Success Stories

Personal Stories of Recovery


John Welch - a note of gratitude

Note: This is an open letter written by a client expressing his thankfulness and explaining his recovery journey

As I start this I feel compelled to incorporate my family, not just myself in this, because you have helped them as well as me.

I came to you shortly after my third hospital stay thanks to my family and friends who were there for me. I was totally confused and filled with fear. My mind was so stuck in fear that I could not even talk, I could only answer questions.

My first doctor talked with so much compassion. She explained how my life must change and I have to accept this change in order to heal in such a way and not see this as something negative, but different and positive.

My first counselor was very important, I could hardly speak and he was such a gentle, patient and understanding man.

He encouraged me to attend group therapy which I could attend and see others who were struggling with their own issues. I was not alone any more.

These people were so understanding and some not so. But I was able to feel again. What I mean by this is I felt flat and blamed it on the medication when in fact I was stuck dwelling in my head. And realized in order to heal I must take part in conversation in these sessions not only for me.

Fear is debilitating and how long you are in it can change who you are as a person.

When you think in fear, you live in fear. And it becomes a selfish reason not to deal with things, people and life in general. You lose the ability to function.

Sometimes it takes a long time to see this. It’s like an ice cube if the environment is cold it takes a lot longer to melt but if you warm it up too fast, it cracks.

You have taught me slowly how to deal with my fears with kindness and compassion and understanding.

You have taught me having a mental illness is something that you can deal with and function.

I feel privileged to have been treated at Stairways. Because it helped not only me but my family unit because they, through me, have healed along with me.

I still have work to do and so does my family, but healing from fear takes time.

Talking is important but listening to others is healing. Too much of either one is not healthy a little of both will help you understand.

Taking time to be alone putting everything in perspective is important also.

Socializing is important to healing.

Living in the moment helps enjoy life. Living in the past or future much without staying in the moment will only create fear and worry.

There are two sides to every single thought if you learn to live in the moment, take time to deal and learn from the past and learn and pray for the future life is lived.

When I walk into Stairways and see so many different kinds of people from all walks of life and from all over the world, I feel so fortunate. But I also see people out in our community who are not so fortunate, who are lost and extremely depending on the kindness and generosity of others but sometimes they feel like less of a person by people who see themselves as normal but in fact live in fear themselves.

They see themselves  as different when they are really scared of how someone appears to look.

Recently I got a puppy for my daughter for her birthday. When I first brought it home, it was full of fear and shaking from being separated from its family. We were in fear of what it would do to our house because our last dog. He accepted us as his new family. We learned how to house train him by just giving him a chance. He did go in the house but we know he is still learning how to tell us when he has to go. Eventually we will know.

Communication is key in this but love, understanding and gentle guidance must be used in conjunction to have a healing result. All of the people at Stairways exhibited these qualities and I feel so honored to have been treated there.

I would like to thank all the doctors, therapists, nurses, staff, friends and family and God for my experience of treatment at Stairways.

John Welch and Family



"Stairways helped me to work on recovery, one step at a time." -Ron S


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