Meet Debbie, 2020 Thistle Farms Residential Graduate

Meet Debbie, 2020 Thistle Farms Residential Graduate

Some may say you only get one shot, but at Thistle Farms, we believe everybody deserves a second chance at life.

For Debbie, a second chance meant coming back home to the residential program, to her children, and ultimately, to herself. 

“Coming back this time, I wanted it for me. I wanted to live. I wanted to be the person that I knew I could be. I wanted to look in the mirror and finally recognize myself again.”

For years, Debbie self-medicated to cope with trauma—from witnessing violence against her mother to surviving a lifetime of abuse herself.

When Debbie found herself entangled in addiction and in a dangerous relationship, she knew she had to make a change.

“When I first got to Thistle Farms, I was overwhelmed with love and acceptance. For the first time in my life, I was home. I’d never felt such peace in all my life.”

Because chaos was all she’d ever known, this newfound peace felt uncomfortable to Debbie. So, after 17 months, she decided to leave the program to be with her children. 

“It wasn’t long before I knew I’d made a mistake, but pride kept me from coming back.”

Five and a half years later, Debbie was down to 102 pounds, dying from her disease, and still trying to hide her addiction from the world. Thankfully, her daughter saw her mom struggling and took action.

“I didn't know my daughter had reached back out to my sisters here at Thistle Farms. I was in another room, on my phone, filling out the online application, trying to come back., My daughter came in and said, ‘Mom, there’s somebody on the phone who would like to talk to you.’ I heard Regina ask, ‘Are you ready to come home?’ And I lost it because since I’d left, that's all I'd ever wanted.”

Debbie graduated from the residential program in 2020 and is living a new life of recovery, healing, and freedom. 

“I’m amazed at my growth and how my life is going. My children tell me today that they're proud of me. I have so many grandchildren now, and I want to be the best grandmother that they've ever seen!”