Thinking about the time when you came to Tamarack, how important was friendship to you? Why?
It was huge, because when you come into a strange environment you don’t know what to expect. What are the other clients like? What are the staff like? Are people friendly there? It’s so important to be able to make a connection quickly. Sherry was so personable and genuine. Everybody was just so personable and friendly. Staff and clients alike.
What are some examples of the support and friendship you received?
With everybody having a common problem, everybody was behind you. They want to help. They extended the olive branch. They have a like mind. They were there to show me I am not alone. That’s a key component – to know you are not alone.
Friendship in recovery also includes being a friend to yourself – how has that process been for you?
In the beginning of my recovery it was very difficult. I was very down on myself. I didn’t love myself. When I came to Tamarack I felt that I was about half way there. I am starting to accept that I am a better person than I thought. After about a month here I wasn’t afraid to look in the mirror anymore. I used to think I wasn’t worthy. Today I like myself.
What have you learned or experienced while at Tamarack that has enabled you to show compassion, friendship and support to yourself?
DBT has been a huge part. Not in accepting everything, yet, but a big part in accepting myself. Tim’s workshops and Finding Freedom has reinforced that. Also knowing that we back each other up. Having people have your back makes it easier to give back. Tim’s greater insight and DBT, I now know I have the strength to support others. I have learned to set boundaries. I can relate to everyone in the house. It is important to give back. When I give back, it gives me compassion towards myself and others.
Being a friend to others and giving back can add a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives and our recovery journey –how have you given back and been a friend while in treatment and after graduation?
I have been here to listen to the new clients when they are feeling uneasy about being here. I have helped to organize an outing so we could all go out to the Museum of Human Rights as a group. I volunteer at Red Road Lodge and I am a peer support mentor in the Winding River Program, and I think I have a mentor role here at Tamarack as well. I participate in aftercare and I am building connections and giving and getting support. I am looking forward to connecting stronger with aftercare. It’s all still the Tamarack Family. I have come to realize that I have to help myself before I can help others, but I [really] feel that in helping others I am helping myself. Helping others along the process does so much for me. I have always had it, but the program and Tamarack has brought it back so I could do it.
How has this impacted your recovery?
Very positively. It has given me self-confidence, self-worth, and a vision towards what I want my life to be like.