Creating a House of Healing: Final Part – Full Circle

MarilynDavisatTIERS By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 5th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3jviub0v/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

“You didn’t get the quest you wanted, you got the one you could do.” ― Lev Grossman, The Magician King

Processing the Profound and the Anger

After the reporter and photographer left, I told Grey Hawk how angry I was for not knowing about the paper coming. If Shoney’s were not a public place, I would probably be yelling and unleashing a string of expletives that would make any sailor proud. Since Grey Hawk and my father had both served in the Navy, I thought it a fitting reference for him.

He got that semi-bored look on his face that usually signaled that he had heard it before, he was simply waiting for the dust to settle or that he knew I would eventually have to breathe and he could interject some comment.

Fortunately, it was usually words of wisdom putting the experience into perspective for me. After my gritted teeth venom dripping whisper, he said,

“Do you assume that working with alcoholics and drug addicts will be nice, neat and orderly”?
• “Do you assume that you will have a printed script to work from when you conduct a group?"
• “Do you assume you will not have to think on your feet with people like us?"
• “Do you assume that your knowledge and education alone with be helpful?"
• “Do you assume you will not have to rely on a connection to your inner Spirit to help?"
“Do you assume you will never be blind-sided by a revelation in a group?"


Well, that shut me up.
I sat for a minute and then asked him if all spiritual lessons and guidance must be in the form of such upheaval; that is was like a cosmic smack to the back of my head sometimes.

He patted my hand and said, “No, not all spiritual lessons are abrupt and startling. Some come gently and comfortingly. However, we tend to ignore them, not fully understanding that the Universe is trying to get out attention.

When we do not listen and heed the guidance, it as if we are hard of hearing and so the Universe must speak louder or shout at us.

Daily Hunt for the House

We talked about the encouraging letters and looked in the paper for any houses that might work. I began a daily “hunt for the house” as my father referred to it. He was beginning to have transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-strokes. He hid these from us by staying in bed; claiming to have a cold or would sit at his desk, seemingly working. He was usually feeling better by dinner and so it was not apparent to either my mother or I that something was wrong.

He made an appointment to have a physical in late February, again, without telling us. My father did not believe in going to the doctor unless something was drastically wrong, so he did not tell us of this appointment, as he knew we would be very concerned.

How Will I Fund This?

I would make phone calls and see houses, sometimes Grey Hawk went with me and other times, I would go alone. My father only went a few times and the effort seemed to tire him.

When I returned home, depressed at yet another house that would not rent for the purpose; I then realized that I had no money to invest in this effort. I had squandered my resources in my use, the majority of my income from the university went for my own education, and I had not been working since late November.

When I got home, Grey Hawk was there. He asked me how I would financially support the house. Again, that uncanny ability to anticipate what would be the next hurdle in opening the house.

He launched into a lecture on how much I had drained my parents in my addiction. How I had manipulated resources, used my children as an excuse to get money from my parents, and how I would probably need their help to do this and he did not think they should help.

This seemed so out of character, much like his displeasure at the Easter Egg House. Then my father said, “We will not directly fund this house, however, I will go with you to the bank for a loan. I will co-sign as I know you have destroyed your credit through your actions.”

How Much Do You Need?

The following morning, we went to the bank and my father informed his bank officer that my credit was poor however; he expected me to repay the loan. He would also satisfy the bank with his signature as well. Then the loan officer asked how much I would need.

I realized I had never thought in those terms.

What does it cost to furnish a house?
• How many beds, how many chests of drawers, and how many towels will I need?
• How much food do I need to buy?
• Where will I store all the food?
• What legitimate personal needs will the women have?
• Who pays for medical, dental and other needs?


The list of things I needed was large and so I simply blurted, “Five thousand dollars.”

Therefore, now I had the seed money, but still no house.

Asking and Receiving Guidance

After a meeting a few days later, I was driving on some unfamiliar streets. I was desperate to find a house and stopped in the park to say a silent request for guidance. I turned up a side street and saw three men I knew from meetings working in a yard and stopped to see how they were doing. Then I asked what they were doing.

They were fixing up the place after the last tenant moved. The owner was a dentist in the program. I asked if he was there and went in to talk to him.

Lost and Found

The house was deceptively small looking from the street. On the front side of the house, it had three bedrooms, two baths, living room, dining room and a screened in porch on the ground floor with two attic rooms upstairs.

There was also an addition on the back with two bedrooms, living room, bath, kitchen and a finished attic room on that side as well.

He was only renting what he referred to as the front part for four months until the add-on was vacant and would have no problem renting to me for the purpose.

Let the Women Come

I went home and on January 29, I found North House, on North Avenue, and it was ready to rent, but was I ready to run it?

After I found North House, I called all the treatment providers and interviewed women for placement. I shopped for and got linens, towels, beds, furniture, and china – all from thrift stores, except the beds and towels.

I was a woman with a mission. Friends in the program helped me with trucks to get the furniture moved in, set up the beds, and to stock the shelves with food. My mother, father and I drove a 60 mile round trip to a food club and filled his station wagon. I was driving, with my mother in front.

I still have a clear and special memory of my father wedged between mounds of food, on both sides of him and filling the back end, holding a cherry pie for safekeeping.

I was sleeping at the house cleaning, arranging and making sure everything was ready for the opening.

Opening Day

On February 5, 1990, I was to pick up three women from the jail, referred by their attorneys, and two women from a primary treatment facility in Gainesville.

That morning at 4 AM, my mother called me. My father had a massive stroke and was at the hospital. I immediately got airline tickets for my daughters to fly to Gainesville and wondered at the timing.

I rushed to the hospital and finally saw my father in ICU at around 6 AM. I could only see him for 10 minutes. He was sedated and his speech was very garbled. He was suffering from aphasia, and in his case, laughed each time he tried to remember or articulate a word, a common side effect of a stroke.

He tried unsuccessfully to talk to me and I started crying. My mother said, “Your father is proud of you; we talked last night before we went to bed. I had no idea, but I believe your father knew something was not right. He said that this vision was important and was all a part of the circle of life and that I should tell you to do what you was put here to do.”

We both then embraced and cried for our own reasons.

My daughters arrived, friends in the program picked them up in Atlanta for the 50-mile trip, I visited my father for 10 minutes each hour, picked up all the women and held a meeting that night with about 20 women from the recovering community in attendance, along with my mother and daughters.

North House was now open and operational.

Post Script

• My father never saw North House, and passed on May 12, 1990
• My mother and I reconciled many of our differences, forgave one another and she got treatment for her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and she passed on December 17, 1994. Her passing helped my youngest daughter get into recovery and she recently celebrated 19 years of continuous recovery.
• Grey Hawk continued to provide an Alcoholics Anonymous study group at North House and passed in 1996.

Over the next 21 years, North House served over 1000 women, many of whom are still in recovery. Some relapsed, some died.

The house won multiple awards and was a THOR provider for the Department of Pardons and Paroles, Georgia. North House became a residential provider for more than 15 Drug, Alcohol and Accountability Courts in Georgia.

In 2008, Brenau University created the Marilyn Davis Community Service Learning Award, ongoing to recognize advocates in recovery, nursing, healing, and wellness. This completed the circle with the University; they sent me to treatment and I gave back by creating a 16 hour psychiatric clinical for 4th year nursing students.

In 2010, I was presented the Liberty Bell award, an award for non-attorneys and judges for contributions to the criminal justice systems and communities. This widened the circle to provide education, awareness and treatment rather than incarceration for those addicts and alcoholics who would take advantage of the opportunity.

From the Gainesville Times, "Davis started North House in 1990 and has worked closely with court officials.For 20 years, Marilyn has been a driving force in helping thousands of addicts shattered by drug abuse lead better lives," presenter Graham McKinnon said. "Marilyn's passion is on display every single day."

Later that summer, we celebrated 20 years of healing at North House with a ceremony in the park near the house. Graduates of the program at North House, my extended family, business supporters, board members and the Master Gardeners were present to commemorate their donation to the house – new plantings.

Full Circle

When I began this series on January 23, 2014, I was inspired by reading an article by Peter B. Giblett. I wrongfully assumed that I would have this written in 3-4 parts.

Providing this is published on February 5, 2014, the creating of the house will have come full circle – North House opens, February 5, 1990 and the written experiences leading up to opening North House are completed, February 5, 2014.

"Black Elk said that Great Spirit caused everything in nature to be round. …You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days all our power came to us from the sacred hoop.”

Will the Circle Widen?

Just as I became an advocate for women, recovery and the process of change, I sincerely hope that this series inspires someone, somewhere to open a house of healing or to listen to their inner guidance.

What begins as a small thought, a sudden inspiration, or a cosmic smack on the back of the head, all are the signs that might lead someone to believe that they too have a calling, a vision or a dream. Whatever obstacles, internal and external they overcome to facilitate these becomes part of their own circle.

While I would welcome someone contacting me through my Wikinut email of news that someone wants to open a house of healing, I must accept that just as my father never saw North House, I may not ever know of how or if this inspired someone.

Yet in the circle of life, his contribution was great. Perhaps this series will be inspirational as well, and I do not need to know of its influence.




Previous Creating a House of Healing: Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven

For additional articles by Marilyn Davis

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is a place for you to share your wisdom, humor, insight and knowledge. Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.


Credits

North House and Rev. Bill Coates: Gainesville Times
Money: www.pixabay.com
Circle: Marilyn Davis

Tags

Circle Of Life, Completing The Circle, Cycles Of Change, Grey Hawk, Inspiration, North House, Spiritual Answers

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar Jerry Walch
5th Feb 2014 (#)

All I can say at this point, Marilyn, is WOW !!!!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
5th Feb 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Jerry; thanks. I appreciate your comments and following this. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
5th Feb 2014 (#)

Wow. I have tears. And the circle is full. So much -- I won't say it all here. So much -- WOW. Good job, you.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
5th Feb 2014 (#)

so profound is this Marilyn..

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
5th Feb 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Carolina; thank you. I understand from another comment that Phyl made that you also wrote something recently about circles. I will get to it shortly as I know that you will have written in your unique way about something that I value. ~Marilyn

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
5th Feb 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Phyl; thank you. Writing this has been such a blessing to me. I was never sure that I could adequately convey the circumstances, feelings and thoughts over that 7-month period; however, I believe that I did do justice to Grey Hawk, my mother, father and myself in this. I am satisfied and know that it is out in the Universe to encourage others to listen, ask for guidance, and change. I will not ask anymore of myself. As you and I both know, sometimes enough is genuinely enough and our best is our best. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
6th Feb 2014 (#)

Excellent post with your one of a kind seal and wisdom that we have known you in the forum Marylin, I really enjoyed every word as well teaching you offered in tis series of posts, good show XX

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
6th Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening, Fern. Thank you as always. Obviously this series has been close to my heart and I am glad that others have followed it and commented, like yourself. ~Marilyn

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author avatar M G Singh
6th Feb 2014 (#)

Thoughtful post

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
6th Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening, Madan; thank you for your thoughtful comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
6th Feb 2014 (#)

Got myself a safe house and refurbished how I wanted it my home to be. Congratulations on your full circle is a loop that never ends. take care, Marilyn.
Healing is in the mind not the place, the place has to be safe first for you to heal. I know how I built my safe house and when I return to live it will be triumphant and glitzy. But right now, I live by the waterfall with the Angels...

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author avatar Retired
6th Feb 2014 (#)

You have a lovely way of putting up your article! I think it has the ingredients of a Hollywood movie.. Great article!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
6th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Savio; what an interesting idea. Thanks for reading and your comment. I doubt that Hollywood will be calling, but then again, we never know. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
8th Feb 2014 (#)

This series was well-written and inspiring. I could tell it came right from your heart, Marilyn. So well done. I am not even sure how to express how impressed I am with your work.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
9th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Connie; thank you for reading and commenting as you read. I have felt encouraged by many of your previous comments to continue writing. As you know this is still within my first six months of writing articles. I believe there is a way to connect our thinking and feeling when writing that touches others, and if bearing my thoughts and feelings helps establish those relationships of the heart, I'll continue writing about recovery. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mariah
9th Feb 2014 (#)

Bravo Marilyn, such a brilliant account of your destined and meaningful journey.
I was wondering where the finance would come from for this house..your dad stepped up there, I'm so sorry he never got to see the house, but he knew you would get there, and that was enough for him to be at peace with. North House on 'North Avenue' how fated is that!!
.You should be very proud of yourself..it has been a privilege and great pleasure to share this wonderful and inspirational journey with you
God Bless xxx

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
9th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mariah; thank you for your kind comments throughout the series; I hope that someone somewhere is either inspired to open a house, or to see how some opportunities will come in unforeseen ways. Looking back, I know there were many times that this would have fallen apart where it not for the Trinity pushing it along. My father lived for another 5 months after I found the house and he saw a picture, just for clarification. His first comment was, “Does it have good energy?” That was something that most people commented on; it feels safe, or it feels like home, or some such. That was important to him and to me. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mariah
9th Feb 2014 (#)

I truly hope that this will inspire someone to follow that path if it's to be..and God bless the Trinity too

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
9th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mariah; I have gotten a few private posts inquiring about the feasibility of opening a house. There is such a need so I hope someone younger than me can continue with this kind of treatment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Delicia Powers
11th Feb 2014 (#)

this circle ripples ever outward... from the point of time you believed in yourself... sharing that power and strength with all who read.. an understanding and then looking beyond self... so very inspiring.......thank you Marilyn...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
12th Feb 2014 (#)

Truly inspiring journey - happy that you shared this ride with us though a hard act to follow. Though your father was not there in person he would have showered you with blessings for the efforts that you made to make it all work. Congratulations, Marilyn - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
12th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Delicia; it so often seemed surreal. It also taught me that there are simply things in life that will happen regardless of how we try to stop it, and by accepting the blessings in it, we grow spiritually. Thanks for reading and commenting. ~Marilyn

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
12th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva; my father was an exceptionally gentle man and when he was adamant about this happening, I knew I had to pay attention. In our conversations before he passed, he said he did not need to see the house - that his time here was ending and that this was the beginning of healing for others and myself. He believed very much in the circle of life - births and beginnings and death and endings, then repeating better the next time. I miss him. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Feb 2014 (#)

It is the early hours of the morning here in the UK Marilyn, but I have not been able to tear myself away from your story my friend, and I feel so choked up and proud for all that you have achieved and the women that you held out a helping hand to.

I know that journeys like this are never done completely alone, and you have been blessed by the loved ones who helped guide and encourage you when the going got tough..
They may not be physically with you now, but they are always near..

A truly amazing and inspirational story that needed to be published.. Bless you for doing just that. \0/x

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening Songbird, as I said in another comment to you several part back, I have not had the privilege of reading the comments of someone who read the series in one sitting like you have done today. Thank you for staying up late. I am thinking of putting it on my recovery curriculum web site based on comments. Who knows, perhaps someone, somewhere will be inspired to open another house of healing for others. Take care and sleep well my friend. ~Marilyn

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