I have been a resident of Place of Refuge for the better part of a year. I moved here after spending time in recovery with the Hope for Freedom Program in Port Coquitlam. To have a place to call a temporary 'home', a safe place to begin a new life, is a blessing. My belief is that this is where recovery really begins. The support through the Mennonite community is truly humbling. To be accepted without judgment is soul nurturing.

To be encouraged in my belief in God is life affirming. I look forward to the weekly bible studies with Ted Klassen and Rod. I am close to moving on with my life and finding a place to live and will be eternally grateful for the support given me through Place of Refuge.

After spending two years struggling with alcoholism, including two separate admissions in an expensive 29-day self-pay program in Ontario, I moved to Vancouver in the summer of 2011 in the hopes of starting a new life. Unfortunately, there was much missing from my recovery program and I relapsed shortly after arriving. Through nothing short of an act of God I found myself at the Hope for Freedom Society and ultimately, Place of Refuge is where my hopes for the future turned around completely. I believe there are two main reasons for my resurrected outlook on life. First and foremost was my coming to believe and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The spiritual awakening I received as a result of this was – and still is – truly mysterious, yet very real. Before this, I could not forgive myself for how I had led my life and how I'd let loved ones down. I needed forgiveness from one higher than me and I received that from Jesus Christ.

The second reason depends greatly on the generosity of others. It is based on the requirement of time. Time getting accustomed to a new way of thinking, a new way of living, a new way of approaching life's challenges. Unlike the 29-day program, Place of Refuge offers an aftercare process in order for my recovery to gain a foothold on building my faith and hope for a better life – to plan and put into practice that will ultimately contribute to the benefit of others. After 8 months with Place of Refuge I am now able to contribute to my livelihood. I have plans in place for my future and I have confidence that my skills in the career I have been in for over 25 years will pay off. I am part of my children's lives and I will be able to be there for them in the future. I thank God each and every day for Place of Refuge and the time I have been granted in order to build my life again.

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