“When I looked at the faces of my family members in the crowd, I knew they were proud because I had finally finished something. My graduation day was healing for the whole family.” – Jovita, 2016 Graduate, Survivor-leader
Jovita was always starting something new—a new business, a new relationship, finding a new home—only to have each venture snatched away by her addiction. Just over two years ago, while struggling to begin a healing oil business, Jovita found Thistle Farms. She knew she had to leave Texas and seek healing in this Nashville community where women were both recovering and working with soothing, natural products; the serendipity was just too strong. Though joining Thistle Farms residential program would take Jovita away for at least two years, her family supported her from day one. “When I surrendered myself to recovery, I was able to expose my illness to my family,” Jovita recalls. She no longer thought of herself as someone who didn’t have the strength to finish what she began, but rather was able to recognize the power that her addiction had held for far too long.
In the past two years Jovita has acquired another family—one with 50+ “sisters for life,” not to mention staff, volunteers, and Nashville community members—that has watched her face every challenge with grace as she became an integral member of the Thistle Farms Global team. On graduation day, Jovita was able to feel the love and support from both of her families as she smiled, laughed, and cried from the front of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. Though she always thought she would return to Texas after graduation, Jovita now proclaims, “I found my peace here in Nashville, and so here is where I’m going to stay.” She knows it will be difficult to remain at a distance from her mother, siblings, children, and grandchildren, but at graduation she was comforted by her children’s words. They told her, “Mom, now that we saw you at graduation, we can tell that you’re going to be fine. After seeing the support of your Nashville family, we know you’re okay.”
Jovita remains committed to the idea of holistic wellness that originally brought her to Nashville. She reflects, “There has to be something that is going to come out of this 40 year journey I’ve been on; I’m excited to be part of someone else’s journey to healing the way others have been helpful to me.” For Jovita and her family, graduation symbolizes her ability to finish what she begins; it is clear that—with the support and love of her Texas family and her Nashville community—Jovita will continue to find success in all that she sets out to accomplish.
Want to see Jovita at the 2016 Magdalene Graduation?
Watch a beautiful 2 minute video with highlights from the ceremony below!
Photos courtesy of Peggy Napier. Video courtesy of Northman Creative.