My story starts with a bit of a turbulent childhood. I was quite sheltered and grew up with abuse and alcoholism in the family. My mom, who had lived a tough life herself, didn’t quite know how to be a mom, but she was my best friend, and I loved her a lot. I was always doing what I could to make sure everyone was happy. This meant I got quite good at pushing down my emotions.
Mixed into this upbringing were a few assaults. The youngest was with a boyfriend I had at the age 14. I said no, but he didn’t listen. It felt like it was my fault, and so I never told a soul – I just pushed it away. The second assault was at the age 17 when I was drugged at a bar. People knew about that one, but I pushed it away as well.
I think my alcoholism started early on. It was just so normal in my family. I stopped drinking regularly when I went to college and was usually the DD, but when I did drink, I would binge.
I met my husband during that time, and we had kids young. I battled postpartum depression severely, and I was almost hospitalized. I started drinking more and more and pulled away from my husband.
Then about 5 years ago our family walked through a very dark incident that sent me reeling – my son attempted to take his life. I could not deal with what happened, and so I threw myself into work and into drinking. The pain was too much, and I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t feel good enough. I didn’t feel worthy.
My addiction and mental illnesses got to a point where I didn’t know what to do. My marriage was falling apart, and I was also falling apart. After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, I finally started to get the help I needed, and from there everything started to shift.
I went through a treatment program, but after graduating I wasn’t ready to go home. It was a hard decision because I have a husband and kids, but I knew I had to take each step in recovery slow. Thankfully, I was accepted into the Dream Centre’s Women’s Recovery program, and it quickly became my safe place.
I was expecting some dilapidated, clinical building, but when I got there, I was welcomed with open arms into this beautiful home with everything I needed – from delicious meals to a safe place to recover. But most importantly, I was not alone. I learned how to have relationships, and how to have friends. It is a safe place to learn who you are. It was beautiful, and it changed my life.
This year has had many challenges for us all. I never could have coped with this much stress before, but thanks to my husband, my relationship with God, and the foundation I build at the Dream Centre, my recovery has stayed strong throughout. I am officially three years sober this March!
The Dream Centre truly did save my life, and I could not feel more blessed.