to another young woman in her program.

Today I do my best to live my own life in Gratitude knowing that my daughter and I have been given this wonderful gift. It is a gift to have her back in my life and knowing that she has the opportunity to live a rich, happy, and fulfilling life, one day at a time.   There is nothing more that I could ask for.

My daughter and I are now able to have a wonderful relationship and spend time together enjoying life.  I look forward to my time with her and our relationship has never been better.

I am eternally grateful for Westminster House Treatment Center for Women and the outreach that they gave my daughter.

My biggest gratitude goes out to the Staff and residents in the house who have worked with and supported Nicole in this Journey!

Mother's Day, Gift of Recovery, Westminster House, Never Give Up



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