Alumnae Spotlight – Lisa R

by | Jan 30, 2024

Hi my name is Lisa, and I’m an addict. I am almost nine months free from alcohol and drugs. My addiction took me to a bottom I never thought I would sink to, and one that I am not yet able to fully share about outside my support group. What I can share is the meaningful life I am living today and the gratitude I feel because of taking a chance and getting to this safe place where I could start a different life and learn a new way to live. Trauma, abuse, and toxic codependent relationships are a huge part of my story.

At such a vulnerable time in my life, at age 13, I tried hard drugs for the first time and found my DOC (drug of choice). Abuse and various exposures to traumatic events were prominent in my life, and abusing substances was the only way I knew how to survive them and life. I was a high-functioning addict… until I wasn’t. I had a long-term career in health care and was attending university to complete my master’s degree. Before I came to Westminster House, I was severely abused in my relationship and found myself completely codependent with this person to the point where I believed that this was what love was. I was giving up on myself, and on life. Suicide felt like my only solution, which resulted in a lot of time spent in psychiatric facilities. They say, “Jails, institutions and death,” and that’s exactly where I ended up next: prison. I now have life-long consequences due to my actions while I was in active addiction.

I was angry when I arrived at Westminster House and genuinely believed that I would just leave, back to my abusive partner, back to my life, when the time was right. I was so full of fear masked by hate. I didn’t trust anyone. I felt so broken. Coming to Westminster House was a blessing in disguise; it has helped me save myself from more than just drugs and alcohol. The programming was intense and required me to be honest with myself and take a real look at my life. The staff were with me every step of the way. They supported me, gave me suggestions, and taught me the skills I needed to succeed in many aspects of my life. There were times when I didn’t think I could make it through another day without using substances or going back to my partner, but the staff helped me feel safe and helped me begin to process and heal. I am doing some of the hardest work I have ever done, and I am doing it without the use of drugs and alcohol. Something I never thought would be possible.

Today, I have healthy relationships with my family and friends. I have genuine relationships that mean a lot to me. I am working again and am back in school. I am starting a new life, on my own terms. The most important thing to me is how I feel. I have days of genuine happiness, and I’m content and at peace. I have a long way to go in my recovery from trauma, but today I have hope and believe that my life can be better and filled with happiness and love. I am forever grateful to Westminster House for helping me get here.