I have been a resident of Anouska De Georgiou’s sober living since January 2013. I’m a chronic relapser and have been in four other sober livings since I first went to treatment in 1993. I can say with utmost confidence that this is the best and most effective sober living in which I have ever lived. It is small and intimate. Anouska is very hands on but also has enough Al-Anon to know she must let people have their own experiences. It is structured but not overly so. It is here that I have learned accountability, the joys of communal living, selflessness and a real camaraderie with women.
When I came to Anouska’s sober living I had just relapsed yet again from another sober living and after 7 months in treatment. I was going through a horrible divorce, had been arrested, tried to commit suicide and had a nervous breakdown. I’d lost everything. I’d also begun cutting. I was a difficult case being bipolar, borderline and an addict/alcoholic.
In January I will have two years sober. I am a freelance writer and a nanny. I have ceased engaging in any self-destructive activities. I have a sponsor and two sponsees. I’m happy and am still in the process of rebuilding my life but a profound shift has happened. People who have recently seen me say that I am a completely different person. I couldn’t have done with without the safety, support and structure of the house.
Writing about my experience living at the the house is pretty much what it feels like to explain to someone how your life was saved.
First of all, the house has nothing to do with it being a house and has everything to do with the people who live there. All of them saved my life.
I came to Anouska’s on Jan 2, 2013 after somehow getting my body to an AA meeting. I was in excruciating withdrawal from heroin, speed and Xanax. I had stopped cold turkey the day before and had made the decision not to go into detox because I knew that if I felt the pain of this withdrawal that maybe I would never ever do drugs again. I had also spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve completely alone and isolated— on a bare mattress, covered in cigarette burns and blood from all my scratching. And I COULD NOT GET HIGH. I had never in all my “bottoms” felt like I did the morning of January 1. I was for the first time terrified that I was going to die alone in my apartment and leave my child without a mother. I had only the tiniest, most faint feeling of faith. And I knew that I was only alive because of the Grace of God. There was nothing else.
I remember that drive to the meeting and I said this to myself over and over “drop the rocks and swim to the surface.”
I had met Anouska a few weeks earlier while sober and agreed to move into her house after my three months in treatment, but I got loaded. So when I saw her again I was grateful that the offer still stood. So she came with me to my apartment and we moved what I needed into the house and for the next week or so I detoxed my body. I was in hell. You probably know the hell of which I am speaking because you are reading this.
But this is what I remember the most: That she saw my daughter’s tiny pink ballet slippers and said “let’s take these with us.” And they were next to me the entire time I was in the house. The insight that she had into bringing those is something I will never ever forget. And I think of it every time I look at the tiny pink slippers.
The next 10 months I healed. I laughed. I cried. I smoked. I did yoga. I spray tanned.I quit smoking. I went to meetings. I ate cupcakes. I made girl friends with whom I am still friends. The girls there got me through unbearable pain and heartache. And I got to hear their pain and heartache. Anouska held me when I cried on my bed of how I could not take another breath without seeing my daughter. And she promised me that it would happen. And it did.
That house was my safely blanket, and then it was my leash, and then it let me go when I was ready to go.
Anouska’s sober living not only saved my life but brought me back to a life that I never ever dreamed I would have.
From January 20, 2014 through January 20, 2015 I was a resident at Anouska De Georgiou’s Sober Living. It was a very difficult and troubled time in my life, and Anouska’s Edinburgh House was a safe supportive refuge. From the beginning, I was welcomed, hugged and told everything is going to be ok. I soon felt able to trust and rely upon the friendship, encouragement and hope that fills Edinburgh House. Anouska herself is deeply dedicated and caring toward all of the woman who live in the house and toward the many women she invites to join Monday night 12 step groups or Wednesday night AA meetings. Because of her commitment to the AA program and the people in her house, I felt extremely fortunate to have a bed at the house. During my stay there, I was able to build a strong foundation of women friendships steeped in the AA program. I will be forever indebted and connected to the sober living for the positive, healthy, healing experience I had there.