On April 16th, 2020, I came “home” to Westminster House after a four-year-long relapse. I went to Westminster House with the primary motivation to get my daughter back from the system. I had a flicker of hope that it was possible, and I was so deeply full of guilt, shame and remorse that I didn’t even believe that it was possible for me to get her back. My relapse had brought me to a whole new low. I had endured even more self-inflicted trauma, caused an enormous amount of damage to friends and family and I had pushed away my healthy supports. I literally lost everything.  was full of mom guilt and a mountain of false pride. Having already been through Westminster House in 2014, I thought I knew all about recovery. I quickly learned that all I really knew was the lingo.

The familiarity was comforting, yet I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I was familiar with the twelve steps and dove right in. I chose a sponsor who is also a mother and I admired her recovery. Some people come into recovery and surrender, accept feedback with the utmost humility, and that wasn’t my experience. It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that I was back in treatment and that I was worthy of a fruitful, happy life.

Halfway through my treatment stay, I broke my foot. Funny enough, that was around the time that I started to surrender. I firmly believe that my Higher Power had to get through to me through an extreme way because I just wasn’t surrendering! I had to ask for help from my support system, I started building stronger relationships with the women who were gracious enough to have a coffee with me in the sanctuary and my relationship with my Higher Power started to blossom. I enjoyed sitting in the bistro and chatting with the women there, and the kitchen staff cooked delicious and nutritious meals. One of my favourite things about attending Westminster House was the daily group. They taught us how to hold each other accountable and be good support for each other. The caseworkers taught us so much valuable information in their educational groups, and Friday’s positivity groups were always beautiful. I enjoyed meditation with Moe when I was on crutches because that was something that I was able to fully participate in. She brought essential oils, which I fell in love with and I enjoyed how she incorporated art into the sessions. Six weeks after breaking my foot, around the time that I got to take the big clunky boot off since my foot was healed, my daughter started to come to the facility to visit me. It brings tears to my eyes, reflecting on the times where I would take friends from the house with me to the water park and they shared the experience with me, playing with her in the water.

When I moved into the transition house, my daughter was gradually returned to me. I started volunteering for the house, doing service work, connected with community supports and I started sponsoring women myself. My daughter and I moved into a place with fellow Westie alumni in November 2020, and I continued to regularly attend meetings, connecting with my community support system, building new friendships with people in recovery and doing service work. I have found freedom from doing the twelve steps, attending meetings daily, staying connected in the community, doing step work, taking women through the steps, and maintaining a conscious contact with my Higher Power. I truly do believe that Westminster House changed my life, and by the grace of God, I am 13 months clean and sober today. Thank you Westminster House for loving me until I could love myself and for giving me a second chance. Westminster House never gave up on me and I’m truly grateful for that.