Every so often at SafeHope, we have what we call ‘Celebration Week’.  As can be assumed from its name, this is usually a week-long celebration that is devoted to acknowledging how far each of the girls have come in their recovery.  Despite the ups and downs that we all have, the perseverance, determination and resilience that the participants demonstrate on a daily basis while working on themselves, bettering their lives and healing from their past is absolutely remarkable.  The purpose of Celebration is to recognize how hard each one of them (myself included before I finished all the courses) work and to celebrate what may seem like the ‘little things’ in life, even though it is the foundation for a future we all so badly want. 

             At Celebration, for each course you have completed so far, you get a certificate.  For someone who hasn’t accomplished something that you typically receive a certificate for, this is a really big deal.  We also get a little coin, like a recovery chip.  My last one had a dove on it as well as a quote.  I believe it said something along the lines of having the faith to leap and knowing you’ll fly…something like that.

             Something SafeHope does a lot is to try to give the girls here experiences that we’ve never had before.  Aside from feeling safe and cared for, something that we also do is have ‘outings’.  Now, COVID has made this a bit more difficult to do, but in the past, we have gone to alpaca farms, indoor trampoline parks, goat shmurgles and much more.  With COVID, there have been different guidelines we’ve had to follow, but that just means we’ve had to be a bit more resourceful. 

             Celebration Week also includes a movie and pyjama day, where we get to spend the whole day in self-care mode.  Relaxing, spending time with each other, taking breaks, that kind of thing.  So often with being in a program like this, when things are so intense and focused on recovery all the time, it can be exhausting.  Necessary, but exhausting.  Having time to create and restore balance in ourselves and at program is just as important as the lessons we learn in the courses.

             Then, the main day, if not the most important day of Celebration Week, is when the girls get to present what they’ve been working on.  We all get some time to work on something that symbolizes something important to us that we present to each other and all of the staff. This can be a painting, a collage, a poem/spoken word piece, singing or writing a song, playing something on an instrument, or even an interpretive dance! We can quite literally choose anything. A monologue, a power-point, anything. Me personally, I was notorious for doing collages. I would do them so often that people were relieved when I finally chose to do something else! I do admit though, I was kind of kicking a dead horse with that one so to speak.

             Celebration allows us to give a voice to our recovery. I can’t even begin to tell you all the times that I thought I was doing something good in my life and either got brushed over, disregarded or beat. It’s not uncommon to get to a place where you decide to give up and stop trying because you’ve been conditioned to think that nothing you do will ever be good enough, that you are worthy or deserving of healing or having a good life, but that’s all wrong. Celebrating the big things, little things and everything in between is what life is all about. Being surrounded by people who want to lift you up and see you do well is what makes it that much better.

             There are no limits to recovery, and that’s something worth celebrating.  The only ones that exist are the ones that you set for yourself.  This can be both a good and bad thing.  Re-training yourself to be your own greatest cheerleader takes a lot of work, but if you can get there, you can reap all the benefits you never thought possible.  A common thing to say and hear is that ‘I can’t’ do something, be something, anything like that.  I don’t remember where I heard the phrase, so I don’t want to take credit for it, but something that I tell people ‘can’t’ stands for is ‘capable and not trying.’  Of course, people are always trying, but the second they tell themselves they can’t do something, that creates room for them to try harder as they’ve obviously gotten discouraged and stopped putting in the effort somewhere.

             Back to what I was saying about limits before, I’ve probably said this before, but personally speaking, the only things I can’t do are drink and use drugs (and be in unsafe situations).  Besides that, everything is free game.  No one gets to choose what I do with my life besides me, people don’t get that kind of control over my life anymore.  Being sober is worth celebrating.  Being safe is worth celebrating.  Being free is worth celebrating.  That’s why we do it.