An Interview with Mary Shuford
I Am Maggie’s is a series that spotlights the faces of The Magdalen House, from Alumna and Peer Recovery Program participants, to Volunteers, Donors, and beyond. Meet the people who make it possible for us to help women achieve sobriety and sustain recovery from alcoholism at no cost and based on 12-Step spiritual principles.
Give us some background on your journey to sobriety and staying involved at the House:
After I finished treatment and moved back to Dallas I was introduced to Maggie’s and started volunteering every day. I was 17 at the time and needed something to occupy my time while I reacclimated to life outside of treatment and The Magdalen House let me come volunteer every single day. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that opportunity laid the foundation for my recovery. Having the chance to be with a community of women who were alcoholic like me gave me a sense of belonging I had never experienced before. Human connection is vital to a well-rounded life in recovery—I found that at Maggie’s.
What would you tell a woman who is newly sober?
It’s okay to not be okay.
There is space here for you to struggle.
Relapse, while extraordinarily common, is not a prerequisite to long-term sobriety.
Stay connected and show up even when you don’t want to—especially when you don’t want to.
How have you participated in the Peer Recovery Program?
When I first got sober, my AA sponsor told me to go to Maggie’s as often as I could. So, I spent about 4 days a week here learning what it looked like to participate in my own recovery, as well as the recovery of the women around me. I really got involved when I started chairing a weekly meeting…I had the privilege of chairing that meeting for the next 8 years! I stay close to Maggie’s because it is so foundational to my recovery. So much of my story includes coming to Maggie’s when I was struggling and finding community here. I had a place where I could come and belong even if I didn’t know anyone’s name. I stay close to Maggie’s because I believe in the work being done here.
What is your life like today?
My life today is like a life! I actually have a life today. While that may seem ordinary to some it is pretty extraordinary to me! I get to be a daughter, a sister, a friend, and my personal favorite, an aunt to 6 nieces and nephews. My personal experience with addiction has allowed me the opportunity to work in the recovery industry for almost 7 years and I love what I get to do for a living. I am so thankful for the life I get to live today because of what recovery has given me. And I found it in the community of The Magdalen House.
P.S. Our staff members in recovery chair meetings every weekday at 10:00 am. See when Mary is chairing by viewing our meeting schedule.