I consider going to Westminster House a life-changing event. Before entering Westminster House, my life was at another low, quickly spiraling out of control. Being sent home from work numerous times, I knew I needed help. Having been to treatment 3 times before, I really didn’t want to go again. I wasn’t getting any younger and just wanted to get on with life. I wondered if I would ever “get” recovery or if I was destined to be a chronic relapser. When I was given the opportunity to go to Westminster House, I was scared, but I knew that this was an opportunity that I couldn’t afford to waste.
I thought that I’d just come in for 30 days maximum and leave. That would be enough to get me back on track. I think deep down I really knew I needed more than that. Gradually, I started to Surrender and accept that I needed to be there. This allowed me to be open to what the program could offer. You could tell the counselors really cared about the work they were doing. I thought, “If someone else thinks I’m worth caring about then maybe I am worth it.” They were direct and sometimes pointed out things that were hard to hear, but they did it in a way that was respectful and compassionate.
Learning how to ask for help is probably the most valuable life skill I learned while being there; it was also one of the hardest. Getting honest, vulnerable and emotionally intimate with a bunch of strangers scared the heck out of me. I had never really had a real and honest relationship with very many people at all. But these moments were where I grew the most and found out who I was. They were also what brought me closer to the women in the house. We were all there to get healthy and learn how to reconnect with ourselves. Connection is a vital part of recovery. I have been able to get a year clean and I still stay connected to the house by volunteering and attending alumni meetings. I am always welcomed by the staff and encouraged to stay for a meal if I ever want. I feel like I have a community of people that care and value who I am. I know I can always reach out to them if I need to. We don’t have to do this alone. And that is a beautiful thing.