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A Letter from Vivian

A letter from Vivian – Winner of the King County Poster Contest

For the Recovery Cafe, With Gratitude:

For years, on the bus, looking through the window I saw the beautiful building – that solid structure so different from its surroundings: Recovery Cafe.

I thought it was an exclusive club; very expensive and difficult to get in. I would be automatically excluded. Living in poverty and suffering from a severe degree of PTSD, I was deprived of the most natural thing to do: go and inquire. I was afraid that the door was going to be slammed in my face and I would have to bend down even more shamed and rejected. But this one time, in utter despair, I dared, and someone very kind opened the door for me, gave me a seat. I was tired and thirsty. Even a cup of tea was offered. They explained to me what this place really was. I was overwhelmed with relief and joy. I could belong; become a member.

I think it was January; I’m not sure. It is a PTSD symptom–that time becomes difficult to register. When I first came in, I was in such a horrible state. I was completely isolated, alone, and without any means of survival. My husband had jailed me unjustly and committed me even more unjustly. He accused me of being in a psychotic loop–self-harming, being harmful to others, and anorexic (I-who loves good food). It was the most hellish, nightmarish experience and it left me more traumatized than I already was. I was literally broken, destroyed. Those who I thought were my friends deserted me. I was also very sick physically as a result of all of that.

I am so grateful the Recovery Café welcomed me as a member and I could enjoy making new friends, eating and drinking tea with soy milk! I could take a few apples for later. I was always welcomed with a smile. When one is suffering from absolute loneliness, abandonment and deprivation, that means a lot. Not to mention the absolutely wonderful writing, art, and yoga classes, and the surprising special events.

I really loved to attend to my different circles. I find it very therapeutic group therapy-an ever expanding and contracting circle of friendship and support. I love the people in my circle and all the friends I have been able and fortunate to engage with. They never cease to amaze me with their experience, wisdom, and generosity. It has changed my life for the better in ways that I am unable to express. I am grateful to everyone there, even if I never exchanged a word with someone, I am grateful they are there. I miss those who left. I want everybody to be there and to keep learning together how to recover from our diseases because there is so much to uncover, discover, and explore. The Recovery Café gives us a beautiful roof, a great atmosphere to continue in this unending, fascinating path to recovery. Sometimes the lessons are hard to take but hopefully we will learn from them and become healthier, happier, and more giving human beings.

Chronic pain and migraine are becoming too much of an obstacle to write more…My father, a holocaust survivor is quite old and sick and far away. And that is a constant sorrow, worry, and sadness, but I never lose hope.

I could write much more about the ways in which the Recovery Café improved my life and helped me to deal with PTSD–but there is a deadline. All I can do is to say once more, thank you Recovery Café.

Oh, and I forgot to tell thanks to the opportunity offered there I got to be the winner of the 2017 king country recovery poster contest!

— vivian linder levi