In August 2007, just two months into her sobriety, Lisa found The Magdalen House. Having returned home newly sober from an out-of-state treatment center, she learned that she could attend classes and meetings at a place called Maggie’s. Lisa walked through the doors that first day and has since never left. In the past 13 years, she has served as a volunteer, Board Chair, and, currently, executive director.
Since becoming executive director in 2016, Lisa has catalyzed change within the organization. Her efforts have allowed our agency to grow sustainably in a short span while remaining mission-focused and goal-oriented. Not only has the number of women we serve and the families we positively impact grown, but awareness of the programs that we offer amongst the Dallas community has also increased. Lisa’s passion for recovery, both personally and professionally, combined with her love for the work of The Magdalen House, continues to propel our organization to new heights.
Lisa, we are so incredibly grateful for your love, your light, and your leadership. Happy 13 years!
What has been the biggest gift to you in your recovery?
It is hard to narrow down to one gift because there are many, and the gifts appear frequently! But I would like to talk about two.
First, the remarkable impact recovery has had on our family.
What was once the thing we “don’t talk about” has become one of our family’s greatest strengths. Alcoholism tore our family into tiny, unrecognizable pieces.
Today – faith, recovery, and helping others, has become the glue that binds our family together. The Big Book says it best, “The alcoholic’s past thus becomes the principal asset of the family, and frequently it is almost the only one! …Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the key to life and happiness for others.” Our family thrives on these principles today.
And an equally beautiful gift is watching women transform in such a short period; to become fully awake and to live the life God intended. There is nothing more joyful than witnessing (in the background of a room) a woman you sponsor on her knees saying a third step prayer with a newcomer, or watching a newly recovered woman laughing with her family, seemingly without a care in the world. Those moments of witnessing the rebirth of women and their families are powerful and an overwhelmingly beautiful gift of recovery.
What would you tell the woman who is newly sober, or still trying to get sober?
I would tell her that now is the time to build a strong foundation for the life ahead of you. Immerse yourself in the work, commit to a year or two of spending ALL of your spare time helping others. That steps 10, 11, and 12 are the only things you can control and that you have to make a habit of taking the action of these steps every day. It may seem extreme, but my drinking was extreme – how could my recovery not reflect the same? That the program is not a checklist – it is a way of life.
And, if you focus on others, eventually you will become the rock of your family and those around you. I get a lot of “What? That is impossible!” Whatever you think cannot be overcome is simply a lack of faith. Again, the BB says it best, “When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.” This promise happens for every woman I have ever met who has immersed herself in recovery.
What is your life like today?
Thirteen years ago, just two months sober, I walked into Maggie’s, and I never left. I volunteered here for eight years before I became a staff member because here is where I found the solution I was so desperately seeking. When I used my story to help other women, God removed the shame and the guilt of my past behavior. Here is where I learned that God gave me freedom from alcohol for a higher purpose.
This recovery program became the birthplace of my joy and authentic faith.
Today, I have a deeper connection to my family, I get inspired by the women in recovery that I am surrounded by every day, and I am uplifted by the joy I get to witness both at home and work.
I feel very passionate about reaching every alcoholic woman in our community that wants and needs our help, much more than I did 13 years ago. My hope is for you is to come to Maggie’s to be helpful and to find love, purpose, faith, and community. And that you leave feeling inspired to learn more and do more for alcoholic women and their families. The ties that bind us are strong, permanent, and emotional.
To put it simply, faith is a powerful restorative, and I am in love with this life.
Today, I am grateful to be a recovered alcoholic.
About Lisa Kroencke, Executive Director
Lisa found The Magdalen House as a volunteer in 2007. After joining the board in 2009, she was named President of the Board of Directors in 2010, bringing more than 20 years of fundraising, communications, marketing and branding, strategic planning, and board development experience.
Before coming to Maggie’s, Lisa served as volunteer, consultant, and board member to more than a dozen different non-profit organizations, including Dallas CASA, Children’s Medical Center Women’s Auxiliary, Nexus Of Dallas Auxiliary Board (founding member) and Dallas C.A.R.E.
Her experience with these organizations include three successful capital campaigns, building various Boards Of Directors with diverse talent, creating and managing numerous fundraising events and advocacy programs, developing and implementing multi-year strategic plans, and coordinating hundreds of volunteers. All to better serve the needs of women, families, and children primarily from the Dallas area. Lisa has been in recovery since June of 2007.