I am beyond excited that The Healing Place has started rolling back restrictions that were in place on our campuses due to the pandemic. With nearly 1,000 beds for people recovering from substance use disorder, our buildings are always busy. Lately, with our alumni back on property, the WHOLE SPIRIT of THP is alive and brilliant. Outside of the new person seeking help, the alumni are the most important part of The Healing Place. I could argue that the alumni are The Healing Place. In fact, The Healing Place is only as good as our alumni.
In 2007, as I checked into detox on Market Street for what I hope is my last time – one day at a time – I was broken, void of hope and dead on the inside. For five long years bouncing in and out of facilities, the one constant thing I had observed in 12 step rooms was the success of The Healing Place alumni. Sure, they had cars, families, and jobs – none of which I could hold on to; however, they were happy, free and full of… well full of life. I wanted that more than anything. Too many alumni to name here but trust that my motivation to face the rigors of The Healing Place program came from you. Seeing you come through detox, walking the OTS halls giving out cigs and hope, sitting down in the dining room and talking about how you did it and what it was like. Thank God for you, you know who you are, the ones who keep coming back.
The foundation of the social model recovery we provide here is role modeling. That is when someone represents in their life and actions the principles and benefits of sobriety. Simply put, the new person is watching our walk and evaluating if it matches our talk. Staff can exhibit recovery, but the alumni who are living it every day, life on life, have an authenticity that manifests attraction, hope, belief, and trust. Those are the very things that the new person needs to see, not hear.
You told me that in order to keep it, I had to give it away. Mr. James always told me to “check in before he checked me in”. Ernie told me to “stay on the firing line, get off the corner and get on my sobriety post”. I remembered that and long before I was an employee of The Healing Place, I never left here. Little did I know that this inconvenient commitment would be the largest blessing in my life. I get to see a whole world grow up around me that I am a part of – a part of hope and LIFE! Oh, and trust, today I trust that if I take care of God’s work first, he always takes care of my work, periodttt!
Fellow alumni, The Healing Place needs you, to be what it is for the new person. We can’t do it without you. I am grateful to be on this journey with you and for you.