Rose Torgerson officially joined The Magdalen House team in January 2021 – a year after completing the Social Detox program. It is such an honor and a joy to have her here. Please join us in welcoming Rose Torgerson to our team!
1. How did The Magdalen House become part of your life?
While I walked into The Magdalen House in January 2020, my higher power really did the heavy lifting. Looking back, I can see that He was working in my life long, long before I made the decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God – including clearing the way for me to arrive in Dallas and enter The Magdalen House’s Social Detox program.
My husband and I had been living and working overseas for the last five years, and my drinking was getting progressively worse; no matter what I tried to do to stop or moderate, my drinking kept accelerating. While I had begun to suspect I was an alcoholic – I had no idea what made me mentally and bodily different or what the solution was! But, I did know I was never, ever going to tell anyone I had a problem. I thought someday, somehow – I would figure this out and fix myself.
Finally, I began to think that repatriating back to the United States would be the fresh start to solve my drink problem. I was offered a job transfer to Dallas, of all places – a place we had only visited once a few years back. I arrived in Texas, and nothing was better. I was as angry and frustrated as before – and my drinking was as bad as ever. My husband, too, thought this would be the change we needed and became frustrated that, once again, his wife’s drinking was controlling our entire lives.
One morning, like any other morning for the last few years, I woke up, hungover and miserable, wanting another glass of wine to quiet my stomach. My husband coaxed me into getting dressed to get breakfast. As we walked to the car, I semi-jokingly said to him, “Is this the day you drop me off at rehab?”
After a while, he quietly pulled out his phone and said that he had found a place he thought may be a good fit. “It’s only for women,” he said, “It seems like it may be a good place. See? These reviews are from women who’ve gone there.” He slid the phone across the booth. I looked at the website for The Magdalen House. I cried. He asked If I’d call, and I shook my head yes and cried more. There just wasn’t any fight left in me. I couldn’t come up with another promise to quit or think of any of the excuses or reasons I had made to him over the last few years. I was just empty, and so exhausted by my life, and so seemingly hopeless.
After I checked in for the two-week Social Detox program at The Magdalen House – I never left. I asked a woman to sponsor me, and she encouraged me to begin volunteering at Maggie’s, go to meetings, and keep learning and reading the Big Book. I wanted what she had – so, I was willing to do what she had done: stay close to Maggie’s, grow in a relationship with my higher power, and give back and help other alcoholic women. Miraculously, my hopeless life now had meaning and purpose, and a year later – my higher power cleared a path for me to begin working at The Magdalen House.
2. What has been the biggest gift to you in your recovery?
There’s been so many! I think the one that astounds me is the peacefulness that exists in my life now. Even before my drinking was really out of control – I don’t remember ever feeling peaceful or content. It always felt like there had been just a low-level hum at all times.
This design for living has shown me a way to peace and happiness I had no idea existed. It turns out, when I accepted that the way I was running my life wasn’t working, I was willing to stop and let my higher power take over. Life became good, peaceful, rewarding, and fun. I would never have known this kind of peace without being a recovered alcoholic.
The other gift that took me completely by surprise was the fellowship. I was so lonely. But, God saw to it that His family was welcoming and greeted this newly sober woman with open arms and, suddenly – my life was filled with amazing, loving people to grow with, to love and support, and to be loved and supported by in return.
3. What would you tell the woman who is newly sober, or still trying to get sober?
First – Please know how loved you are.
I KNOW it’s hard, and after so long – you’re not sure how this will work for you, too… but, I promise – it really does; there really is hope and a solution. All of our journeys begin with a first day or a first step.
“There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. When, therefore we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet. We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.” (Big Book Page 25)
4. What is your life like today?
Better than I could have ever dreamed. I just wanted to stop drinking, that’s it. Instead, I got a life I hadn’t even imagined.
Today, my husband – the guy who found The Magdalen House and whose own life was just as impacted by my alcoholism – and I actually talk and solve problems and make decisions about our lives together. Our relationship wasn’t magically fixed when I entered recovery, but it has completely changed and improved. He got his life back, too.
I never wanted to tell anyone – and, now, I live openly and freely as a recovered alcoholic woman. Today, I get to help other alcoholic women beginning their journey towards recovery, which has become the highlight of my life, sharing this program, and the solution, to women who need it and develop meaningful friendships along the way. This life we’ve been gifted is entirely different and so much better than what I had ever thought possible.
We adopted two amazing little dogs and bought a house this summer. I NEVER wanted to buy a home for the entirety of our marriage because I couldn’t imagine ever being comfortable or peaceful enough to settle down. But, our higher power, The Magdalen House, this program of recovery, the life we’ve made here – Dallas is where we finally came home.
About Rose Torgerson
Rose first came to The Magdalen House’s Social Detox program in January 2020 when a voice on the other side of the line completed her phone screening and said, “Yes, we have a bed. When do you think you’ll be here?” Arriving at the Magdalen House devastated, seemingly hopeless, and knowing without a doubt that she was an alcoholic, but not why – Rose heard for the first time what made her bodily and mentally different from others, and, miraculously – that there is a solution that works.
After completing the 14-day program, Rose began volunteering, grateful for any opportunity to be involved with The Magdalen House, including getting involved with Maggie’s Women’s Group and serving as an overnight volunteer.
Rose, her husband, and their two adorable dogs now make Dallas their home after living and working overseas. Rose is honored to marry her background in non-profits with The Magdalen House’s mission, carrying on in the footsteps of those who showed her the way back to life.