Alumni Spotlight – Ashley N.

by | Aug 27, 2018

I was 29 years old when I arrived at the doors of the Westminster House in the Spring of 2016.  I knew things had to change though I had no idea how drastic these changes would turn out.  I was out of hope and in a deep rut of guilt and shame.  I felt that my challenges were unsurmountable, and I was overwhelmed by regret.  Impulsed by desperation and a ray of faith I took a risk and asked for help.  I had proven to myself that I was not possessed with the power to “just stop” the way I was living.  I had indeed tried many times to stop or control and these failed attempts solidified my self-doubt.  The more I thought I was close to managing my dysfunction the more the apologies to my loved ones lost value.  My addiction led me to living well below my morals and values and I hurt people who I loved and who counted on me.  I was unable to consistently care for my then 20-month-old son.  This futility was the ultimate evidence for me that I needed to change everything.

This was the best decision I had ever made.  The program at Westminster House uses the 12-step theory to complement its therapeutic community approach to combat addiction.  Instead of just learning how to not use I learned how to feel enough purpose in my life, gain confidence, and be counted on by others in order to crave further growth above all else.  I got (and remain) involved in a community which is anchored by recovering addicts that reciprocally help one another achieve this positive growth.  While in the early days at the ‘Westie House’ I was able to cry, feel, care, and just as important, I was able to laugh without worry.  I knew I was going to be alright.  I was not segregated from society.  Inversely, I was encouraged to engage with it!  I was able to see my son and mother who always supported me.  I was influenced to participate in community events while developing a deep affection for our neighborhood which helped me feel a part of society.  The Westminster House and the recovery community of New Westminster are a deep and permanent parts of my heart.  They are my home so long as I chose to belong.  I have made many friends since becoming involved there and have life long memories.  My life is completely different today.  Change is challenging, and the early stages were difficult.  However, I knew and was constantly reminded that I was not doing any of it alone.  With this encouragement, I have furthered my education and am pursuing my career goals, I am a strong full-time mother and am mentoring other single mothers to believe they can be as well, and most of all I have the self-esteem and aspirations to fulfill my dreams.  All thanks to the warmth and support I gained by asking for help and following the guidance of my people at the Westminster House.  Forever Grateful.  Thank you.