Click below to read some of our testimonials
The entire medical staff was awesome. They treated me like family at a time when I was barely human. My primary counselor was exactly the type of person I needed. He was alternately tough and compassionate, and most of all he taught me the power of swallowing my pride and simply listening to others. Honestly, every staff member I encountered was encouraging and committed. I'm forever grateful to all of them.
Harmony set the foundation for me to begin a new Journey. I learned at Harmony that there could be a life for me free from alcohol and drugs and I began to find myself while I was there. I began to grow spiritually. The work I did and support I was given by fellow students and staff offered me that chance.
The value of my experience at Harmony is priceless. A changed life, the changed lives of my family members and friends and the opportunity to discover my purpose are priceless gifts and valued beyond words. I have been given the biggest gift possible by my family and the opportunity to go to harmony and begin a new life.
I have been sober over one year now and I am loving it! Thank you to the stall for your dedication and commitment to helping those of us who so desperately need it. My life has changed so much it is hard to put into words and I can't begin to explain the gratitude I have. Thank you and keep up the good work.
The most valuable experience I have had in my life. I do not believe I could have done this without Harmony.
Harmony saved my life. It gave me my life back. No matter how you say it, it was an invaluable experience for me.
Thank You. Harmony saved my life - It's been 6 years and I am eternally grateful.
The staff, everyone from grounds maintenance to leaders, coaches, cooking and cleaning, secretaries, to accounting; They were all very, very supportive. Thank you all.
Though I was definitely not an overnight sensation embracing the AA principles, one of my first and strongest impressions from Harmony was the look of happiness on so many faces. I wanted that. It was my first spiritual experience. Sobriety date 5/2/02 with no interruptions.
Harmony saved my life. It gave me hope and a better understanding on how to live again in a clean and sober environment. Taught me how to be grateful to be alive and of service to others.
Best money I ever spent! It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The subtle influence on my grown children and friends is beautiful. My 30 year marriage is the best it's ever been.
The setting cannot be matched. Harmony is a wonderful place to find serenity and I know I did.
A 12-Step Journey to Happy, Joyous and Free
Step 1: Admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
My story is the same as and different than every addict who finds themselves in a treatment program. Pretty much it can be summed up in a few simple words: pain, misery, and despair. The details aren’t as important as the plain and simple fact that alcohol and cocaine had consumed my life and somehow become more important to me than anything or anybody.
In 1995, I took part in a residential treatment program for these same substances. The next 11 years I remained drug and alcohol free but did not participate in any 12-step programs or any other process that would help me maintain my sobriety or even remind of this terrible disease that I have. I’m not going to say that these were bad years, in fact quite the opposite. I was blessed in countless ways: family, friends, a job at the pinnacle of my profession. I quickly forgot that I am an addict and the horrible pain that I was in, in ‘95. The insanity returned. I thought a simple toast of champagne was perfectly appropriate. For the next 1.5 years I drank more and more, started using, and was a “high-functioning” addict. The last 6 months I more or less disappeared off the face of the earth and into a hell of my own making.
I wanted to die. Quit. Leave the agony behind and skip the rest of life. Just curl up in the fetal position and give myself over to the despair. But on July 13, 2007, thanks to an amazing family, I took the blessed step of finding and getting to Harmony.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
I have always had and believed in a loving, caring and forgiving God. What I didn’t know was how I was ever going to face up to the realities of where I had taken my life and how it had affected those I love; or if I would ever be able to live with myself; or if I deserved forgiveness. My spirit was crushed. Every day I had to decide that I would choose life in the middle of devastating circumstances instead of giving in to emotional death, depressing discouragement and defeat. I knew instinctively that God’s hand was the only one strong enough to pull me out of my darkness.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
It was the end of week 2 at Harmony sitting outside of my cabin as the sun was rising. My disappointments gigantic. My hopes were buried in the rubble of recent developments that were so shocking that I was struggling to find any meaning in the fractured pieces of my reality that remained. And I couldn’t see the cross! The cross in the rocks on the mountain across the way. Everyone else could see it, why couldn’t I? Powerless. Defeated. I uttered the Serenity Prayer, read page 417 of the Big Book and closed my eyes.
I had no power to control the circumstances that altered that course of my life. But in that quiet, I realized that I still had the ability to determine the course my life would take; however limited that power seemed at the time. I had the power to choose how I would respond and whether or not I would trust in my Higher Power. I opened my eyes and I saw it; the cross in the mountain. No lightening bolts. No burning bush. But my sign that only God could change my thinking - renew my mind and bring me hope. I chose life. I chose surrender. I chose to turn my will and life over to the God of my understanding.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I did not want to do this. Really, who does? It represented everything I wanted to escape. The very things I drank and drugged over. Every fear, every pain; all the shame, the guilt. With the care and guidance of my counselor and peers I knew that if I wanted to move in the direction of life instead of living in self-pityy, debilitating doubt and the stranglehold of fear, I had to do the work. In choosing life, this step became a critical process in getting a foothold on sobriety, reality and serenity.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
People told me that one of the great gifts of the 12-step program is that I don’t have to this alone. That there are loving, compassionate addicts just like me who understand and give me the outlet to keep from bottling all the “ugly” stuff inside me. I did some bad things, but I am not a bad person.
I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. I didn’t want people to know I needed help. Or that I had been arrested or was hurting financially. And I certainly didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. In sharing my secrets, I came to live in the freedom of release. Fear taunts, people will reject you and make you feel like a flawed person. Faith says, take the risk. Be real. Allow God to use the broken places of your past to give hope to someone else. This is the gift of Step 5.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Regret looks backwards and trust looks forward. I chose trust. Trust that I could do this thing if I put it in my Higher Power’s hands, faith that he would remove the character defects of my life. I was so ready. The Big Book says ‘jails, insanity or death’ are the options for the active alcoholic. I knew that if I didn’t ask God to help me change my way of being, then those truly were the only options left for me.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Asking was the easy part – doing my part daily to live in his will is the process. My Higher Power walked with me through the Pit of Despair. He didn’t miraculously remove me from it, but He waded through the muck right beside me. And it is happening. It takes time and it takes perseverance. It was not a one-shot deal for me. But every day as I stay focused on doing the right thing, the chinks in my armor fill with grace and gifts I never dreamed of. I believe I found my true self in the midst of the suffering and sorrow. I don’t know why, but I believe it is so. Maybe it’s because trials reveal the shallowness in me or it dims the attraction the world has to offer and casts a bright light onto spiritual realities.
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
For a long time I was too numb to realize that I was pointing a finger at God for allowing this terrible thing to happen. Part of my mental and spiritual healing is taking place by admitting my part in the chaos and drama that had become my life. Taking that long hard look at myself was anything but fun, but it gave me the process through which I could take responsibility and admit to myself that the facade had to come down and I had to own up to the pain and wrong I had done to others.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Owning up to my mistakes; Being vulnerable; moving in a forward direction; it is never easy. It is never routine. It is hard work. But it is necessary. Humbling myself; seeking forgiveness; being accountable; doing it sober. What an adventure!
It is easy to let seeds of resentment grow in my heart and cast blame. I was hurt and I felt I’d been abandoned. Receiving or giving forgiveness is not forgetting the pain, nor is it approving of wrong actions. It does not erase the memory of what has happened or that everything will turn out okay. What I continue to learn is that forgiving is a choice – to be forgiven by others or to forgive – that brings healing. It does not change the injustices of the past. What changes is the future – for others and for me.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
When I am doing my best to live in God’s will, I am able to accept that I am human. I make mistakes. But if I can be humble enough to acknowledge my part in things and honestly seek to right any wrongs, I find myself enjoying more serenity and inner peace with each passing day. I am doing my part even when it is painfully uncomfortable. It is one of the most freeing choices that I make.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry that out.
Gradually I learned to center my thought on my God and depend on Him in a way I had never done. This component of living clean and sober helps me to realize that I must release my controlling grip on my life and circumstances. I am determined to live by faith, not by feelings. I’ve known inexpressible joy, even while experiencing excruciating pain. And I have a peace that is beyond my human understanding. I think that’s possible because I am willing to put and keep myself in the center of my Higher Power’s will. I have found hope by resting in my faith and expectation, not in what God will do for me, but on my God who is my hope and expectation.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
When I choose to focus on gratitude and helping others, I get the focus off myself, off my own shackles, off my hopelessness and off my personal disappointment. Showing gratitude has to do with appreciating benefits received and expressing thankfulness to others. I have to be authentic enough to speak about my personal challenges because if I do I can fully embrace this gift and move in the direction of a purpose-filled life.
I attend meetings regularly, have a sponsor, sponsor others, and am active in my local 12-step community. I have also participated in the Harmony Continuing Care program for almost three years.
I wish I could say that today all my fears are gone, that it is easy to have faith and trust God each day, no matter what happens. The truth is, I struggle like everyone else. But one thing I have learned though, I may sometimes question God’s ways, I never question his love. He proved it to me in the pit.
Embracing recovery is the most empowering choice I ever made. It transcends common sense. It is sticky, uncomfortable, agitating and difficult. But it is liberating and life giving and spirit enriching. It changes your life and the lives of everyone who joins you on your journey. And then quite unexpectedly, you realize you are splashing hope into the lives of others!
To hear God’s promise…is to hear something that perhaps no one else around us can hear. It is to feel ourselves begin to tap our toes and move gently to the beat of the music, perhaps to the bewilderment of those watching us. The music we hear is the music of God’s future. Hope is hearing the tune. Faith is to dance to it now. Ben PattersonGrace and Peace
I am Jackie from Las Vegas, NV. I was in treatment one year ago March/April 2010 and have remained sober for over one year and am progressing wonderfully.
I have a sponsor who is a German gal that I have grown very close to. She's been sober 6 years, is wise and keeps me honest. Currently, we are busy hiking each week and rock scrambling. What a blast to spend so much time together and outdoors in the fresh air. We're like two 10-year old girls playing together.
While I have no desire to drink anymore, I'm faithful to read/meditate, work the Steps and go to AA meetings regularly. It doesn't take much for me to spiral back into self-absorption, anxiety and discontent. Life must be lived only one day at a time. My professional background is medical social work, but I haven't gone back to work for the past year because of a deep need to work on my core issues. I'm just lucky I've had some savings to fall back on.
I will be forever grateful to Harmony and to all of you for guiding me through one of the most difficult periods of my life. You are all a class act and I love you dearly.
The road to Harmony actually began for me six years before the day I found my way to its doors. In 2001, my mother began saving money for treatment, fearing for my life, and the family had started researching possibilities for help, the “How To’s” of intervention, and on May 13, 2007, the window of opportunity arrived.
I awoke on that Mother’s Day, shaking (as usual) and needing to drink, and so, I did. When I began drinking at 15 I did not know it would lead to a 16 year journey, the last ten years as a daily drinker mixed with drug use, leaving me shaking in the morning, unable to get out of bed, frightened by the world, harming the ones I loved, and reliant on alcohol to function. So I drank all morning, until I drove to Mom’s house to meet my two sisters for pedicures. Thus began the intervention; two courageous women confronting my disease, and then, my mother entered. And the four of us, with God’s guidance, quickly found ourselves on a new path.
My mom, having done much research, knew who to call – Harmony. Suddenly, I heard myself saying to a man (Leon, I think) on the phone, “If you don’t take me today, I’ll never come.” They had one bed available, so I packed a mysterious mixture of luggage in my drunken state, and we headed up the hill.
When we arrived, my mother and I parked outside the Swickard building, and inside, a group of women had their arms around each other. I looked at my mom and said some expletive – “I can’t do this!” She looked at me and calmly replied, “One day, you’ll lead that group of women.” And off we went.
During my stay at Harmony, I was given the gift… of myself. The structure of the program, the staff, the environment, the work…unveiled the small spark within. I found purpose. Hope. Community. This seemingly small spark uncovered through the power of sharing, understanding, learning to be vulnerable, has grown into a much brighter light.
After graduating I attended the Continuing Care program for six months. When they opened it up for all alumni for a lifetime, I returned and re-engaged in the program, and my recovery grew again. The group grew, and longer term sobriety alumni were offered the opportunity to become volunteer peer facilitators, and so I jumped at the chance. As others transitioned from treatment into real life recovery, it was a joy to share in the challenges and successes of a new life. And again, more was revealed about me, and my light grew.
Through the pain of addiction, Harmony revealed the possibilities for joy, acceptance, and growth, and facilitated the recovery a family. Most of all, Harmony has given me the gift of knowing within each of us lies a spark that can grow into a bright light, for each of us has divine purpose. Today, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work in the women’s program at Harmony as a Counseling Technician. Each day, I pull my car up and park next to the Swickard building and remember the conversation my mom and I had, the women, with their arms wrapped around each other; and I hear the chant we say at the end of every group, “Keep coming back, it works if you work it, and you’re worth it!” Let your light shine, JS
Driving up the beautiful winding road from Boulder to Estes Park, the windows down, the radio on, the fresh mountain air, it looks like misty mountain rain ahead.
My friend turns to me and says “Are we really going to dinner at the YMCA? Maybe we should stop and enjoy Estes Park and grab an appetizer at a little cute bistro beforehand.”
Childhood memories come back to me, big red brick building, the smell of strong chlorine from the Y pool, cold tile floors, bag lunches, “Camp Crooked Arrow” where I had summer day camp and after school craft workshops.
“That sounds like a great idea. We have plenty of time,” I reply. I am clearly in no rush to get to the YMCA.
We arrive in town, the rain has stopped, there is a rainbow near the lake, a breathtaking moment, we have one hour. “Hey there is a craft fair, let’s check it out!” she says.
“Ok, but we have to hurry. I would like grab a snack too,” I reply.
Running a little late, the sign says YMCA with an arrow to the right. We come around the corner; I see a beautiful mountain view, little cabins, a mini golf course, and a couple of main buildings. My friend turns to me and said “Is this the Y”?
Ahead a sign read, “Welcome to the YMCA” and next to it, the biggest, most stoic elk I have ever seen. I thought to myself, “Stay in the middle of the herd”, a saying my counselor Rick said almost every day. “This is the right place”, I tell my friend.
The dining room was huge, full of familiar faces. I recognized staff from Harmony, a guy from aftercare, people from the program outside of Harmony. Although I had never seen them before, I recognized the faces of the clients of Harmony. Eight months ago, I was one of those faces. People recognized me as well; I was greeted with warmth and kindness, something pretty new to me.
The food was great, the people I sat with were even better. Most of us had never met each other before but we were laughing like old friends in no time. The auctioneer was pretty entertaining, he raised a lot of money, in very little time; enough to provide scholarships for at least two people in need of help.
I was really looking forward to hearing the speaker, Dr. Kevin McCauley. He shared an amazing story of being a flight surgeon, living in his addiction, the consequences, and his solution. He spoke a lot about the disease, and his mission to understand the cause and the solution. He is a huge advocate for the rights of addicts as patients.
Overall, my friend and I had a great time. The setting for the dinner could not have been more perfect, the food, the chance to give back, the company and the education were worth much more than the price of admission.
I have been to every Harmony event this summer, and I look forward to many more. I strongly encourage everyone to “stay in the middle of the herd” and attend the next Harmony event.
Less than two months ago I was certain my 23 year marriage was over, I was stressed out of my mind, I couldn’t take another moment of it, my children were upset cranky miserable and stressed out themselves, my husband was all of those things and drowning it daily in more alcohol that I ever dreamt a person could consume…I had zero understanding for him and stress and contempt filled my life.
Today, I was just sitting here feeling so overwhelmingly grateful for the good things that are happening in our lives…Yeah, OUR lives, we are functioning like a family again… and I needed to be able to tell Harmony thank you, to all of you, it all started with you, your program, the understanding and guidance from people who really get what the alcoholic is going thru and how it has affected their entire lives, especially their family.
My husband and I made the agreement on the last day of the family weekend in my wellness plan and his sobriety plan, that we would adopt recovery as a way of life in our home…it is working so well for both of us, the two younger kids are feeling the difference in the home and the calmness that has replaced the anxiety is priceless.
I got to come home from my al-anon meeting last night (where I felt good about myself, my decisions, and where I am right now…which was awesome) to find my husband on the couch with our seven year old son asleep on one side, our 12 year old daughter’s head on his other shoulder watching TV with him…no drink in hand, the volume at a civilized level, no video games, no yelling…just three people content to be together, two of them who smiled when I walked in the door and asked how my meeting was…my house was tidy, dinner dishes cleaned up…It was so serene and peaceful I couldn’t believe it was my home…MY home! Wow!!!
Everything has been good since we’ve been home together, but I think the best part is that I have stopped worrying about the future…like he says, promising to never drink again is huge so huge that he can’t imagine it, but he has TODAY, and is pretty sure he’s got tomorrow, he’ll let me know for sure when we crawl into bed together tomorrow night…I’m not worrying about if or when he will drink again or what that is going to do, because right now TOGETHER, we have TODAY, and we’re pretty sure we got tomorrow…but we’ll let you know for sure tomorrow night we when crawl into bed together.
Again thank you so much for existing…I never would have thought that a place was in existence that could help my husband find realization and understanding and sanity much less a path back to serenity…the fact that it was inclusive of our family still blows my mind daily…and I am appreciative of it multiple times throughout my day.
Thank you from the depths of my now healing heart.
Like many of us, alcoholism runs in my family. My genetic wiring, along with a character defect that emerged in my childhood, lead to a life long process of using anything on the outside to make me feel whole on the inside. Growing up I was a good student, an athlete and had a large circle of friends. I earned two college degrees, raised a family and had a successful career. Despite everything I had in my life it never seemed good enough. I began to drink alcoholically in my early twenties. In my thirties I learned to shop doctors for pain meds. By the time I turned forty I was using Valium daily. I used something every day to numb the pain and the world around me. In late 2005 my house of cards came crashing down. I walked away from a 20 year marriage. I pushed away everything and anything that interfered with getting numb. In time nothing I drank or swallowed worked. I reached my bottom on August 19, 2007. A week later I arrive at Harmony armed only with the admission I had a problem. I had no idea there was a solution. That changed my first night when I heard someone tell their story. I saw a way out of the darkness, I wanted what they had. Over the next 28 days Harmony presented a solution and a path to recovery. I learned my addictions were only part of the problem. This disease is rooted in my mind, my thinking. Through honesty I learned I wasn’t terminally unique and I found hope. Through faith in a higher power I found stamina. Through surrender I learned how to get out of my own way. Harmony taught me a manner of living that saves me from me everyday.
When I tell people how lucky I feel these days, they think I’m crazy. Two and a half years ago I almost died. I woke up in the hospital after being shot with police outside of my hospital door waiting to hand me papers saying I was charged with numerous felonies and a couple misdemeanors. If the bullet didn’t kill me, surely prison would.
After four months in jail I was presented with the unique opportunity to go to Harmony. At that point, I didn’t have a problem with drugs. Just because I used meth every day for the past ten years didn’t mean I had a problem! Then I was told, if I didn’t change my life I surely would be going to prison, so I agreed. It was the best gift I have ever received in my life.
Even before my ten year love affair with drugs, I wasn’t a happy person. Even with my best successes, I never was fulfilled. I tried college numerous times and couldn’t find anything that held my interest beyond a year or two. I had a couple of great jobs, but even those left me unsatisfied. I was wandering the world feeling like I didn’t belong.
Flash forward ten years and it came down to change or die. It was that simple. Sure, I still have challenges, but I don’t allow that to affect where I want to go. I have two and a half years of sobriety and each one has been a gift. I returned to school last year to become drug and alcohol counselor. I’m getting the best grades I ever have. What do I credit my success to? I found a new purpose in my life. At Harmony, I learned that I wasted all my time and money getting high; I had to find something new to fill that void. For me it was school, reconnecting with a family I thought I lost and living my life one day at a time.
I have found who I am, what I want to be and the power of hope. Thank-you Harmony, I wish everyone the best. Life takes work and life is very interesting... in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.
You may not remember me. I'm the one that didn't need you, a sponsor, the steps, AA, anyone or anything. I'm the one that could quit drinking on my own.
I went to a treatment center, a few meetings and was a dry drunk from 1988 until 1993. Wow, five years of no alcohol or drugs. Now I could finally drink like a "normal" person.
I thought I "deserved" to go out for a few NA beers, you know, socialize a little. My alcoholism was patiently waiting for me. By the end of the night I was drunk and stayed that way for 16 years. After a few times in jail, overdoses, uncountable ER visits, several marriages, uncountable geographical changes, DUI, and on and on and on, I surrendered to alcohol. I was one that would never be able to stop drinking and nothing would work for me. I had "tried" everything, AA, psychiatrists, outpatient treatment, marijuana maintenance, and nothing worked. I was hopeless.
My Dad died in March of 2009, and I spiraled out of control even more than I thought possible. I finally prayed, for the first time, that God would help me to stop. That very night, my daughter who has been sober for 8 years, orchestrated an intervention. I had no idea anyone even knew how much I was drinking. I agreed to go to Harmony out of pure desperation. I didn't care at that point if I died, I just didn't want my children to be sad.
Harmony taught me, among so many things, if I truly wanted to be sober that I must be willing to go to any lengths to get and stay sober.
Now I was the one that needed you, a sponsor, the steps, AA, and my God that I had pushed away for so many years. I'm the one that couldn't quit drinking on my own.
Today I am celebrating a miracle. I have been sober one year. I have no idea why God blessed me and lead me to Harmony, but I can never thank you enough. I could not have done it without you. Each and every one of you worked together to help me, whether directly or indirectly. This week I'm getting a tattoo with the Harmony symbol and my sobriety date to always remind me of the gift you gave me. I never want to forget where I came from.
Love and peace,
PS This letter may be shared with ANYONE!