In the spirit of sharing over the holiday season, we thought we would share a couple of recent ‘thank you’ cards received from alumni just this past week that made the staff feel warm and fuzzy inside.
“Thank you all so much for being my friend. It’s been a long time since I’ve had real friends that love and care for one another, who show kindness and compassion, all wanting the same thing: to be free and to live their lives the right way. And to help and be there for each other as much as we can.
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing all of you come together to help one another, even if you think you did not do that much. Kindness and positivity go a long way in helping to set the perfect environment for recovery. Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart. I came here a broken man, so depressed that I wanted to die, even on anti-depressant medication. I wasn’t able to see a future worth living. Thank you for giving me hope and showing me how to love and believe in myself and my future, and showing me that there is still good in this world. This pen would run out of ink if I wrote down everything you helped me learn about myself, and all of the little things you have all done to help me get through the day. Just know that I’ll love you all and cherish every moment we had together, and I will never forget you.
P.S. To my friends still at Vinland: the most important part to learn is how to calm yourself no matter what. The key is mindfulness. Give yourself time to find your key. I have no doubt that you all will succeed. Like in a scary movie, something is coming to kill you and you’re too shaken up to find your key – so you die. Learn to calm yourselves, my friends. Use your key to unlock your potential. I want to see you all succeed.
P.S.S. To the staff at Vinland: You are all doing wonderful work. Thank you for being a light of hope in a dark world. You save people, families, and tormented souls. I think of you all as my angels. Thank you for fighting for me.”
“Well, it’s that time of year again and I am pleased to share that I am/have continued to stay clean and sober! I am still going to AA meetings once per week and studying at home. The rest of my time is spent working at (deleted for confidentiality) and two other jobs. I even lead AA meetings once a month! I just want to keep in touch with you at Vinland and hope that you can tell my story so it might help others.
Thank you for all of your help and support throughout the years.
Sending you warm wishes for a very special holiday season,”
Life marches on. It hasn’t gotten any simpler, but progress continues to be made. I still continue to watch people come and go. Some have gone so far that they will never make it back, if you know what I mean. For all I have a certain compassion, but at times for some I tend to feel less, due to the opportunities afforded them and their actions in face of these. Some are even very, very enabled by their families and friends.
I do, however, find balance in the consideration that for quite some time I was one of these. Perhaps I should say that I still am. This being said, I find myself ever more willing to help those still suffering in whatever way I can. Though it has only been a brief 14 months (and never will be enough) my sponsor is suggesting that I begin to sponsor others. I somehow feel that I would tend to be something of a taskmaster, but he and others feel that I would make a good sponsor. I do know that I still can’t afford to take anyone out for coffee.
I continue to proudly wear the remnants of my Vinland t-shirt. At times people recognize it, like at the YMCA or at the train station, and we share a few words about how Vinland helped us or someone in their family. I never want to be without that shirt, Tim. I was hoping you would help me to obtain another extra-large Vinland t-shirt and one of Vinland’s 2018 pocket calendars. I still use both but both are rather worn and about to expire. I can send any cost plus shipping at any time.
My last Christmas was spent sober at Vinland, and I still have the gloves and socks I received there, the first sober gift I had received in a long, long time. Once again and always I thank all those at Vinland for their effort in helping this beat-up, old soldier realize that he might just be worth the “trouble” of saving. I hope and pray that your efforts continue to bear abundant fruit.
A most blessed Christmas Season to all. May you and your loved ones be always safe.