I am Tressa and I approve this message
It is an absolute honour to write a testimonial about Westminster House, and I am so pleased to have been given this opportunity to give back to the place that awakened me to a life worth living. My entire experience with the House has been nothing short of a precious gift, and my relationship with it has spanned multiple years and treatment stints. I use the word relationship because, over the past few years, that is what has unfolded between Westminster House and I. I feel as though they have invested in me as a human being, never giving up on me despite me turning my back on recovery and the community they’ve created numerous times. In the spirit of forgiveness and unwavering compassion, they have welcomed me back every time. Maybe with a stern finger wag – but always with open hearts. With many of its staff being recovering addicts themselves, I feel they have a strong understanding of the nature of addiction – this is an important factor, and might very well be what gives them the capacity to demonstrate such forgiveness and compassion.
Westminster House’s scope of care is broad and all-inclusive, including an in-house doctor to provide individual medical services to each client. Skilled counsellors lead group therapy and educational sessions, and also provide check-ins with clients on an individual basis. In addition to 12-Step meetings and step groups, clients participate in a variety of therapeutic programming, such as art, meditation, acupuncture, and somatic qi gong. They also stay active through weekly instructor-led fitness classes and team sport activities. The women are provided with 3 healthy meals per day. During my time at Westminster House, my physical health and fitness improved dramatically, and I adopted a more whole-food, plant-based diet that I hope to follow for the rest of my life. All of this programming effectively kept me very busy and engaged, while also teaching me basic life skills like time management and the importance of self-care.
While I have no experience with other treatment facilities, I feel so blessed to have ended up here each time, and though I have nothing to compare my experiences herewith, I can thoroughly appreciate the program model Westminster House employs. I find the 12-Step, social recovery model they follow to be so crucial to long-term recovery and continued success. Firstly, their program’s 12 Step approach and required meeting attendance basically “inserts” you into a fellowship where you are provided with additional, ongoing support and connection. This regular required meeting attendance outfits you with an almost instant, built-in support group that you can take with you even when you complete treatment. It also plays a key function in fostering the vibrant recovery community that Westminster House is so famously apart of. What’s more, the therapeutic value of their peer-2-peer, social recovery model encourages clients to build strong connections with their female counterparts, and take charge of each other’s recovery process – essentially women empowering women. Inherent in this model is a deep sense of ownership of one’s own process, and a level of accountability to one another that is unparalleled by any other style.
I am currently about to “spread my wings” and move out of Westminster House’s second-stage program, which offers its own set of benefits and supports to women new in recovery. In its transition house, clients are given back some freedoms, but still required to attend 12-Step meetings and certain types of programming. This slightly more “relaxed” structure has served as a perfect progression back into everyday life and has provided me with an increased sense of independence and efficacy. We are also required to do volunteer shifts at the primary care house, which gives us an opportunity to stay connected, do selfless service, and be a part of the solution for once. All of our basic needs (i.e. medical services, meals) are still met in the second-stage, alleviating many basic real-world stressors so we can keep our focus on recovery, and staying clean and sober. With all the tools and education Westminster House has given me, I am confident in my ability to stay clean today, and that I have so much more to contribute in this life than I once thought. Sitting here writing this, I can fondly recall so many special moments and characters that I met here, forever leaving a mark on this path of recovery I have been walking. I am forever grateful to this place and marvel at how many women’s lives it has touched and transformed.
I am Tressa C and I approve this message : )