"Without Avalon, there is not a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn't be here right now."
A little over a year ago, Tracy* walked through the doors of Avalon Recovery Society for the first time. She weighed only 94 pounds, was deep in the clutches of alcoholism, and contemplating ending her life.
Tracy grew up in a well-to-do family. She travelled extensively in her twenties and built an exciting international career. She met her husband, bought a home and had two beautiful children.
But all was not as picturesque it seemed. The marriage was extremely verbally abusive, and by her late forties the disease of alcoholism began to take hold of Tracy’s life. It did not let go for 17 years.
By 2015, Tracy was drinking in the morning and throughout the day while holding down a full-time job. When she could no longer work due to a health issue, her drinking escalated – even after receiving a DUI with her teenage daughter in the car.
In 2018, she was offered a job in Vancouver. She put a few of her personal items in her car – some flip flops, shorts, tank tops – and made the drive to British Columbia, drinking most of the way. She arrived in Vancouver, but by now her alcoholism had spiraled out of control and she was soon asked to leave her new job.
It was then that Tracy felt like she had no options, and started making plans to end her life.
“I had written notes to my children and my family,” says Tracy. “I had driven the route from Vancouver to Whistler twice to find out where there were no guardrails, so I could drive off and not hurt anybody else.”
“Because at that point I wasn’t worthy of living and the world would be better off without me. And my kids certainly would be.”
Convinced by a friend to come to Avalon, Tracy reluctantly agreed to give it a try. She told herself that she would come to Avalon Women’s Centre every day and if it wasn’t working for her after one week, “then I would just kill myself.”
The next day, Tracy went to Avalon Women’s Centre, a decision that saved her life.
“I just walked in the doors and was embraced by these women,” she says.
Even though she didn’t speak much during her first meeting, the group could tell something was wrong and that she needed support. One of the women looked her in the eye and said, “I want to talk to you afterwards.” Tracy credits her with why she came back the following day.
Immediately, Tracy found the community and connection she needed at Avalon. Not only that, but she was also able to get the resources she needed to rebuild her life.
Thanks to the Avalon clothing donations, she could finally find clothes that fit. “I had lost so much weight that none of my clothes fit me anymore. I was able to start looking a bit presentable.” Through Avalon, she found an apartment. Once she moved in, other women brought her sheets, blankets, dishes and everything she needed to make a home.
“It’s just phenomenal how this community came together for me. While also keeping me sober!”
Just one year on, the difference in Tracy is remarkable. She is taking classes and is actively searching for employment. She texts her friend every morning with a “grateful list” of all the things she is thankful for. She speaks to her children every day. She is healthy and full of joy.
“Avalon gave me options, it gave me hope,” says Tracy. “If Avalon closed its doors tomorrow, I don’t know what I would do. It is part of my life, I come here every day.”