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"Today, I woke up to another day of promises"

Alcove’s unique services work towards keeping families intact and allowing mothers and their children to remain together during the healing process.  Here are the stories of these courageous women.

Pamela's Story

How Alcove Changed My Life
by Pamela R.


Alcove, the Recovery Centre for Women, has changed my life in more ways than one. The progress I’m making here is far greater than any other treatment programs I’ve ever been to in the past. Due to the genuine care and interest each staff comes with.

I have a huge appreciation for the altering the facility does to meet each individual’s different situations.From the meal preps to the programs themselves.The fact there’s a doctor and psychologist who come weekly to ensure every woman is getting their health needs met physically and emotionally. I feel that is an exponential benefit in our recovery journeys.Also practising mindfulness, not only in the group setting but also in meditation, yoga and spirituality classes are all huge milestones for recovering addicts/alcoholics.


Learning in-depth the causes of distorted thinking and maladaptive behaviours and strategies to change these aspects in ourselves gives opportunity for forgiveness and growth. I’ve also learned the importance in abstinence, and the difference between staying sober and working ap program of recovery.


The staff do an amazing job in encouraging various ways of healing rather than an all or nothing principle which helps everyone’s different belief systems.


I’m thankful to Alcove for incorporating an Indigenous approach with bringing in a respected, knowledgeable Elder, who does healing circles and are looking into doing medicine wheels, sweats and groups explaining the different herbs and how they can e used for medicine, done with my father-in-law in the near future.


Another important aspect for myself is the parenting class, regaining the skills and understanding where my children are at with their ages and their own understanding and learning abilities. I feel is this is moving me that much closer to becoming the mother I know I’m capable of being. I see how Alcove supports mother’s and children in being a part of the program, they have a babysitter and give space and time dedicated to those important relationships. I look forward to the weekends I spend with my children and warms my heart seeing other mothers with their own. This possibility is huge and not many other facilities have the same foundation.


Having a safe space to heal and be completely vulnerable, I’m reconnecting with my spirit. I recognize my potential and I believe in myself again. I’m encouraged, I’m supported, I’m respected and above all, I’m believed in.None of these things would be a possibility without Alcove. Retraining my brain, staying active and having that positive mindset are few of the many things I’m learning here and are ensuring a life worth living with a domino effect for my loved ones.


My hope is for as many wounded women to have the environment Alcove gives. They say women are the pillars in the community, back bones in families. If Alcove can help mothers, daughters, sisters, Aunties, grandmother’s and friends heal and remold themselves for the greater good o the world, why not help support Alcove in that ripple effect.

Jennifer's Story

I came to Alcove in January 2022.  I had already completed two other treatment programs, yet I was still so broken and scared. I had completely lost everything in my life and was fleeing domestic violence. I showed up with two suitcases, everything I owned. I was struggling to stay alive. My battle with my life had been going on for 20 years. My addiction and the dangers of the life I was living found me homeless, broken and hopeless. I had lost my home, my vehicle, my kids were apprehended by CFS, I had lost the trust and connection of anybody and everybody that loved me.

This is where I was at when I arrived at Alcove. I was extremely mistrusting and very afraid, but I was so desperate.  I hated myself, I was filled with such guilt, shame, doubt and anger. I also felt worthless.  And yet I found myself in this place called Alcove, and was welcomed in and although I was afraid I felt completely safe.  I felt at home. The staff and clients made me feel a part of the group / family – something I hadn’t felt in years. Within one week I opened my heart and cried, and cried. And they accepted me and loved me through those first weeks, actually all the way through.

The impact that the love, safety and support had on me allowed me to be completely vulnerable and allowed me to open all the broken pieces of my heart and truly be me, without any masks. The core groups which are trauma-informed, pushed me to talk about my pain from my past, my grief and loss of two children, my childhood trauma, my guilt and shame. Alcove taught me how to build my self-esteem again. There was always someone I could talk to anytime, day or night. The support and true caring and compassion for us girls gave me a whole new perspective on life, and myself. The unity of us girls was outstanding and the staff made sure that it was always a safe place emotionally as well as physically, spiritually and mentally.

Anytime any issue arose they were immediately dealt with in a loving way so they could maintain a safe environment in which to heal. The nurse practitioner came once a week, also the psychologist. I learned gratitude, patience, respect for myself and others.  I learned responsibility, accountability, I learned to love myself and forgive myself. I learned how to let go of my past. I learned hope for a new life I also learned how to communicate, set boundaries, and how to live for today. And how to stay present in the moment. I learned tools to manage my thoughts and feelings. I learned my new hobbies and interests.

Alcove also supported and still does support visits with my kids and my communication with my caseworker with CFS. Words cannot express my gratitude for Alcove. Since being here my visits and relationships with my kids and CFS have drastically improved as well as my family Alcove is unlike any other treatment centre because they take such pride in truly helping the girls that come here. Alcove has also inspired me to want to work in addictions and I have hopes of one day working for Alcove. This feels like home for me. 

I truly believe that if there were more places like Alcove, it would help so many women truly change for good. Real change. I will never be the same. Today I am 7 months sober but more than that I am not afraid and I believe my life is truly beginning now. I am so blessed to have been one of the few chosen ones to have the opportunity to heal, grow and change.  It’s all thanks to my desperation and mostly Alcove. Today I choose to live, and I am truly excited to see where my life will take me. Alcove has become part of me. These women are my tribe, my family.

Thank you Alcove for loving me when I couldn’t love myself.  You brought me back to life and I am forever grateful for this beautiful experience and a second chance in my life.


Love always, Jennifer

Goodbye to My Addiction

Dear Addiction,


I would like to start off by thanking you. Thank you for the years of Good times and the years of bad times. Through the years of addiction you have taught me who friends, family, and loved ones really are. You have taught me how important my role as a mother is; how I should always listen to my children and how important it is for me to be their role model; you made me realize how important it is for me to just continue being alive.


However, I'm writing this letter to say goodbye. I remember when we first met. I was 19. I never suspected how bad you would be for me or the devastation our future would hold. I was blinded by your beauty. You took me into your arms and enveloped me in numbness and warmth. I was floating, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. I thought that I could control you, but soon you came to control me. The first couple months were good but the months after that you started to take me over.

I gave myself to you completely, almost reveling in the darkness and destruction. Indulging in the lovely ritual, I was completely ready to die for you. It was sad and terrible - beautiful oblivion.

I have done everything for you, given you everything and all you did was take. I have lied, cheated, manipulated and stolen. I have caused my family and friends unimaginable pain and ruined our relationships. I have lost jobs, wreaked cars, ruined my college education and put myself in many dangerous situations. I even spent some of my life incarcerated because of you. . I've degraded myself and sold my body. I hardly know who I am anymore. I was so detached from myself and life. I feel lost. And I am finally ready to say enough. I am through with all the pain, bullshit and degradation. It was fun at first, but mostly it was just horrible. So it's time to say goodbye. It's been real but it's over. You will no longer have control over me.

I am taking back my life.

Pauline's Story*

My name is Pauline.  I have 2 sons, and I’d like to share my story with you.

I remember it just like it was yesterday.  My mom was 28 years old and diagnosed with Lupus, and I was just 6 years old.  It was Black Friday and my mom was really sick and her time was up – God took her.  I was left with my aunt, her sister who wasn’t legally authorized to take care of me.  Therefore I was put in foster care and ultimately became a ward of the government.  I had no recollection of who my real family was, as I was put in many foster homes, group homes and assessment centres.  I was beaten, abused, starved, and my long hair that my mother encouraged me to grow was cut short.  I was molested from age 6 – 9 by my foster mother’s son every night.  When I told my foster mother she called me a lair and denied me food.  I was stripped of my identity and felt my family didn’t care, miss me or even love me.  I finally got the courage and told my teacher and she told me I didn’t have to go back there.

Before I came to Alcove, I had already lost my way.  I was miserable and in a dark place and didn’t like myself.  I had my morals, ethics and values to my addiction.  I had given up hope.  I was at death’s door.  I had nothing.

Alcove gave me the gift of hope.  You earn each accomplishment in this program and you have to work hard.  The program taught me I am empowered over my addictive past and that I am able to handle whatever life gives me without drugs and alcohol, and I can be happy in life.  The staff, residents and especially the Family Program nursed me back to life in ways I didn’t think possible.  I feel so blessed to have gone through the program at Alcove and leave with confidence about my future.  Alcove helped me face my fears, emotions, thoughts.  Because of the support I received I was able to recognize the events and choices that lead me down the road of destruction.  I can now face the world that I was afraid of: my family and I have never been closer, and I love who looks back at me in the mirror. I was given an opportunity few people in life get:  a second chance.  I have learned not to stop growing and improving myself.  I recently graduated from the Alcove Program and am currently enrolled in the Leap Program at John Howard.  I have my own apartment in Sunnyside with my youngest son.  I cooked a turkey dinner for the first time with a hamper from Alcove.

I am in control of my life, and I have every intention of leaving behind a legacy worth remembering.

Thank you, Alcove for providing programs that give hope to the hopeless.  Thanks for giving me the chance to be somebody.  Thanks for life.

Dee's Story*

My name is Dee.  During my stay at Alcove I learned how to provide myself with positive statements, was able to sort out many of my life experiences from the past and the present, and learned how to deal with the feelings that came along with them in a positive manner.  I’d never considered positive messages from others until working through the sessions.  I was also reminded of something I have forgotten throughout my addiction, and that’s what “society” says my role as a woman should be.  The {Alcove Program} also taught me how to create and sustain positive, healthy relationships, how my addiction affected me mentally, emotionally, sexually, and brought me closer to my spiritual side.

Working with Alcove staff on my trauma, these sessions made me realize how traumatized I was and how the abuse and violence from my childhood affected me then and now. I learned how to feel safe and take good care of myself, dependently as well as independently.  I learned self-soothing techniques and how the mind and body are connected.  I learned how to end unhealthy relationships and what to look for when creating positive, healthy new relationships.  One of my favourite exercise is the “observer self” exercise.  This is a great exercise to help separate ourselves from the situation and see the situation from a different perspective.

I also learned how to acknowledge, recognize and accept specific feelings, thinking patterns, different forms of distorted thinking and how my childhood experiences affected me in the past and how they affect me now.  I learned how to communicate my emotions in a health manner, and how to stay safe and maintain a world without violence.

I learned that by paying attention to and acknowledging my thoughts and feelings, I can stop myself from relapsing before it happens.

Tara's Story*

First time I walked through Alcove’s doors, I was excited, and afraid.  I didn’t know what I was coming up against.  What helped me get through was I always reflected on my past, asking myself, always questioning myself, praying to Creator to hep me get through this. I remember the first time I smudged by myself, I was crying: asking the Creator to help me get through this.  At that time I felt weak, at that moment I just cried and told the Creator that I cannot go on living the way I was. I told the Creator “I surrender.  From this day on I leave my life for you to guide to a better place.”

I didn’t want to be living the dark side of life anymore.  I am grateful for the choice I’ve made by staying at Alcove.  I have worked so hard on my recovery, learning the hard way, the struggles and obstacles.  Letting go and overcoming my demons was the worst, but I’m glad and honoured I can tell my story and not be ashamed.  I don’t need to carry that with me anymore.  Forgiveness was always a challenge for me – I never thought I would find it in me to forgive this man for what had taken from me. I’ll never forget that little girl who always wanted to belong. That little girl has reached out to the Creator, that lonely little girl is not afraid anymore.

The Creator gave me strength, and a reason to live.  The Creator only choose his strong children.

I’ve now got the tools to help me live a better life for me and my family. Alcove has taught me to forgive and that life is what YOU make it!


Dear Alcove Newcomer

Today, I woke up to another day of promises.  I am so grateful!  Three months ago, I entered the Alcove Recovery Centre and began a journey that will forever change my life.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Your professionalism, patience, and dedication to helping me find my way, to learn who I really am deep down inside, to provide a path for me to discover who I really want to be as a person, and as a mom.

I am extremely grateful to the Staff –  you are amazing people dedicated to helping people like me find our way through our addiction.  I thank you all for everything you do and for your continued dedication and service to the suffering addicts/alcoholics.

You all make a difference. You provide hope when we cannot find hope ourselves.

Your empathy and understanding of what alcoholics/addicts are experiencing is immeasurable and appreciated beyond what I can express in words.

Alcove is a paradise that provides peace and serenity to support all alcoholics and addicts, create a new life in tune with our inner souls.  The staff's commitment to Alcove pays off in results.

To my addictions counsellor: Thank you for your shoulder, your listening skills, your dedication to all of us women at all stages of our recovery.  You are always there, always listening, always, always compassionate. no matter how long your day was you always understood us because of the amazing story you have of your own journey.  Thank you for everything.  I will never forget how beautiful you really are.  Thanks for being you.

To our Chef:  Thank you for your smile, Falafels, and your amazing food that fed the soul.  Your patience with us when we were grumpy! role you play may sometimes seem like in the background, but you are an integral part of the success and an amazing cook.

Thank you all for helping me and my son along through the beginning of our journey to start a better life sober.  You are all amazing and wonderful people. I am very grateful and appreciative.

Now to my newest and dearest sisters in sobriety.  My beautiful ladies who are here graduating with me today. Thank you for being amazing, wonderful, beautiful women who had my back, and always there when I needed you.  Thank you for sticking it out with me through the good times and bad.  I love you all – never forget that.

I’m looking forward to having you as my new sisters throughout mine and my son’s life.

We did it! Wah hoo!

To the new ‘seniors’ at Alcove – stay strong, and never stop fighting for your life. You are worth it.  I will miss you all.

I’d also like to thank Pregnancy Pathways, my Bent Arrow workers, my friend, and of course my son: for always believing in me every step of the way, and for everything you do for me and my son, and for all the help you’ve given me along the way.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you all – C


Hello my name is K, and I am a cocaine addict.  As I repeat that statement I feel the denial come through my voice.  Emphasize the word ADDICT.  Should I say hello?  Do I say cocaine?  Or should I introduce myself as an alcoholic/addict?   These questions raced through my mind as I mentally rehearsed this phrase on my 3-hour drive to Alcove.  My mother sleeping soundly beside me, my sister in the front seat – eyes forward.  Her fiancé clutching the steering wheel. 

My life had become unmanageable.  I was powerless to my drug of choice. I had lost all faith.  The only time I spent praying to a higher power was on my hands and knees, was picking cocaine pieces out of my bedroom carpet.  Asking God for one more instead of asking for enlightenment.  Begging for guidance, when the only direction I followed was the unrelenting voice of my addiction.

Truth is, I genuinely thought I was in control.  I grew up in an alcoholic, abusive family. The origin of my addiction was never my fault.  I blamed everyone around me for my crisis and I robbed myself of self-worth, trust and morality.  I did not only crave my drug of choice but I craved the numbness.  Quality was not based off tingling gums or the burn in my nose:  I craved emotional numbness.  The word “addiction” was one that I was familiar with. In fact, it was my best friend – we were inseparable.

Addiction was the one thing that would love me, and not leave.  My social habit turned into lust.  A burning desire for just one more.  My dreams and aspirations crushed into the consistency of white powder.  For once in my life, I had control over something:  the amount I used.  That control turned into an insatiable need – the need to lose myself completely, to find who I really am. 

There is no ‘Aha!’ moment.  For me it was a reflection of the person I tried so hard to leave behind.  It was a reflection of a young, broken girl who so badly wanted to be loved by something or someone.  The energy I put into running away from my problems or putting any substance in my body to not feel, came rushing back to me. In my addict mind, praying for the sweet release of death was simpler than asking for forgiveness. 


When I was disappointed that I regain consciousness after overdosing, I attempted suicide.  The idea that death was an easier fit than admitting I was an addict was my twisted reality.  Finding the ‘quick fix’ was my kryptonite. I would rather have had my family spend their live mourning my loss, than know the truth of my addiction.  Needless to say my suicide attempts were futile. 

Tears rolled down my cheeks. This was the first time I had felt sensation on my face since I was 18.  I knew this was my rock bottom.  A cold tile floor with no one but myself and my emotions to keep me company.  I could feel my heartbeat in my chest.  The first time I took in air through my nose, the first breath of oxygen not mixed with drug particles, or shame.  In that moment of clarity, I made the decision to ask for help.  I knew in that moment I was powerless over my addiction. That continued cocaine use would kill me, and death would become my new companion.  I was able to admit to my family that I had had an abusive love affair with drugs and alcohol.  That my ‘phase’ had become my lifeline.


As distorted as my reality, it was not until the broken little girl in the mirror rang the front doorbell of Alcove, that I knew the suffering was over.  I now would rather continue an uphill climb in recovery than be 6 feet below this earth.  Recovery has been the most rewarding experience for me.  From the time I was embraced by Alcove, I knew it would be home. This was what I longed for, but never received.  I felt safe being 3 hours away from my family than I had in a lifetime. 

The support I receive continues to challenge me to be the best version of myself, which was something I was never allowed to be.  I am not WHAT has happened to me, I am WHAT I CHOSE TO BECOME. 


Sober, and unapologetically, myself.

- K


If you or someone you know needs help fight an addiction, please contact us.

(403) 984-2707

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