A serene winter view of the Guest House grounds, providing a tranquil environment for recovery

“Lost in addiction, the Twelve Steps were the keys that opened doors for me. They introduced me to a new way of living – to a new way of ministering – to a new way of being the hands and feet of Jesus,” shared an alum who was asked about the significance of the Twelve Steps in his recovery.

Twelve-Step Recovery addresses the psychology of the person with addiction as well as the individual’s spirituality. The program offers balance between taking/accepting responsibility for actions and listening/accepting guidance from a peer or mentor. One alumna commented, “One of the most moving experiences for me was becoming a sponsor for someone. I know how much I value my own sponsor and am deeply grateful that I can return that guidance and support. Recovery is a journey we must share.”

At Guest House we know that the very heart or foundation of recovery is God. Spirituality is the core of the Twelve-Step Program of Recovery, and the Twelve-Step Program is integrated into the residential treatment at Guest House. There is not just a spiritual part or segment of the program – it is a spiritual program. This spiritually-driven program for Catholic clergy and religious makes Guest House unique and successful.

Being a Catholic sister in Twelve-Step Recovery has been an amazing experience of synergy and faith. Addiction steals one’s active, engaged, dynamic spirituality. I have always known a kind, merciful and loving God who welcomes sinners and forgives, but my definition of God’s providence toward me stopped maturing in in my addiction. What I began to realize as I worked toward recovery was that my understanding of God was very, very small,” recalls one sister when reflecting on her experience with the program.

The program is straight forward. The steps work in sequence, and there are Spiritual Principles associated with each Step. Immediately upon completion of one Step, the person begins working on the next Step. Each person working through the program must do the work, but there is a team for guidance, support and medical expertise. God is always a member of the team, and clients also provide support to one another. “God was with me through it all. He never left my side,” is heard from many of our clients upon their departure from Guest House. Often times, it is through the clients’ combined strength that they are able to complete the program and return to active ministry. The relationships created here through a shared experience often result in long-time connections and friendships.

Because there is no endpoint in recovery, the goal is changing one’s life for the better, gaining stability and becoming healthy in all areas. Being responsible, loving, helpful and interested in others are all part of recovery. This process develops strength in ministry. The Steps and Principles promote spiritual growth. One sister in recovery commented, “The Twelve-Step Program, as lived out in community there (at Guest House), fulfilled a great longing for a deeper spirituality.” For the clergy and men and women religious who visit Guest House, the return to active ministry is the most coveted part of recovery. They commonly say in their recovery, “I am now the best (priest, deacon, brother, sister or shepherd of Christ) that I have ever been, and I am happy.”

Written by Guest House Staff Writer