Recovery is possible
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Saved my life…
Jackie was my addictions counsellor at a residential treatment centre in 2016 during my 45 day stay in treatment to address my alcohol addiction. There really are not enough words to describe what an impact she has had on my life during, and since, that time. Jackie is a dedicated, no-nonsense, compassionate counsellor. She tells you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear! Jackie treated me with the utmost respect at all times and would not allow me to sit in my guilt and shame. She makes you work really hard, but supports you 100% through all of the work you have to do to accept and then fight your addiction. She can be serious, but also has a great sense of humour, an infectious laugh, and the best smile ever! I knew early on in our work together that Jackie TRUELY understood what I was going through, and who I was deep down, as she had been there – she has lived my story – her constant empathy and understanding are genuine. By the time I was leaving treatment to return home I just didn’t know how I could possibly continue my recovery journey without her – I begged her to get on the plane with me! Jackie has stayed in constant contact with me throughout the past year, every text I have sent her she has answered and I was grateful to be able to see her on Vancouver Island again at a Recovery Event 6 months after I had left treatment. She continued to help and advise me at that time. When I took my 1 Year Cake at my 12 step home group, the first person I sent a picture of my medallion to was Jackie! She honestly helped save my life, taught me to have a little hope and faith in myself, and gave me the tools I needed to live a wonderful, successful new life in recovery. If you are lucky enough to have Jackie as your counsellor, count your blessings, and do everything she suggests – it works!!!
Empathy at work…
Overcoming an addiction is so much more involved than simply putting the substances down. Once the drugs, alcohol, and high risk sex is out of the picture, the behaviours, beliefs, and patterns of skewed logic still remain. Jacqueline helped me to identify this, and showed me how my way of thinking and being extended beyond just the sex and the substances, and actually impacted every part of my life. Every decision I made, every secret I kept, every item I bought, everything that I wore, all of this was influenced by my disease, and my desire to manipulate those around me. Of course, I didn’t see it this way at first, but Jacqueline’s patience and warmth throughout the process made space for me to understand, and start to heal. Sometimes it felt like Jacqueline could see right into me, or like she knew me better than I knew myself, and I believe that this is an example of true empathy at work. The benefit to working with an addictions counsellor who has actually experienced addiction in their own life is the degree of understanding to which the entire process is built upon. When both parties are able to speak the same language, there is no limit to the dialogue and learning. I cannot credit Jacqueline for saving my life, because I believe it was my dedication to the process that did this. What I can credit Jacqueline with is showing me that I had a life worth saving, and introducing me to the tools with which to do it, and for this I am endlessly grateful. I cannot recommend the services at Armour Addiction Services enough.
A life worth living…
It is extremely hard, to look back at the past, and to try to move forward, because this little girl, doesn’t just hurt for herself. She hurts for the husband left behind in the wake of the storm. She hurts mostly for the child she left behind. A mother is supposed to be there for their child, and where was this addict? Far too enveloped in sadness, and too high on drugs to realize that she was going to create the same condition in her own child. Perhaps as a reminder that it’s a place I never want to go again?
Salvation finally came at the hospital detox, followed by a short term recovery centre, and last but not least, months and months at a real recovery house that actually helped me follow a program that made sense. Counsellors that help you find a sense of normality. If I hadn’t have made it there, then I wasn’t destined to make it.
I made a journey with them. A journey I never thought possible. I crossed through to the other side.
I had finally made it. Now nothing would ever make me go back to the other side. I would never go back to the depths of hell that I had just left. I started working with a sense of purpose. I started working on my recovery. I finally felt after a long period of being around people who had given me a sense of worth, that I could make it on my own. I took a job, when I was finally deemed ready, by my beautiful counsellor that was my saving grace, and it lasted 5 years.
I finally met a man that looked at me with respect. Not like I was damaged goods.
I felt the love of long lost friends and family, and regained the respect of my child.
I got a dog, and then another.
I reclaimed some of my things from home, to feel cozy and comfortable.
I went to school, and finished my education that I had always wanted to complete.
I took up scuba diving and got all my gear, so I could go whenever I liked. Now I am in a course so that I can teach other divers.
I took an even more challenging class, and got a better job, and got paid even more so that I could get my credit score back to green across the board.
I volunteered with groups to do ocean clean up and fish counts for the environment, and volunteered money, time and clothes to the women’s shelters.
Now I feel worthwhile, not helpless and terrified. I try to stay strong, and I stay away from negative influences. I found god, but didn’t use him as a crutch, or an excuse, but for healing, and spiritual well-being. I feel alive, and not dead. I feel healthy, and not sick. I help people and try not to hurt them. I don’t let people hurt me anymore. I am a responsible citizen, and I pay my taxes. I don’t run from police, I know they are there to help me. I am saving for my own home with my partner. We are looking for a nice home to settle down in.
Jacqueline Armour is the lady who I believe saved me. I know she’s always there for me, no matter where I am. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever met in my life.
I did relapse once, in 7 years. Alcohol, not drugs. I honestly thought I wouldn’t have an issue. Let’s just say, I was full of crap, it was a huge issue. Never kid yourself. It’s the grim reaper who will have the last laugh, not the person who thinks they can just have one of anything.
Always remember, one is too many, and boom your dead.
This testimonial is for every word and every action Jackie used to get me back from the depths of hell.