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I am writing this review on the 145th day of living my best life, and while I know that Christine and the team at the House of Courage would disagree with the following statement, I certainly do owe my present wellness entirely to Team House of Courage.
I am a 45 year old woman and a mother of 2 young adults.
I lived through emotional and physical trauma through much of my life, which directly impacted my ability to love myself, and as such, my self-esteem and confidence was poor for as long as I can recall.
Of course, moving through life over the years, I never much thought about the hurts and disappointments that I experienced; the truth was, it was such a part of me, that I defined myself by it and didn't even know who I was anymore, if I ever did.
For me, this meant I had poor self-worth and unintentionally engaged in self-sabotaging behaviours, including drugs (prescription etc), alcohol, vitamins, supplements, spending, and other activities in extreme.
This impacted the relationships I had with others in my life, but no more so than the relationship I had with myself.
I was afraid to express my emotions, and angry towards those who had wronged me, disappointed in a life that I didn't have the courage to live to the fullest, and setting a terrible example for my children who desperately needed a mother who was consistent, reliable, and present.
All the while, I did my best to meet the needs of others, and holding it together (barely) for everyone else but the one that mattered the most - ME.
I was filled with self-loathing and when I lost 2 close family members back to back 2 years ago, I commenced a downward spiral that ultimately had me filled with self-hatred and contemplating suicide.
I was resentful of LIFE and the shitty deck of cards I had been dealt.
As far as I was concerned, I was done with life.
And so it was over Christmas 2018 that I reached out to Christine in my darkest hour, a moment that found me searching for the smallest amount of courage I needed to pick up the phone and make that call.
And that call changed my life.
At the time, walking through the doors of the House of Courage for the first time was the hardest thing I had ever done, but it was nothing compared to the decades of existing in cloud of self-hatred, surviving only with dysfunctional coping mechanisms that were serving only to bring me closer to an early grave.
Simply put, the program not only redefined my life, but saved it.
The program exceeded my expectations in every way, shape, and form.
The essentials of optimizing self-care are all taken care of, for we cannot have a healthily mind and live our best life, if we do not first have a healthy body.
Accommodations are comfortable and clean, and I can honestly state that I had some of the best sleep of my life in the safety of the House of Courage.
My bed was comfortable, the towels were plentiful, and the common spaces well maintained.
I enjoyed the recreation facilities as a regular part of self-care - the exercise equipment, hot tub, pool and sauna contributed to my daily wellness, and I have carried on with similar self-care activities. I sparked a renewed interest in painting and the craft supplies are plentiful and of good quality.
Everyone is expected to clean up after themselves and abide by basic house rules like being respectful of others space and possessions, assisting in meal clean up and weekly house clean-up, and as these are life skills, go a long way to maintaining a functional and organized space that all can flourish in.
The food is outstanding. Barry is an outstanding chef who eagerly works with the residents to create foods that appeal to the group while still considering preferences and tastes. His stuffed pork loin was a personal favorite :). There is no shortage of food, with fresh fruit and vegetables with salad available at every meal. Residents are encouraged to partake in weekly trips by staff for the purchase of speciality items at their own expense, like chips, pop and other permitted approved comfort items that will undoubtedly make your healing more comfortable.
The Personal Support Workers are all former Residents, and as such, this defines the difference in a publicly funded government hospital-based program and the House of Courage. Having faced similar struggles and with a familiarity with the program, they provide open, honest, compassionate care from a place of life experience and love. Unlike Hospital-based programs, they are available 24/7 and as we know, pain and addiction never rest. The kindness and empathy Odessa showed me for the duration of my stay at the House of Courage was instrumental in my healing.
The program is a comprehensive 4 step program, and believe me when I say - If you want it bad enough, it is yours for the taking.
Basics such as human emotions, communication, self-care and ego are covered, and you will learn the foundations of self-esteem, self-worth and their value in a healthy relationship with oneself, and concrete, valuable techniques and tools to apply to real life situations and life outside the safety of the House of Courage.
The program delves into the depths of trauma and with the support of a Counsellor (optional), you have the ability to create a life of authenticity by your own design. Diane is a knowledgeable and professional Counsellor, who provides therapeutic, behavior-based treatment to augment the existing program and help you move forward in a consistent, goal-directed direction. She is one of the kindest, most authentic individuals you will meet and I highly recommend her services to enhance your healing.
Christine is the foundation of the House of Courage. She speaks from life experience and a place of empathy, encouraging you to get to the root cause of the pain, and offering concrete, realistic solutions to work through it. She has the natural ability to simultaneously offer guidance while fostering self-esteem. Her one and only goal is to encourage you to dig as deep as possible, get to the root of the trauma and pain, and provide you with the tools necessary to reinvent your best self. She is an outstanding individual, one who speaks from a place of honesty and courage, and the world would be a better place if she was the mother of all children.
I do not state that lightly - she has the power to light in you the match that will save your life. It's up to you if you choose to do so.
You will cry a lot at the House of Courage.
You may be wondering if the House of Courage is the right choice, leaving your family, or your dog and your job for 60 or 90 days.
You may be doubting you even NEED the House of Courage, and you may be thinking 'it's not THAT bad", and to that doubt I say this:
If you are reaching out now, it is for a reason.
If you have come across my testimonial, it is for a reason.
If you are struggling, there is hope.
And that hope has been within YOU the entire time.
Allow yourself to heal the broken pieces, and be the creator of your best self.
Find forgiveness for those that have wronged you, not for them, but for yourself so you no longer have to carry their burdens of shame on your shoulders. That gets SO heavy.
You DO deserve it.
Life can't wait any longer.
Be your best self and be the author of the best chapter of your life!
You are WORTH it!
Posted By: Andrea
Previous Resident, Edmonton
Today, I’m 10 months sober. Life is good. Christine’s program gave me the skills I needed to get my life back on track. I gained a new confidence.
My alcoholism was sending me down a path of total destruction. I have many regrets from my past but I learned to leave them there, in the past. The program has given my the tools I need to deal all situations.
I have my life back and for that I’m so grateful.
House of Courage is so welcoming. It is situated in a gorgeous country setting. Lots of space to take a walk.
Barry and Phil provided us with amazing home cooked meals.
There are many amenities.
Pool, exercise equipment, craft area, lots of movies and lot of great books and much more.
I wanted to get well and I choose the right place. I work everyday using what I learned to stay sober.
Posted By: Connie
My daughter spent two months at House of Courage due to alcoholism and depression. I was nervous sending her as I did not get to meet Christine personally or visit the premises. Christine was amazing! Her passion for her job and the love she has in taking care of her clients is outstanding. Christine went above and beyond to make my daughter feel at home and supported. Christine was in constant contact with me and put me at ease. Once my daughter came home (just a few days ago) she told me how great the program was, how many valuable life skills she learned and how great Christine was to her. I am hoping my daughter takes all she’s learned and has a happy and successful life as now it is up to her but I would highly recommend sending a loved one to House of Courage if they are willing to try to get better and heal.
Posted By: Diane Quaresma
Parent of daughter who attended House of Courage, Hamilton, Ontario
The House Of Courage is one of the most phenomenal treatments anyone could hope/wish for. The program Christine has done up will change your life in more ways then one. The house and whole property have such a "homey" feel...even down to the home cooked meals prepped by Barry who is a amazing cook and overall individual. I can't even put into the words how the House Of Courage changed my life. I was about to lose everything important in my life such as my wife and kids and even my life was seeming to come to an end. Christine and the support workers changed that around in a short period of time. I can't thank her and all the staff enough. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Posted By: Lundy
I'm writing this testimonial eight months after I walked thru the door of the HOC for the first time. I am now clean, sober and loving my new life. I stayed at the House of Courage for the 60 day program, which I desperately needed. I was so afraid to walk thru that door for the first time, but I knew I had to make some major changes in my life and this was the place I could get the help I needed. I encourage anyone struggling with addiction to pick up the phone and give Christine a call. It was the most important phone call I've ever made and it changed my life forever. Christine set me at ease instantly when we spoke on the phone. The first time we met in person I was welcomed with a big hug. Christine genuinely cares about people and wants to help. Everyone at the HOC is non-judgemental and treats everyone with dignity and respect.
The program is unique and was created by Christine. This is not a clinical or institutional environment, in fact the house quickly becomes your home. I was very comfortable and at ease after a few days. I realized I was not alone at the house because everyone there was in the same boat as me. I found great comfort in this. The staff is fantastic and many have been thru the program themselves which gives them a unique and compassionate perspective. The program taught me how to deal with many things from my past, and more importantly how to live clean and sober in the present.
The food is fantastic thanks to Barry. Barry always gave us something to look forward to at meal times.
The House of Courage changed my life in so many ways. I have a clean conscience now. I have new found self respect and self dignity. I am now proud of the person I have become. I use the tools I was given at the HOC everyday to manage my life of sobriety.
Thank you to everyone at the HOC...can't wait to come for a visit.
Posted By: Chad Fulford
Rocky Mountain House, AB
After struggling with addiction for many years I too entered the HOC as a lost and broken individual. I always thought I could change on my own, but knew I needed help and didn’t know where to turn. Christine and the staff welcomed me with open arms and gave me a safe, nonjudgmental place to heal. Every day there was a learning experience, getting to the root of my problems and tools to understand how to deal with them and overcome my addiction. My life has changed so much for the better. I’m no longer that scared and broken person that first walked through those doors. I have happiness in my life again and I owe this all to Christine, the staff and residents at the HOC. Thank you Christine and HOC for helping me get my life back!
Posted By: Kerrie
House of Courage changed my life. When I arrived I was very broken. Alcohol had taken a toll. I was met at the door by Christine (Barry) who own and run the program. She made me feel very welcome. She allowed my husband to stay while she explained the program to me. I decided that the 60 day program would be best for me. As the weeks went by I slowly started to heal. Christine’s program taught me better ways of dealing with my problems, people and circumstances. I didn’t need my old best friend ALCOHOL. I learned to be a confident, assertive, and happy person.
Barry, Christine’s husband was a great support when I wanted to talk.
I loved the country setting. Nice place to take walk. Lots of great amenities including a pool, exercise equipment craft area.
I would truly recommend this beautiful home like facility to anyone who is struggling with addiction.
I have my life back.
Phil and Barry provided us with amazing meals.
Christine, Barry, Kiki, and Phil thanks so much.
All of the staff were amazing.
Posted By: Connie
Red Deer, Alberta 10
I have been wanting to write a testimonial for the House of Courage for some time now so I figured what better time than to do it on my 6 month sober anniversary. Going to the House of Courage was the best decision I ever made. I walked in there not knowing what to expect - although it was extremely scary and overwhelming everyone made me feel welcome and at home. I spent 2 months at the House of Courage and learned a tremendous amount of life skills that I continue to use on a daily basis. Christine, Barry and all the other staff were amazing. The House of Courage really makes you feel like you're part of a family during your stay. I can't say enough good things about the House of Courage and the program Christine has created. I have a whole new outlook on life and it feels amazing to finally have a positive energy to be the best me and live the best life I can. Thank you Christine, Barry and staff for all your time, support and knowledge you provided me!
Ps; the food here is no joke - Barry is an incredible cook!
Posted By: Natalie
Best thing I ever did for myself. Helping me to get to the core of my issues and getting rid of it. Thank you so much Christine, Barry and all the staff. "Taking my life back ;) "
Great environment, safe and organized. Wish you best for the years to come !
Posted By: Pierre Marc
Best thing I ever did for myself and my family was go to the House of Courage. Wow what a place this is, I hated myself, my life, and my behaviors when i when I walked through those doors. I had a 60 day program that changed my life, they helped me with my addictive personality, my self esteem, self confidence, my way of thinking and so much more. This program was very tailored to my needs which was very important to me i was not just a number. I loved the family atmosphere, the facilities, the staff, and of course the food. I feel i have the tools to move forward and have the fulfilling happy and productive life I deserve and want. I love myself again and am so looking forward to the future.
If you want to get help look no further than the House of Courage, these people are here to do nothing but help you SUCCEED.
Thank you so very much to Christine, Barry, Lorraine, Phil and of course Cooper and Garfield you will forever be in my thoughts and heart.
Posted By: Colleen