I used to feel lonely and scared all the time. I used to be angry when I woke up every day. A year ago, I was living in Boulder, Colorado and in an abusive, unhealthy relationship with a man that I resented, but I was terrified of leaving. I woke up every morning not wanting to live another day but I was too scared to change anything. However, by the grace of God, my family, aided by the help of a placement therapist, helped me find Safe Harbor. I entered the program after participating in a seventy-day wilderness drug treatment program and was able to regain control of my life that was quickly slipping away from me.
Arriving at Safe Harbor’s Knox house I immediately felt a sense of ease and community, which I now know I have been searching for relentlessly my whole life through unhealthy relationships, drugs and alcohol. I was very fearful about living in a house full of women, but I very quickly started forming connections. Now, nine months later, I have a life I never would have imagined. I am currently a Support Staff member at Knox program and enjoy giving back what was so freely and generously given to me. I am so passionate about the program that I believe truly saved my life by showing me how to practice self-love on the journey to my recovery. I have made life-long friends here that are honest to me, support me, and help me walk through my fears and difficult times. I no longer fear waking up every day. I am excited for what my future holds for me and I am proud of the woman I am today.
A few weeks ago we celebrated with our daughter her one year of her sobriety. It was an occasion of joy, hope, and gratitude.As I reflect on this past year of her continual growth, I am grateful to all whose care and expertise have educated, guided, supported and encouraged her recovery. We are grateful her entire treatment team at her primary care facility recommended Safe Harbor as the best place for her continued care.
Living in New England we knew this would mean we would not be able to see her often. However my initial contact with Safe Harbor staff was so positive, understanding and welcoming that it encouraged us to trust Safe Harbor to support and guide our daughter’s recovery. We came to see Safe Harbor makes real the word of its founder Velvet Mangan; “Where there is love there is healing. Stay in the love.”
Weekly and as needed conversations with Safe Harbor staff kept us abreast of our daughter’s plan of care. We learned of her activities, challenges success and goals. These weekly updates provided us with an understanding of her status that helped to us to be supportive and reinforce what she was experiencing in her program.
Conversations with staff also provided my husband and me with an opportunity to voice our concerns and questions as we began learning through Al-anon to work our own program of recovery. As we spoke with our daughter during the three phases of care at Safe Harbor we could hear in her voice a reawakening of her truest self, the one we so missed and longed to hear and see again. Our daughter who we at times had feared was lost to us was reemerging.
In conversations with our daughter and staff we began to know with our hearts that the care at Safe Harbor is based on love and recognition of the worth of each person. This understanding helped us tremendously as we worked at detaching with love from our daughter. At Safe Harbor the young women treated as worthy of love can begin to love the selves exactly as they are; treated as persons worthy of trust and respect they can begin to trust and respect themselves; encouraged to care for body, mind and spirit they begin to see themselves as complex children of a loving higher power with many strengths and sources of beauty. Guided and supported to work for a future they can begin to hope as they explore their unique talents and skills and reexamine dreams that have been abandoned in despair and loss. The past is explored and accepted but, its power to trap is overcome buy a new feeling of empowerment that frees. We have seen these changes take place in our daughter.
We have seen our daughter move from treatment to sober living where she utilized new found strengths and self-knowledge to live responsibly and more independently. She is now employed with a full time job at Safe Harbor. She is happy to contribute to the organization that she says, “saved her life.”
We were with her for her one year celebration. To see our daughter living with three other young women, sharing rent and responsibility is a source of joy. Seeing her healthy and beautiful, alive with hope for her future is a gift.
Our daughter was home to share in her sister’s wedding last week. To see her as a bridesmaid taking her place with all her sisters was something I could not have imagined possible this time last year. In the span of one painful but miraculous year, Safe Harbor‘s loving and expert care of our daughter has helped our family to heal. Their program of care for the whole person nurtured and provided our daughter with the experiences and opportunities for self-healing and gifted her and her family with hope for her future.
– Betty and John McCarthy
Come share your experience, strength, and hope with us at the weekly Safe Harbor Alumni Meeting:
Every Tuesday Night at 7:00 pm.
Costa Mesa, CA