Below is a letter from a former client to her counsellor. This is just one story from many alumni of McDougall House. Their stories of hope and finding success through some of the most challenging times of their lives is what inspire us. Your support helps our team to continue to nurture and help women in our local communities.
I would like to express my utmost appreciation for all you have done to bring my life from the darkness into the light. Every day I am given the opportunity to use the skills I learned at McDougall House and the way I communicate has greatly changed. I came into the McDougall program a shell of the woman I longed to be, and I had a great deal of maturing to do. I needed to listen more and not be too quick to try and give an answer. Like you said, “It is a lot harder to do than to teach.” Twenty-seven years of continuous treatment followed by relapse left me feeling hopeless, and incapable of healing from the disease of addiction that stole my life. I refer to the house as a house of “magic” due to the complete transformation in my thinking and behaviours attached. I speak differently (statements, assertiveness), I can set healthy boundaries and say no without feeling scared I might hurt others’ feelings, I have confidence in my decision making and, in my abilities, I realize the importance of self care and balance in my life, I stopped saying “sorry” where it doesn’t belong, and most of all I feel a sense of peace in my life today like never before.
My sponsor and I are currently working together, and she is guiding me through the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page by page. I get invited to the “fun in recovery” events in the fellowship which leads to a greater connection for me with others. I have much respect for those, successful in recovery, working, and still willing to give their time and knowledge to help others such as myself.
Self compassion is important to me today. I needed to learn to forgive myself before I could learn forgiveness with others, especially my family. This is a day-to-day goal, as well as acknowledging codependent behaviors. It boils down to the key ingredient of acceptance, which is also a work in progress., However, my patience and tolerance with myself and those around me has greatly improved. I just picture my daughter in my shoes, and it gives me a better outlook on things. Thank you for that illustration.
The sober living accommodation you suggested was the right decision for me. It enables me to use the skills learned at McDougall in all my affairs. I am fortunate to live with ladies from McDougall and we enjoy morning coffee, reflection, and social outings together such as meetings and swimming at the recreation center. Today I feel immense gratitude for your honesty and loving care shown throughout my time at the house.
The other counsellors and the support staff also had a lasting influence on me. The evening Program Aide that I made my weekly goals with taught me that, no matter what happens in life, the most important thing is how I take care of myself in the situation. I am still learning that I can not control the events that arise in my life, but I am responsible for my reaction to them. I take life as it comes, one day at a time and I feel happy, joyous, and free. Thank you again for your influence in my direction of courage, strength, and independence. I think about your teachings on a daily basis, and I want you to know how your patience and guidance have shaped my life today!
Consider donating to McDougall House today to support the women in your local community.