Keep Coming Back

by | Oct 29, 2023 | #Gratitude, Community, First Step, Service, Volunteer

Ainsley Chapman may be the Chief Program Officer of The Magdalen House, but she began her journey with Maggie’s as a client in our two-week residential program, First Step, in 2014. Ainsley shares her experience- from client, to volunteer, to staff member- and why being part of the community at The Magdalen House is so important to her.

Give us some background on your journey to sobriety and staying involved at the House:

On July 21st, 2014 I completed my 14-day stay in The Magdalen House’s First Step Program. The staff and meeting chairs continuously encouraged me to “stay close to Maggie’s” when I was a client. My journey wasn’t over after my two-week stay…it was just the beginning of a lifetime of recovery. When I first got sober I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have a job, and I had just moved into a sober living house. I was starting my life over from the ground up, but this time I was going to do it with God’s direction. So, I did whatever I had to do to get back to Maggie’s – whether by bus or by foot, rain or shine. Fast-forward fournine years later and I am honored to be the Program Director here at Maggie’s and to share my experience as it relates to staying close to the House.

Does staying close meaning living close?

Yes and no.  Staying close to Maggie’s doesn’t mean just being nearby. It means being physically present for the women living in The House who need our help. It means taking women through the 12-Steps and watching them recover. It means being a part of a fellowship and sisterhood. It means showing up and asking what you can do to be helpful. It means transporting women to housing interviews. “Staying close to Maggie’s” is actually what we call our Community program, and it’s open to any woman in recovery – not just alumna from our First Step Program. The 14-day stay that our First Step program provides is the very beginning of this journey for many women, including myself, but staying close to Maggie’s through our community is what has been so life-changing (this is the link I updated…) for me and countless other women.

How have you participated in the community?

I spent a lot of my time volunteering in the clothing closet. I showed up and tried to be helpful to new women at Maggie’s, which led to me sponsoring women in the house and eventually chairing meetings. I said yes when I was asked to stay the night in the detox office, and serving as a Volunteer Program Coordinator (aka Overnight Volunteer) became a weekly commitment.

What is your life like today?

My life has changed immensely from July 2014, yet I can still remember so clearly the willingness it took to keep my commitment to “stay close.” Today, I am grateful to be celebrating eight years working at The Magdalen House. As a staff member, I will always to do my best to pass on what was given to me as a client: encouraging our First Step clients to participate in the Community program and “stay close to Maggie’s” because doing so has brought a quality to my sobriety that I never thought was possible, and I hope that every alcoholic woman gets to experience.