Letter of Gratitude
I've been at Harbor House for almost nine months. I came here at 28 days sober because I wanted help learning how to live a sober life. I have two sons who at one period in my life I did not see for almost five years. I could not stop the cycle of addiction that I was trapped in. My addiction progressed into breaking the law, prostitution and complete degradation. I'd heard that Harbor House has an excellent program and that the success rate for recovery is very high. Since I've been here I've learned so much about myself, my disease and living life on its term. It hasn't been easy to walk in my truth, but the best part of being here is that I don't have to face anything alone. My sons and I have reunited and talk daily. My mom and I are mending our relationship. My family is my family again and it is awesome. My hope is to be a great example of what this program can do by helping other women who will follow in this path.
The day I came into Harbor House is the day my life began. I made it here through DIVINE INTERVENTION after a drunken stupor and another battle lost to alcohol. I cried that morning. I cried for my Momma whom I lost to alcoholism. I cried for my daughter who never had a mother and I cried for myself for I had become nothing. I had run out of hope as did my family. I called Harbor House that day and asked for help. That weekend had to be the most lonely and prayerful time of my life. On Monday, my daughter smiled and said, "Momma, Ms Deb called and she has a bed for you". That was nine months ago and I am now working on a healthy legacy for my family to follow. I have grown up in this house. I have learned to be a lady, a parent, a daughter and a friend. THANK YOU HARBOR HOUSE. The best way I can show my gratitude is to stay on this path.
I wanted to get sober for a long time. I didn't know how to handle life's stressors without being under the influence. I felt I was beyond help. I was tired of keeping my family upset and wondering if they would see me on the news some night. I wanted to make a change but I was afraid to go without the drugs and alcohol. I finally made the decision to go into treatment and I came into Harbor House. I have found hope and I've learned about having patience, tolerance and structure in my life. I now know how to deal with stress without drugs. I learned how to pull the roots out and go within to become a whole woman. I work with a sponsor and communicate with a support group to share where I am one day at a time. I am a senior resident and I volunteer much of my time as well as attend classes at the Business Technology Center to become an administrative assistant some day. I am looking forward to having my own housing soon and becoming the best sober grandmother, mother, daughter, sister and aunt that I can be.
The biggest change I have made since entering Harbor House is in my thinking. I have come to realize that there is nothing I can do to change my past except not repeating it in the present. I am breaking out of the unhealthy and unsatisfactory patterns of the past by going to AA meetings and practicing the principles of the program. I have also learned to look at my life as being built with layers of little everyday accomplishments. My relationship with my family has improved especially with my mother. I have also improved my assertiveness and self-esteem. Living at Harbor House has taught me what gratitude truly means. When I am going through a "storm" I realize there is a lesson to be learned and I am grateful. Without my gratitude for life and this program, I probably wouldn't have stayed this long. Now, is it possible to have gratitude for gratitude?
My first Christmas clean and sober in over twenty years was the most wonderful of all. I always felt Christmas was for children. Last year I felt like a child, I was excited and happy. There was no worry about having enough money to afford presents. There were gifts on top of gifts. I never believed my wish list would be fulfilled. I was grateful that people who did not even know me thought enough to want me to have a happy holiday. The love in Harbor House was awesome. The true meaning of the Christmas spirit was there. Christmas 1998 will always be one of the most special occasions of my life. I will remember it with love in my heart. (Alumni 1999)
Last year Christmas was cool. I got at least five stuffed animals, three board games which I really wanted. I received lots of clothes, most of all I had a clean and sober mother for Christmas. I really liked my Christmas and especially all the people who gave to me. (Daughter of Alumni)
My first Christmas at the Harbor House in one word was overwhelming. The sense of care and kindness was all encompassing, love all around. Thank you GOD for showing me that caring is truly an amazing gift to be given (Alumni 1999)
Thoughts from staff members:
This is my third Christmas here at Harbor House. It is one of the greatest experiences I've ever had. The kids are so excited about Santa, the gifts under the tree and having their mothers with them for the holiday. The tree here is always so beautiful and full. The different organizations that come to our residents and their children's aid is truly awesome. I usually get started with the Xmas lists for the residents and children in October, so I will be ready in November when calls come from the different agencies. Watching the children's eyes light up when they walk into the house, the day of the Xmas party, is worth all the work I put into it. In the past I didn't enjoy Xmas, however since I've been at Harbor House it's the best holiday for me. Gretchen T.
Christmas roses, different types, colors, and shapes. Once traumatized, whither out, dry out, or are cut down. These women are those roses when they first come into Harbor House. Their need is acceptance, support and shelter. Even in the dead of winter I can see the roots struggling to live. As the residents prepare for the holiday I see them budding with joy and wonderment at the prospects of a new life. Yes, even though they've been cut down, they are blooming into strong beautiful winter roses. As the new person on staff, I enjoy being a part of the on-going process of cultivating, pruning, watering, and supporting as we await the season of life for these winter roses. Alma B.