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Mary M., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

My Christmas at the Orchard. If you want what we have, Christmas at the Orchard was a necessary choice for me. Christmas?? The time of year most of us love or hate. For some of us, it is family, presents, caroling, celebrating, turkey dinner, treats and being around loved ones. For others, it is sadness, no companionship, isolation, fear, hardship, and no warm lovely place to sit by a glowing fire & maybe not even enough to eat. Most of us fall into one of these categories or somewhere in between. Mine had always been chaos because of alcohol.

My decision to come to the Orchard, meant that I would not be home for Christmas. How could I do this? Be away from everything I loved – including the booze. It would be the very first time in my life – I would be away for Christmas. This was my last chance. I had to accept not being home for Christmas, if I was going to get better. I would have nothing left in my life if I didn't deal with my disease. It was life or death for me. For once – I surrendered & accepted this. I accepted that it was the only gift I could give myself, my husband, my grown children and my grandchildren. There was no other gift that would mean anything.

This Christmas was to be like no other I had experienced before. There were caring people, helping me to deal with my living problems and my fears. Everyone – Counselors, Step Coaches, Admin staff, Medical staff, the wonderful Chefs, Kitchen staff, Maintenance staff were all very much in the Christmas spirit. They all put our Recovery first. They made my Christmas stay in treatment as if I were part of a family. I was part of a family – the Orchard Family. I finally felt a sense of belonging. There was fellowship, AA and hard work to be done on myself.

Despite the situation, there was breath taking scenery. A ton of snow fell that year, crisp cool fresh air, bright lit skies. The trees weighed down by mounds of snow, the surroundings were that of a fairyland. We even made a snowman. Christmas light sparkled in the snow at the Orchard and in Snug Cove. Inside there were decorations and a Christmas tree. We had roaring fires in the fireplace in the evenings when we shared. Always, there were Christmas cookies, treats and healthy food to eat. We sang carols and had an afternoon of fun with the staff, clients and alumni. Yet it was serene and peaceful. Christmas Morning there were gifts under the tree from the Orchard for everyone. Christmas Dinner was spectacular. The Chefs and staff worked so hard to provide us with turkey and all the trimmings. It was fantastic. Christmas came to the Orchard, the same way it does all over the world – no matter where we live. Together all the clients and staff came together in fellowship and understanding. In peace and good will.

I had a wonderful sober Christmas for the first time in many years and I was grateful. It was a gift, a miracle and magical. If it wasn't for the Christmas I spent at the Orchard – I doubt I would be sober today. I was where I was supposed to be that Christmas.

December 4, 2015 by Orchard Communications

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