March 5th, 2019 was the one year anniversary of the opening of Herren Wellness in Seekonk, MA! We are proud of our growth and accomplishments this first year, but what better way to celebrate our anniversary than with our former guests’ own words about what their life is like in recovery.
“Our accomplishments belong to our guests and families, our amazing team and the Herren family.”
~ Lori McCarthy, Executive Director, Herren Wellness
“I am 46 now and in my late 30s things started unraveling. I started drinking and became completely submerged in that lifestyle, and I had no idea where to turn.
I had been sectioned a couple of times, and I went to a couple of detoxes – I don’t how many it’s kind of a blur to me. It was all new to me, and I guess I was just drying out at these places. What intrigued me originally – I think I was at a detox and I saw the documentary Unguarded with Chris Herren. We are from the same area and I knew of him.
It was Heather’s story in this film that intrigued me the most. My ex-husband had also struggled with disease, and sadly eventually succumbed to it, and her story got me. I could relate so much to her. So that’s where it began for me, but I was still completely out of control. I drank every day, I had two seizures, and then a friend told me to look into Herren Wellness, and at the time I wanted nothing to do with it. At all. I said, “no way I don’t want to go to that place!”
But, again, I was still intrigued by Heather’s story. So, I looked it up online – I heard he had opened a place – and I think it was divine intervention. I made the call, and in my mind, I said “I can do this. If I don’t like it I can leave. This is on my own terms, my own will.”
Being there was a very alternative way to heal. It’s something that sounds so cliché but the community there was very, very special.
After my ex-husband died of this disease I was broken. I thought that I could have saved him. I was just so broken and so angry that he was never able to recover. But I started seeing things through other peoples’ eyes, especially the men’s eyes, and it changed my perspective on my whole experience.
I arrived at Herren Wellness at exactly the time I needed to be there. One time I was a mess, and upset, and another guest came up to me and said: “Rachel, we’re going to love you until you can love yourself”, and those simple words were a game changer for me. I had never been part of such a loving community before.
It was such a healing place. Nobody was banging at my door and yelling at me what you had to do next, like what happens in so many other places. I was treated with respect. It was such a healing, safe, and comfortable environment.
I’m still recovering every day – I’m 7 months sober now. This is my journey now. There is no time limit on recovery.
One of the things that really helps keep me stay sober is I’m still a part of this community even though I’m not there anymore, and I feel accountable to them in a healthy way. I feel like I need that. This community helps me stay sober for myself, not for anybody else. They need me, and I need them. It’s MY community.
They are like a family, like a whole new family. I visit sometimes but I always know that they are always a phone call away. I can go in there anytime. I can walk into the kitchen and grab a sandwich and say hello to people and I’m always welcome. If I’m having a bad day someone will always talk to me.
At Herren Wellness there are no limits to what they will do to help my recovery. Of all the places I’ve been, I’ve never, ever experienced anything like this. They actually mean it when they say they are family.
They don’t make you feel closed in like you are in jail. I wasn’t afraid. I was where I needed to be. And every single day when I woke up I thanked God that I was there another day. Of course, I had my moments where I wanted to go home because I missed my family and my house, but I wasn’t ready.
I feel very lucky to live close to Herren Wellness and that I can walk in and see Lori, see Heather. I can walk in and see Chris’ grin on his face and he says so much with just a look.
We all need affirmation. We all do. I’m stubborn and I don’t like to be patted on the back but when I talk to them and hear ‘way to go, Rachel’, it feels really good, and it helps to keep me sober.
I have never, ever talked publicly about my story. But now I look at people and say with pride, ‘I’m a woman in recovery’.
I don’t label myself, because I’m the type of person where what I think I am, I am. I have a really strong mind. If I wake up in the morning and say ‘I’m Rachel and I’m an alcoholic‘ that’s it – I might as well go to the liquor store. But when I tell myself “I am a woman in recovery”, it’s a game changer. Totally different for me. Heidi, who does acupuncture there, she taught me that.
I have taken a piece from every single human being I met at that place, from the therapy I got, to Chris, to Heather, to Lori, to the community there, to the guys that were working on the windows when I was there, to the people cleaning the pool. There’s a piece of my recovery I got from everyone.
I would say to anybody, if they don’t want to make the commitment, simply go there and check it out. I promise people that if they go look at this place, you don’t have to stay. Just go and take a tour and hang out. I know when I say this that if they do take this step – even if they don’t stay then – that seed is going to be planted. I know that if they go see Herren Wellness, that the next time they drink it won’t be the same. Just from taking a tour.
Now I know the steps I take in my recovery are up to me. I plan my day accordingly not to drink, and I use the tools, and it’s up to me, and I have so many people I can call, so many doors open to me, that the only one who can close any door is me.
I hope that anybody who hasn’t made that call can make that call. I look at my life before I went there, and it was wreckage. It was like a car going off a cliff and seeing the car at the bottom of the ravine up in flames and saying ‘was someone in that car?’, and realizing that person was me. And that I got out. I survived. I’m a survivor. I owe it to Herren Wellness to helping me love myself. And I owe it to me because I did the work. There were some days, of course, where I didn’t want to do the work but at the end of the day I didn’t go there to make friends, I went there because I was broken and the next thing for me was probably death.
I asked myself before this interview if I wanted to use my name or my picture, but then I said to myself ‘I’m a survivor’, and if I was a cancer survivor would I feel ashamed? No.
I am not ashamed of my recovery and so I’m stepping forward and telling my story, and I hope it helps someone – even one person – know they aren’t alone.”
~ Rachel, Herren Wellness Alum and Woman in Recovery
How Herren Wellness Can Help
We understand that early sobriety is a difficult time full of a range of emotions. We work with guests to create a whole-health action management plan, allowing them to discover and explore many opportunities in recovery. We help foster healthy habits and routines, including nutrition, fitness, sleep hygiene, creative exercises, mindfulness practices, and group activities that allow guests to reconnect with the things they love or discover new interests.
We work with guests to create a meaningful and sustainable aftercare plan that includes healthy habits and routines that are meaningful to them. When you come to Herren Wellness, you become part of a vibrant and thriving community that doesn’t end when your stay ends. You become part of the Herren Wellness family.