By Katy Culver, Alumna & Volunteer
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.
No More Giving Up
In January of 2017, I found Maggie’s. I had just run off from my long-term treatment center a few days prior, right into an escapade that landed me in jail, hospitalized and homeless within three days time. I came to on January 20th not knowing where to go, completely hopeless and broken. I honestly have no idea how I got to Maggie’s, or who directed me there in the first place, which leads me to believe that God was carving out my path that day.
Seven years of alcoholic torture and fifteen treatment centers later, I found the house where, I believe, God resides. My first days at The Magdalen House were an internal struggle on whether I should follow my family’s advice to go back to the long-term program I had just run away from, or to stay put. I vividly remember the faces of the women… they were happy and beautiful and more importantly, they spoke freely of their experiences without embarrassment. They understood – and I began to understand – that I could never outrun or outsmart my alcoholism. I stayed at Maggie’s.
While I didn’t stay sober after my first time through The House, I knew exactly where I needed to be after a three-month spree that almost cost me my life. In October of 2018, I was welcomed back and able to try again. Maggie’s had not given up on me. God had not given up on me. I began to not give up on myself.
Paying it Forward
One of my first meetings in the house was led by the Executive Director, Lisa Kroencke. I vividly remember her speaking to the room of us women staying in the house and saying, “The Magdalen House will never charge for admission of clients because GOD IS FREE.” That statement moved me. At that moment I felt immensely grateful for a free place to stay and another chance to get better. The message I heard was loud and clear. RECOVERED. I finally stopped asking “Why do I drink?” and I started to realize that getting into action and service work is vital for my recovery. After leaving my two-week stay I felt a strong desire to come back and give to what was freely given to me.
Today, I come back to Maggie’s because I want to. I feel part of something wonderful – a little house that feels like heaven on Earth. I go back to see my friends and encourage the women that are newly sober. If ever I’m having a bad day, I know exactly where I can go. The magic of Maggie’s happened for me when I left The House and was able to turn right back around and walk through the door the other way. It is rare to find a place where I can be of service 15 days sober, but Maggie’s provides just that. Every woman that enters that house daily gains something – whether by working there, volunteering or staying there. The motive is pure and this purity allows me to see and experience God’s grace.
In the beginning, my involvement with Maggie’s was cleaning or transporting women to the hospital or sober home interviews. Now, every Friday, I get to bring the weekly Chick-Fil-A dinner donation to the women in the house. I have gotten to chair meetings, share my story, volunteer for Trader Joe’s, sponsor women staying at Maggie’s, drop off Christmas gifts to donors…there is always something to be done at the house. I have seen God working in others come full circle as I watch hopeless women beginning to live purpose-filled lives.
Today I Have Gratitude
As I write this today, the gratitude I have is overwhelming. Maggie’s saved my life – the women who work in the office upstairs, the women who work with those staying in the house, the women that give their time to chair meetings, the women that clean and volunteer, the women that stay overnight, the women that come to the meetings and share hope, the women that come up to sponsor – these women saved my life. Today, I get to be one of those women. I am beyond grateful that I found life and purpose in a tiny old house tucked away in East Dallas.
Share Your Story
Help us tell the story of Maggie’s by telling us how you found The Magdalen House, how you became (and stay) involved, and why you stay close to Maggie’s.