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From a Father to a Daughter: Love Heals Families, One Day at a Time

by Marlei Olson
Rachel, Thistle Farms resident and Manufacturing & Inventory Specialist, pictured with her father.


Love heals women, one day at a time; and, love heals family relationships, one day at a time. Love Heals is a beautiful motto but there is so much in the details that defines the true meaning.

Thistle Farms​ ​is the miracle that​ ​my daughter​ ​Rachel needed coming out of prison having lost everything in her life. The miracle she needed provided a safe place for recovery from almost 20 years of substance abuse and addiction​ ​-- years of treatment, recovery and relapse.

At some point on her journey and through incarceration, Rachel made a courageous decision to stop abusing drugs. Having a strong, positive environment to go directly to, provided her with the support, encouragement, security and the love she needed to be grounded and develop her commitment to establishing a new life. At Thistle Farms she found the motivation and inspiration to focus on rebirth, development, and re-education. She had available to her the daily things one needs that could overwhelm and distract from recovery; food, shelter, medical and dental care, work, ability to earn money and self respect, individual counseling, group counseling and a loving and understanding staff at every point in daily life in a nurturing holding environment for a sufficient amount of time that fosters growth.

Knowing Rachel had a safe environment for her journey, gave me, as her father, the comfort and confidence to continue on my recovery journey, which I began during her incarceration. Once a week I now attend two 12-step programs for parents and families with addiction, Al-Anon and Families Anonymous. The strength of the Thistle Farms program provided a secure environment for Rachel, which helped me to pursue my recovery from co-dependence. We were on parallel journeys to recovery.

Because both of us gained strength and confidence on our parallel journeys, we were able to focus on rebuilding our father-daughter relationship. We have been doing that now for 2 years, Rachel with the support of her therapeutic environment, me with the support and bonds of other families and Al-Anon model. We have been successfully experiencing the healing power of love on her recovery, my recovery, and rebuilding our relationship, one day at a time.

-- Irwin G. (aka Rachel's Dad)

With tremendous gratitude to Rachel and Irwin!

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