Fresh Start Alumni Group

Fresh Start Alumni Association

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Staff’s Corner: Harriett Matthews

My name is Harriett, and I’m the residential house supervisor for the John Muir Center for Recovery. I have been the house manager for five years.

I feel I have one of the best positions at CFR. I have the opportunity to see our patients evolve from anxious, confused individuals to people filled with hope and inspiration.

houseThe Residence can hold up to 15 people, who typically stay for two weeks. The structure in the Residence provides our patients with the opportunity to initiate change. It brings order to those who were in the throes of chaos. Our patients are afforded time so they can immerse themselves in recovery with minimal distractions.

They spend their days at CFR, attending groups and classes. They have a house meeting at the end of each day. They also attend 12-step meetings, and LifeRing brings a meeting to the Residence the first Thursday of each month.

Valuable relationships can be built at the Residence. It can be a bonding experience because people are relieved to be around others who are at the same level. They realize they are not alone.

The staff also is very supportive, and we work as a team to support our patients’ transition to new lives of sobriety and positive change.

Leaving the safety of the Residence can be challenging to say the least. Patients should be willing to listen to others in recovery, take advice and follow suggestions. Continuity is important.

Go to a meeting your first night out. Remember you’re used to attending six per week. Attend After Care for a year: It’s a great way to stay connected to your peers at CFR. Stay in touch with people on your phone lists. Work with a sponsor, get honest and incorporate the steps in your daily life. Do estimable acts and continue to make strides in your personal growth.

Most importantly, be patient. Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Best, Harriet


A Way to Help: Write a Letter, Adopt an Alum

letterFor people getting ready to leave CFR, it can mean a lot to get support from someone with time in recovery. If you’re an alum who thinks that sharing your story could help someone else, you can reach out by writing a letter that introduces yourself and offers to be of service. The counselors keep it on file and share it with patients they believe might connect with you and your experience.

Russ says he found his sponsor this way. And he has returned the favor by sharing his story in a letter. Russ’ letter offers an example of how you can craft one of these Adopt Alumni Letters, but pretty much any way you want to craft one is welcome. Just drop it off at the CFR office.

Dear Patient / Alum,


New John Muir Center for Recovery program gives young recovering addicts extra support


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